If we were Maria Gigante, we probably wouldn’t have much trouble figuring out what to wear. With her beautiful tan skin, svelte figure and an endearing devil-may-care personality, she seems like the kind of person who would look good in just about anything.
“I like to think that less is more,” she says, although she admits the curated selection in her closet now is the product of months of editing down. “I’m also very experimental, but pretty low maintenance.”
She was definitely relaxed when we arrive at her house for the Sunday afternoon shoot, dressed in shorts and a black silk kimono. It was a few weeks after a long run for as Miss Bantayan for Binibining Cebu, where she was crowned Binibining Cebu Charity alongside Binibining Cebu Tourism Samatha Lo of Asturias and Binibining Cebu Apriel Smith of Badian.
“It was an amazing experience. I made a lot of friends and learned a lot, and I got to share my hometown with the rest of Cebu. But I have to admit—it’s nice having the time for myself again,” she laughs. These days, she’s busy with her modeling and hosting career, and finishing her Philosophy degree.
Although beauty queen is a title she already has in her stable, Maria takes on different personas when it comes to fashion. “I don’t stick to one fashion personality. What I wear depends on what I’m doing, where I’m going,” she shares. “I like to switch it up every now and then, and see what looks good.”
That’s something we see in her wardrobe—the pieces range from body-hugging leather miniskirts and sequined shirtdresses, to a dainty pale blue peacoat and a high-neck lace blouse. “The experimental side definitely comes form my love of history and culture,” she admits. As a daughter of an airline pilot, she’d grown up receiving souvenirs from all around the world, which cultivated a curiosity for what’s out there—though she also has a love for what’s here. “I like to support my friends who are young local artists. You’d be amazed at what they can do.”
As she continues to go through the rest of the pieces in her closet, it’s clear that Maria picks up her outfits from a number of different places. “I shop anywhere!” she admits. “It helps me keep an open imagination.”
It also doesn’t hurt that her best friend is Edward James Castro, a fashion designer and founding member of styling group Blaq Mafia (who this magazine frequently collaborates with). “Usually we’ll be in a store, and Edward will just pull things out for me,” she laughs. “I’m so lucky to have my personal stylist!”
Despite the number of eye-catching pieces she has, though, Maria actually has a pretty practical outlook on fashion. “I’m all for basic, timeless pieces and colors. I don’t have as many clothes as you’d expect—just a few statement pieces and a lot of basics,” she says. “I want the clothes that I wear now to still be a part of my wardrobe rotation forever.”
Her reasoning is something backed by a more sentimental reason. “I have two sisters, and I love the idea of being able to share a wardrobe that transcends our age difference. It sounds kind of deep, but it’s really just me,” she continues. “I like clothes that mean something to me. I never get a piece of clothing unless I can’t live without it, so everything in there is my favorite.”
Claudia Bezza-Yeung’s Santorini Cruise Collection Seaside Debut
By Kingsley Medalla
The Santorini Cruise Collection launch, Claudia Bezza-Yeung’s fifth, held last May in Kandaya Resort in Daanbantayan, was inspired by the Greek island of Santorini. Claudia’s designs exude sophistication, and a touch of Mediterranean charm. The collection features flowing maxi dresses in vibrant colors that mirror the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, lightweight fabrics that effortlessly sway with the ocean breeze, and intricate design that adds a touch of opulence to each piece.
The collection itself is a celebration of summer: mini dresses with headbands and tote bags evoke images of strolls along whitewashed streets. Each piece is carefully crafted to capture the essence of Santorini’s charm.
The color palette of soft pastels like pale blues and pinks, are juxtaposed with bold pops of color, like romantic pinks and vibrant yellows. This combination creates a visually striking contrast that adds depth and interest to each look.
Kandaya Resort, with its breathtaking sunsets and white sand beaches, provides the perfect backdrop for the 55-pieces of beach wear.
“The collection, as with all our pieces, is made from discarded fabric that we source from China and Dubai,” shares designer Claudia Bezza Yeung. “The fabrics for this collection were acquired at different times and were kept in storage since the pandemic, and it was only recently that they all came together with this vision: Santorini! ”
Beyond its aesthetic appeal, this fashion show also serves as an opportunity to showcase Bezza’s talent on an international stage. By collaborating with local artisans and incorporating traditional techniques into her designs, this former model-turned-designer pays homage to Santorini’s rich cultural heritage.
Claudia learned sewing skills from her mother, starting early by dressing up her dolls with fabric scraps. “When I was working and traveling all over the world, I had to decide to carry fewer clothes in my luggage, so I would recycle clothes and customize the ones I already had so they would look different every time.” Soon, she began selling her creations to fellow models.
“I do not sketch. I find it better to manipulate fabrics directly on the body,” Claudia shares. “I sew and drape directly on my body most of the time, and that’s when I get ideas on transforming the dress.
The Santorini Cruise Collection Launch, a Fashion Show on the Beach is not just another runway event but an immersive experience that celebrates both style and culture. Its idyllic setting and stunning designs leave an indelible mark on all fortunate enough to witness it firsthand.
The First Philippine Terno Gala at the Waterfront
On March 10, 2023, important guests and personalities entered the halls of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino to attend the first Philippine Terno Gala in Cebu brought to you by Cary Santiago.
The Philippine Terno Gala’s fashion show showcased couture pieces by world class Filipino designers: Rajo Laurel, Mark Bumgarner, Philip Rodriguez, and Cary Santiago.
The event started with Philip Rodriguez’ daring designs that left the crowd with the need to see more.
Followed by Rajo Laurel’s contemporary pieces, keeping the ongoing gasps and cheers by the crowd alive to fill the ballroom’s ambiance.
Next to grace the crowd is Mark Bumgarner’s elegant designs had everyone raising their cameras to capture the admirable pieces.
To end the fashion show, Cary Santiago left a statement as the runway welcomed stunning designs leaving the crowd in awe.
As a surprise to the guests, special rewards were given to the crowd stoppers of the night with special thanks to Dia Gold and Jun Villanel.
Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino proved once more that they are the premier venue choice for grand events. Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino will see you all in their upcoming events as a part of their year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary.
CEBU KALEIDO: A Night of Fashion and Celebration at Crimson Mactan Resort and Spa
Miranda Konstatinidou’s beautiful beach wear and jewellery worn by her guests at an intimate beach party at Crimson Resort in Mactan. Konplott is Miranda’s luxury fashion accessory brand sold in Europe, worn by fashion icons and celebrities (no, it’s not sold locally) while her exclusive beach wear in silk are fabric designed by her, are also sold in high end resorts around the world. Meanwhile, Crimson Resort in Mactan will officially close temporarily for a makeover as most of their beachfront villas were damaged heavily by last December.s super typhoon Odette. Here’s to a great reopening of Crimson in a few months. (photography by Steffen Billhardt)