90 terno designs to be showcased in new exhibit

A preview of the designs by TernoCon 2018 mentors Len Cabili, JC Buendia, and Cary Santiago. Photo courtesy of BENCH

By CNN Philippines Life Staff – Being a country of many different groups and cultures, the Philippines has a variety of native dresses, from the baro’t saya of the Tagalogs and Visayans to the malongs of the Mindanaoans. But one dress stands out for its unique history and evolution through time: the terno.

The terno’s ancestor is the traje de mestiza, a type of dress worn by half-Spanish and half-Chinese women from the late 1500s to the early 1900s, and was evolved by women throughout the years to bear the silhouette and butterfly sleeves that the modern terno is known for. However, as the dress became associated with Imelda Marcos, who famously wore it throughout her husband’s administration, and as Filipino fashion evolved into something more practical and street-inspired, Filipino women lost interest in the dress.

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