Local designers celebrate Flores de Mayo with stunning fashion illustrations

Published May 5, 2021, 5:55 PM

by John Legaspi

Designer Circle Philippines keeps Filipino heritage alive with virtual and onsite galleries

DCP Sketch Pad: “Las Flores Filipinas” entries
In the Philippines, the month of May calls for townsfolk everywhere to converge on the street to celebrate the Flores de Mayo, an age-old Filipino tradition influenced by the Spaniards. Literally means “flowers of May,” it is known for its colorful parade dubbed as Santacruzan, where beautifully dressed sagalas (maidens) walk under floral-decorated carozas.
Just like other festivals in the country, Flores de Mayo has a religious origin. In fact, it was first called Flores de Maria, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. Up until today, its Marian bonds are still being practiced as Filipinas dress up to represent Our Lady figures and other allegorical characters, from Reyna Emperatriz to the grand Reyna Elena accompanied by the young boy Constantino.
But apart from holy rituals attached to the pageant, it cannot be denied that it is among the first demonstrations of Filipinos’ flair for fashion. Sadly, 2021 marks the second year the Philippines will not be doing the festival in the traditional way. But that doesn’t mean that the event will be neglected.
The Designer Circle Philippines (DCP) is taking the Santacruzan online with its DCP Sketch Pad series. Called “Las Flores Filipinas,” the series presents 54 members of the fashion designer organization from all over the country and their fashion illustrations and design visions, paying homage to Flores de Mayo.
“Since we are in a pandemic, this will serve as an avenue for our designers to show their artistic side,” DCP vice president Dave Ocampo tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “We are aiming to keep the Flores de Mayo tradition alive with these sketches. It still showcases the designers’ works craft and skills but in a much safer manner.”
Stirring away from the usual traditional garb seen on Santacruzans, the designers were asked to draw elaborate evening gowns that are inspired by flowers and blooms. Dave has to admit that the past months have been hard for the members of the DCP as some have acquired COVID-19. With that, the DCP Sketch Pad series aims to uplift them during this time and give them honor for their talents.
Another event the DCP is doing this month is “Queen’s Hall: A Flores de Mayo,” a Filipiniana exhibit. According to Dave, it will feature pieces created by DCP members celebrating Mayflower festival, running from May 17 to 31, 2021. It will be exhibited inside the mall at The Plaza in Resorts World Manila.
Check out some of the their botanical-inspired sketches below:
Sketch by DCP president Johnny Abad
Sketch by Dave Ocampo
Sketch by Crio Ebreo
Sketch by Athena Sollenn Barretto
Sketch by Christian Junian
Sketch by Brad Shilver Agarano