Filipino fashion designer pays homage to healthcare workers during LA Fashion Week

Published October 14, 2021, 12:22 PM

by John Legaspi

For his latest collection, Ronaldo Arnaldo reimagines scrubs and medical gowns with the artworks of Pablo Picasso

Scrubs and hazmat suits took a fashionable and artistic route during the recent Los Angeles Fashion Week with the latest runway show of Filipino designer Ronaldo Arnaldo, last Oct. 8, 2021, at Petersen Automotive Museum.

Ronaldo Arnaldo with pieces from his collection “The Masked Portraits of Picasso”

During the onset of the pandemic in the Philippines, local fashion designers come together as they crafted personal protective equipment (PPE) to answer the need of medical frontliners, who, unfortunately, wore plastic bags due to lack of the said supplies. This resulted in hospital garbs that are purposeful and chic at the same time. Ronaldo continued to do the same theme with his collaboration collection with California’s medical equipment provider, Mc2 Manufacturing.

“Our goal is to honor our frontliners by making them looking good and feeling good through fashion,” the designer told Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “They are our modern heroes and they all deserve to be looking their very best and I guess all of us does. We wanted to disrupt the hospital landscape and make a fun, happy, and colorful environment!”

Indeed, not all heroes wear capes. And in Ronaldo’s creations, he imagined them wearing vibrant artworks. To do so, he looked at the masterpieces of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. The designer, known for his contemporary couture, tapped two artists, Jowie Baltazar and his cousin Ricky Vicencio, to add Cubist painting to his garment, treating them like canvases for art. Dubbed as “The Masked Portraits of Picasso,” the 20-piece collection was crafted early in August and finished only in a month, just in time for LA’s fashion festivities.

“They convey a lot of mixed feelings and emotions which in my opinion represents all the uncertainties we’re experiencing right now. I added the masks to remind us of the new normal though,” he mused.

This collection is near and dear to the heart of Ronaldo. Prior to working as a fashion designer for 25 years, he was on track to pursuing medicine, graduating with a degree in B.S. Medtech.

“This collection was done in the middle of the pandemic with all the unimaginable limitations and restrictions,” Ronaldo said. “I guess this ordeal, which I took as a challenge, is unforgettable and will forever be etched in my memory.”

See more of Ronaldo Arnaldo’s works at @ronaldoarnaldocouture on Instagram.