By Lilian Bermudez

Lilian Bermudez is a Melbourne-based fashion designer of 22 years, specialising in Filipino formalwear, such as the Barong and Maria Clara. The fashion show will be a showcase of her latest work.


Barong, also known as ‘Barong Tagalog’, is the national men’s formalwear of the Philippines. The design, with its embroidered long sleeve, combines elements of both native Filipino and Spanish culture. It is made traditionally with ‘nipis’, a sheer textile woven from Abaca or Pina.

Baro’t Saya

Baro’t Saya or Baro at Saya, meaning ‘blouse and skirt’, is the national women’s formalwear of the Philippines. They traditionally consist of four parts; a long skirt called Saya or Palda, a blouse called Baro or Camisa, a small rectangular cloth worn over the Saya, and a handkerchief over the shoulder, called the Panuelo, Fichu or Alampay

Maria Clara

Maria Clara, also known as Filipiniana or Traje de Mestiza, is another version of female formal wear in the Philippines. This is the aristocratic version of the traditional Baro’t Saya. The name is taken from a character of a Filipino novel called Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal. It is a single gown with butterfly sleeves called Terno. There is also a cocktail version of the dress, known as Balintawak.