Sunday, March 30, 2014

Behind the Fashion Scene

Depending on the number of looks to showcase, a fashion show may run from as short as 7 minutes to up to 20 minutes.  While it takes only a short moment to highlight different styles, this affair actually takes days, weeks and most of the time months to prepare.  

Such is the case for Brave Wings Fashion Show, scheduled on June 21st 2014, yet it already had its first model casting call on March 21st.  It’s with great joy that I get to assist my friends in putting together this charitable fashion show and was glad to see familiar faces and “kababayans” auditioning for the catwalk.  Don’t you fret if you missed it, there’s more to come.  Visit and LIKE Chasing Sheila and Brave Wings Facebook pages for casting announcements.

While the actual runway event would not start until 2 or 3 hours after the doors open, photographers and correspondents, like myself checked in for our media credentials and watched the crew label the final VIP seat assignments at the Phoenix Fashion Week Spring Into Fashion hosted by the Arizona Center on March 28th.   

Straight to the comfortable media lounge, presented by Cabana Modern Apartment Homes,  charging stations and swags await as we mix and mingle with fellow journalists and media professionals, and photo-ops with featured boutique owners and stylists.

Usually behind the lenses, we give credit to these awesome photographers for their keen eyes and perfect timing to capture the beauty of fashion.

L-R: Rosemary Woods, Daniel Vertuno, Steve Trujillo, Hassan Kareem and Steve Yap

During the press conference I got to ask the top stylists what spring trend is their biggest “No! No!”  To which, each expert replied… 
  • For those with long torso, Jenesis Laforcarde says no to wearing rompers (can you imagine?). 
  • Denim skirt does not appeal to Vanessa Gonzales and wants that trend gone (umm, I might have a skort but not skirt, so I’m good). 
  • Yekatherina Bruner doesn’t want to see anyone wear age inappropriate clothes, and that goes for old and young (totally agree)! 
  • Rochelle York says that boot cut pants are ok but bell-bottoms that starts from the knees must go (skinny jeans then – check)! 
  • Finally, Jessica Hunter says no more to gym clothes if you are not working out (ah good thing I work out at home). Good pointers!!

With my love for fashion, nothing goes unnoticed.  Meticulously observed, the biggest WOW factor for me at Spring Into Fashion affair is the hairstyling!   Huge kudos to Lauren Bates, though behind the scene, her artistry made a fabulous impact on stage.  I like the sleek wrapped high up ponytail look she designed for Jenesis and Divaz Boutique show.  I’ve only known Lauren about a week and must have spoken with her less than 5 minutes, yet her youth and fresh aura is very intriguing to me.  Fingers crossed, I am trying to score an interview with her, look out to learn more about her here.

There’s so much to say and critique in last Saturday’s fashion show so let me briefly share my viewpoint and let these camera moments do the rest of the talking:

Divaz Boutique styled by Jenesis Laforcarde

Jenesis Laforcarde rocked the runway! This is my favorite collection of the night.  You can’t go wrong by opening with swimwear by Dolcessa, 2013 PhxFW Emerging Designer of the Year.  I love all the bright color combinations and especially pleased that there are no floral prints, to which Miranda Priestly sarcastically said, “Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking” and then pierced her lips!

Fresh Start Treasures styled by Vanessa Gonzales

Equally impressive is Vanessa Gonzales for styling Fresh Start Treasures, a resale boutique and an extension of the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping empower women.  It must be very challenging to create a cohesive collection when pulling from a 2nd hand store.  No problem to Vanessa’s keen eye and great taste, she put up a classy and sophisticated runway show. 

Clothes Minded styled by Rochelle York

WWRD, as in "What Would Rochelle Do?" literally is what I ask myself when I cannot decide what shoes to pair with my outfit or when trying to figure out what scarf to wear with my dress.  She displayed her simple, up to date and effortless styling, and my fave look is the blue Christie Skirt by Linden (designed by Jennifer Lynn) paired with wide v-neck muscle tee accessorized with some serious gold chain layering.  Now, if I could only sport a fierce blonde pixie like this model, I'd be made!

Leggings is one fashion trend that seems to be transitioning well from Winter into Spring says Allie Olson, owner of Allie Ollie Boutique.  Mixed with resort style clothing, that's exactly what Yeka highlighted on the runway.  From retail merchandising, Allie has ventured into fashion design and I just wish that her own designs were shown too.

