Fashion takes shelter from stress

Published April 16, 2021, 6:03 PM

by Manila Bulletin

The New Mood spring/summer 2021 collection highlights protection and openness in equal measures

PATIO DRESS COLLECTION By Dennis Lustico for spring/summer 2021

The new way of living due to the global pandemic has bought many challenges with it—stripping us of the trappings of normality and business as usual. Launched last year, The New Mood, an RTW shopping site for thoughtful fashion, is designed for the current fashion climate. More than a reaction, it is a response: If the world changes, then we adapt to it. If times are hard, then we pause and relearn how to breathe easier, feel lighter, and live more purposefully.

Founders Cathy Binag, Dennis Lustico, Puey Quiñones, and Dong Ronquillo came up with The New Mood to give local designers a platform to showcase their craft online. This is their third collection, following its launch, Rebirth, and the 2020 holiday collection, Celebration. The philosophy behind the brand is to connect with an audience that craves both style and substance—and a safe way to have fun with fashion.

FREE FROM WORRY On him, top by Joey Samson, bottoms by Jaggy Glarino, on her, dress by Jaggy Glarino, all for The New Mood spring-summer 2021

Since the present offers us a tempest, then The New Mood serves as a creative space where one can seek refuge and ideate. And that’s exactly what this year’s spring/summer 2021 collection is all about—Shelter—and its evolution amid the chaos of life as we know it now. 

Dennis Lustico, creative director of The New Mood, explained the concept behind the new SS21 collection: “I want us to go back to what shelter means in its simplest form. Shelter means refuge or protection. Like the roof over our heads or clothes to cover our bodies. People use materials such as wood, sand, metal, bamboo, leaves, and stone for basic shelter, things that our bodies need from changing weather and varying temperature,” he says.

Since the present offers us a tempest, then The New Mood serves as a creative space where one can seek refuge and ideate.

Fast forward to the 1980s, however and shelter took on a different meaning and appearance, he also noted. Shelter became “a coping device to give oneself happiness and comfort”—something that one can own to feel security. Instead of a blanket or a roof over one’s head, shelter became an accessory or device or talisman. It may come in the form of rollerblades or skateboards, a Walkman, a headband and scrunchies, or a hip belt and leg warmers. It made us feel powerful, even invincible, and signaled our belongingness to our “tribe.”

DRESSED FOR SHELTER By Lulu Tan Gan for spring/summer 2021

“For New Mood SS21, I wanted us to go into a direction where we juxtapose the two shelters. We will touch on the surface appearance, texture, color, and feel of materials such as wood, metals, pavements, etc. and use bold ’80s silhouettes such as oversized tops vis-a-vis skinny bottoms, or wide bottoms with cropped tops,” enthuses Lustico. While the palette takes inspiration from nature, the construction speaks of sophistication and the elevation of style.

When Lustico talks about “us,” he is also referring to collaborating designers—his tribe—among them Lulu Tan Gan, Joey Samson, Jaggy Glarino, and Ivarluski Aseron. Each designer brings a unique slant on Shelter—whether it’s a billowy pair of pants paired with a structured top, an oversized tailored shirt stamped with a floral print and paired with lounge drawstring pants, a soft and romantic summer dress with an unexpected twist, or an avant-garde deconstructed top that hangs off the shoulder and yet clings like a second skin. Why not leave the storm and stress behind, and don a new mood with Shelter?

Alongside the launch of SS21, The New Mood also debuts its permanent collection: The New Mood Essentials. As we enter a new era of fashion, the online retailer aims to be every wardrobe’s building block. The Essentials line offers elevated basics—hoodies, pullovers, t-shirts, and sweatpants—and luxe loungewear that you can live in and can transcend different seasons. This means investment pieces, made with cotton pique fabric with a minimalist tone-on-tone vinyl print with adjustable waistband and hood for a perfect fit.

THE NEW MOOD ESSENTIALS Elevated basics like hoodies, pullovers, t-shirts, and sweatpants and also luxe loungewear

“The New Mood SS21 is characterized with simplicity and dynamism, done in an exquisite manner that is truly chic and classy. Silhouettes exude comfort and delicately volumized—perfect for that sophisticated summer look,” says Ronquillo, co-founder. “We are also excited for everyone to try our Essentials line, Mood. It comes in shirts, joggers, pullovers, and hoodies that are street chic, made with quality materials, and constructed meticulously.”

The clothes are designed by top Filipino designers, and you will love wearing them every day, anytime, anywhere. Best of all: everything is reasonably priced. All pieces are available at


Jo Claraval and Ramon Galicia designed set pieces to showcase the new collection, which was shot at Saga Events Studio, thanks to Robby Carmona, who helped bring the designers’ vision into a perfect reality.

CLOTHES AS REFUGE The New Mood creative director Dennis Lustico