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Monday, March 24, 2008

THE TERNO: The Haute Couture of National Dresses

Elegance to the highest level… stately grace at its utmost… the Haute Couture of national dresses!


The Terno is absolutely one of the world’s most distinct and recognizable traditional dresses identified ONLY to the Philippines…*Northern Mariana, did you hear that? Ha!*

A Terno is a seamless, long, elegant dress with a signature “butterfly” sleeves. The “butterflies” frame the woman’s smooth shoulders, collar lines, neck and of course, the face. It is made with fabrics expensive enough to scandalize the World Bank. LOL!

Seriously…I’m sure you guys have seen beautiful women from the Philippines wore a “terno”, at least one time in your life. Imelda Marcos showed the world how to wear it while she strut her stuff in the 70’s and 80’s around the globe. Oh did she make a Filipino fashion statement or what? So imeldific! *some dictionary lists “imeldific”, mind you*

Isabel Preysler never leave her “palace” without proudly wearing one! Mrs. Preysler (for those who don’t know) is an ultra-famous Madrid socialite of Filipino origin. And she happens to be Julio Iglesias’ ex-wife (ask your grandparents who he is or click here). And yeah, yeah, yeah…I’m sure my Filipino readers want me “highlight” this… Isabel is Enrique’s mom. Ok? Ok. Now, get off me.

Anyways, back to the topic…”Terno” is a coined term for the Spanish word “to match” or “matching” AND it didn’t start the way it looks today…

The evolution started in the Spanish era when Tagalog women (of Luzon Island) modified their traditional dress (Baro’t Saya) and made it more conservative. They made it longer at floor-length so not to scandalize the foreign priests.

Historians also noted that it has also been influenced by Hindus and Chinese traders in those times. In the turn of the century (1900s) it came to a point when the Terno is made with 7 layers to create the skirt! *Whoa!* I guess they haven’t realized that the Philippines is a tropical country in those days, did they? Interesting.

I am aware that Filipinos nowadays identify the Terno with Imelda Marcos. And I hope they get over it soon. Although she's the one who popularized it, the Terno is still a Filipino national identity worthy to be worn by any woman who is proud of her heritage.

The TernoStyle icon of Southeast Asia.

****

13 Comments:

curbside_puppet said...

finally, your first two posts in a week! that terno (we call it a balintawak as well) mrs marcos was wearing was the most beautiful i've seen so far! it looks very...imeldific!

Jake Tornado said...

Can I wear one too? Waaah! No one wears it better than Mrs. Imelda Marcos. I've seen her jewel-studded one at Malacañang Palace when I was a kid!

treskeidecamania said...

Stunning,soo imeldific..it symbolizes the grandeur and beauty of the Dalagang Filipina..elegant yet proud and strong..

Fascinates yourself to the lovely designs and colours of the ternos these coming May where processions of FLORES de MAYO are being held most of the towns all througout the Philippines.

One thing, i really admire local and national organizers for including the the Best in Gown/Terno competition in the bauty pageant...one good way of preserving our cultural icon..

Truly a Haute Cauture of National Dresses..

I salute all of you BISAEANS for reminding us the worth of our asean treasures..witty and inspiring..

eyron said...

confused with the phrase 'Northern Mariana, did you hear that? Ha!'

sorry for being ignoramus...

Sofia for BISEAN said...

@ Eyron >>> because Northern Marianans...wait...Marianese?...fokk! whatever... uses the Terno as their national costume too. Pageants, conferences, blah, blah.

Although we are aware that most of these islanders are of Filipino descent... they should don a traditional costume representing their country... not others.

A little originality won't hurt, sweetie. <3

chase / chubz said...

wow. you know more than i do. heheh.
im such a bad filipino. hehe

eyron said...

@sofia, tnx for the inputs. mwah...

Anonymous said...

Here is a modern application of the Terno style. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/31/Vina_Morales.jpg/399px-Vina_Morales.jpg

Anonymous said...

Sorry here is the link:

Modern Terno

Gail T. said...

truly imeldific. i'm filipina, and like you exhorted, i'm "over it." now, if only i can afford to get one tailored to my short and chubby stature, i'd proudly wear one to parties, to church.. i'd even wear a less fussy one everyday!

raissa said...

Hello! Thanks for letting people see how exquisite the terno is. I think despite of who made the terno popular - whether we like her or not, she did bring into awareness how beautiful this national costume/dress is. LIke Gail, I am over it too.

A friend and I have been discussing getting ourselves a few pieces okay one or two - formal and casual LOL I think every Filipina should have one in their closet. I am looking for designs for both formal and casual one. I saw on a show a style similar but it was a short jacket worn over jeans and it was so pretty.

the Terno is still a Filipino national identity worthy to be worn by any woman who is proud of her heritage.

I totally agree!!

Sofia for BiSEAN said...

Thanks for the first comment Raissa sweetie. We'd like you to know it is always welcome and appreciated.

You made us pause for a moment there...

Ya, it should be our "call" and advocacy (as bloggers) to encourage women of our region to OWN at least 1 or two of their traditional dress.

Thanks for making us realize that. We'll do a post about it soon. Thanks for the idea, sweetie.

Hello Gail T., Eyron, Chase and all of you sweet people!!!

danyhael said...

OMG, who's the trash on the upper right? i think i saw her surrounded with many shoes somewhere... was it divisoria...?... hmm...

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