Words by Martin Yambao
In the softly-sculpted forms of piña and abaca – frilled, folded, gathered – Gabbie Sarenas intends to weave a lyrical honesty into her body of work. Deeply personal and intimate, the designer creates clothes that invite conversation with the wearer; with folds that peel back to unveil their own nuance or interpretation.
In her previous work, Gabbie wreathed “longing” with flowers that bloomed onto a pinafore. She threaded “intensity” with the quiet sigh of an embroidered harvest song. For her latest work, in remembrance of her late loved one, Gabbie Sarenas presents her latest collection: “Veronica”, an ode to her grandmother.
This collection won the Metro Special Citation Awards for Fashion and Style during Artefino 2019
These pieces began in a dream, “and I’ve never dreamt of her since she passed away.” Says the designer. The collection is a study on reconstructing memory, a reliquary pieced together through bits and pieces – photographs, old notes, the toothpicks she carried with her everywhere, the vivid shade of red lipstick she wore to church, and the time she spent in her garden, still full of bougainvilleas.
Veronica loved those flowers – and that’s how the motif blossomed onto the lightness of a daster, a barong and this season’s tapis, a silhouette inspired by a portrait from the Ignet Community.
Jo Ann Bitagcol
Gabbie displays a knack for sensuous ideas with this classically feminine shape — produced in interested silks and weaves — but never without an eye toward function, with button closures and removable layers.
With “Veronica”, Gabbie also confronts her formative attachment to the masterworks of Joya, Chabet
and Rothko – whose abstract themes of tender meditativeness (also, the viscerally transformative) find
expression between the textiles she uses, the hands of the makers, the workings in her studio, and finally, the clients who go home with each and every piece.