Art and fashion come together in Edgar San Diego’s first solo exhibit

Published October 26, 2021, 4:41 PM

by John Legaspi

Baro’t Saya Tuwa at Ligaya’ exhibit presents his life through brushstrokes and style

Designer and artist Edgar San Diego brings the best of fashion and arts in one presentation that is his first solo exhibit.

Dubbed “Baro’t Saya Tuwa at Ligaya,” the exhibit played with the theme “Tribute of Joy to the Filipina and her Traditional Dress amid the Pandemic,” spotlighting the beauty of the Filipino traditional garbs and the stories that are woven into them. Beautiful portraits of women wearing terno and customary pieces adorned the space of Mega Fashion Hall in SM Megamall with actual couture-like Filipinianas displayed beside each artworks. Providing a sight of joy and positivity in our pandemic times are his hand painted gowns including a Maria Clara top over a green de cola skirt, a blush pink traje de mestiza dress with black accent on the baro, pañuelo, and tapis, and a modern Filipiniana wedding ensemble, among others.

SM Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications Millie Dizon with Fashion Designer and Artist Edgar San Diego and Abby San Diego

During the pandemic, Edgar shifted from fashion design to visual arts. After busying himself with house works during the onset of the lockdowns, he decided to pick up his brushes again and called his canvas supplier. In making the pieces, he asked his daughter Abby to pose for his desired angle and lighting and from there, he based his first obra maestra titled “Portrait of an Old Soul 1.” Consequently, he created one or two paintings weekly, all of which he showcased during his first solo exhibit.

‘Portrait of an Old Soul 1’ and ‘Baro, Panuelo, Saya, at Tapis’

“My paintings are unchanging in their presentation of Filipiniana themes, evident in the costumes, the furniture, the settings, and the scenarios that find their way into my canvas,” he says. “These are expressions of my love for the country and its history.”

While the exhibit is a love letter to the Philippines’ heritage, it is also a testament to Edgar’s creative life in the arts and the field of fashion. A graduate of Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas, Edgar went on to work with a number of Filipino designers as he painted on their garments, giving him first-hand exposure to the industry. He, later on, became a window display artist and one of the pioneering members of the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines, where he eventually served as president for eight years.

He gained numerous recognitions through his career in fashion. These include Haute Couture Designer of the Year in the Manila Fashion Designers Awards in 1989, Grand Prix Best Costume Award in Carnival in Rio in Manila, which brought him to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1990, Outstanding Alumni of UST College of Fine Arts and Don Bosco Technical Institute, and a five-time winner in the Annual Flores de Mayo at The Manila Hotel.

A hand-painted Maria Clara top over a green de cola skirt and gown with modern kimona sleeves, serpentina sleeves, and chiffon train blends with his ‘Kwentuhan sa Hardin’ painting

Edgar also explored a design career in the performing art industry. With his artistic background and style influences, he was able to craft costumes for Repertory Philippines productions such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Man of La Mancha,” “M Butterfly,” “Aladdin,” and “The Sound of Music.” He also dressed the characters of Trumpets’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “Little Mermaid” and New Port Theater’s “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” He also made cinematic costumes for Star Cinema’s “Sarah ang Munting Prinsesa” and “Ceddie.”

While he successfully made a name for himself in different parts of the world, presenting shows in the US and London, his mission has always been to put the Filipino art of dressing on the global map, much like what he is doing with his debut exhibit.

‘Maaga sa Palengke 1’ and ‘Dalaga sa Hagdanan’

“Through my visual creations, I could encourage and inspire others, especially the younger generations of Filipinos, to develop an interest in our country’s fascinating history and our rich cultural heritage,” Edgar muses.

Baro’t Saya Tuwa at Ligaya” exhibit is co-presented by SM Appliance Center, TCL, Amelia’s Garden, Artistshop, BERINGER Wines, Doltz Pilar, Flyace Corporation, and Gari P. Palmani. A percentage of the sales will be donated to Special Services of Jose Reyes Medical Center.