MANILA,  JUNE 30, 2004
By Millet Martinez-Mananquil  -  More frugality, less frivolity.

This is the new lifestyle trend that President Arroyo wants to emphasize for the next six years. And she wants to set a good example today by wearing something old, something recycled.

"I want to emphasize austerity, and tell Filipinos to be less frivolous and less indulgent," the President told couturier Inno Sotto.

Instead of ordering a new inaugural gown, the President asked Inno to reinvent two gowns created by him for her previous state visits.

The first, a green silk chiffon gown with draping and bolero sleeves which she wore on a European state visit, was refashioned by Inno Sotto into a refreshing terno with butterfly sleeves. "I pulled the draping to one side to make it asymmetrical, and put Philippine silk and piña details on the draping," says Inno.

The second is an aquamarine silk princess cut gown with long sleeves which the President wore on a US state visit. Inno removed the sleeves, and restyled the gown into a beautiful terno with details on the neck and new butterfly sleeves using local silk and piña likewise.

Though the two gowns for the President’s Manila and Cebu inaugurals are recycled, they surely bear the master touch of Inno who has done gowns for former First Ladies Amelita Ramos, Luisa Ejercito and Imelda Marcos (post-EDSA) as well as former President Corazon Aquino.

"President Arroyo looks good in bright colors and red is her favorite, but vanity is the least of her concerns," says Inno. He often advises GMA to use some jewelry inherited from her late mother, former First Lady Eva Macapagal. "But most often, she just wears simple pearls," he adds.

"Comfort and practicality are the President’s main concerns when it comes to fashion. She would tell me, ‘Inno, remember I will be alighting from a helicopter,’ or ‘Inno, malamigin ako ha?’" Those are points, Inno says, that he and another designer, JC Buendia, bear in mind.

"She is not at all fussy. In fact, every time she does her fitting with me in Malacañang, she would be reading some papers, rewriting a speech, or taking calls while I put in needles and pins on the gowns she’s trying on," Inno says.

Looks like Inno himself will be on needles and pins the next six years. This early, the President has already sent him more old gowns to reinvent.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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