7 Diamonds styled by Jessica Hunter

I am delighted to see men's fashion featured in last Saturday's affair.  You can't miss the intricate details of 7 Diamonds button down shirts, that is if you are able to take away your eyes from these pretty models =)  Phoenix Fashion Week has done a good job in slowly expanding its horizon, including the Male Model of the Year contest that debuted in Fall 2013.  I'm guessing kid's fashion might be in the works, do I get yay or nay?

When it comes to fad, especially for those who hustle and bustle in the industry, fashion shows are often about showcasing the complete ensemble, styled to fit the occasion.  And for the best dressed fashionista of the night, my vote goes to (drum roll please) - gorgeous Miss Eva Louis.  

Eva's outfit did not just magically happen, it was a creative vision materialized by designer Natasha Duran-Lynch, winner of the Phoenix Fashion Week T-Shirt Contest 2011  and competitor for the Little Black Dress Competition 2013.  As the great Frank Sinatra once crooned, "spring has sprung" when Eva arrived in Natasha's custom designed fuchsia-lined black and white dendritic pleated skirt, paired with black lace trim shell from White House Black Market, and accented by matching fuchsia flirty rimmed open-toe heels.  Her flawless make up by Kami Tafoya of Smoke and Mirrors Studio, and one-sided pin up and Audrey Hepburn up do combination by Alex Cruz of Toni & Guy Salon in Scottsdale Fashion Square completed her look.  And that necklace from Clothes Minded gives just enough edge to demure, Miss Eva Louis.

I have 3 words to describe Eva that night:  PER - FEC - TION (and snap!)

Miss Eva Louis

Now that cured my spring fever!  'Til next time...

Get your FASH on, keep styling and make a fashion scene. Visit and LIKE Chasing Sheila on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rosario Association of Greater L.A. 36th Induction Ball

Inducted on March 15th, 2014 by Honorable Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla, Governor of Cavite, at the Embassy Suites in Orange County California, a big CONGRATULATIONS to the 2014 President Bobby Sanchez (second term) and the newly elected officers and advisors of Rosario “Salinas” Association of Greater L.A. Best wishes to all the members for their 36th year of continued support and success.

Bobby and Arlene Sanchez with Hon. Juanito Victor "Jonvic" Remulla

Some of the inductee officers getting ready for oath taking.
From L-R:  Irene Prodigalidad, Leo Baquiran, Angelica "Chachie" Abundo, Linda Cuaderno,
and Hon. Juanito Victor "Jonvic" Remulla


It was a great privilege to welcome and introduce Governor Jonvic as he shared our excitement for the night.  He delivered a heartfelt message inviting everyone to come visit our hometown Rosario, Cavite and witness the significant transformation that has transpired.  He reported that Cavite continues to be the most populous province in the Philippines brought about by the industrialization trend that started in the late 80’s, right about when I left for USA.  Furthermore, the municipality of Rosario is known to have led the way to concentrated manufacturing industry and is now officially the most densely populated town not only in the province of Cavite, but in the whole Philippines. This is due to migrants coming for greener pastures… meaning jobs in the growing factories in Cavite Economic Zone.

While most faces are no longer familiar with more laborers coming from different parts of the country, Governor Jonvic highlighted that the local government now has the responsibility of keeping up with the town’s growth and serving its diverse people. Some of the development projects expected ahead include, but not limited to the following are: 
  • Cavitex south extension to Kawit, Cavite and eventual connection to C-6 Regional Expressway (Bulacan-Rizal-Manila-Cavite) and the Cavite-Laguna Expressway. Construction is in progress
  • Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension to Bacoor, Cavite.  Construction is set to start in October 2014.
  • Former largest offshore US Naval Base Sangley Point in Cavite City is eyed by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to be the possible site of a new international gateway that would eventually replace the congested NAIA, which is currently ranked as 8th among the 10 worst airports in the world by a US financial media company in Wall Street. Currently in survey and planning stages.
  • To help mitigate the squatter situation, “Free Housing” development is planned in Rosario, Cavite for 2,000 families of good behavior and moral standing ß the only requirement to own one of the free houses.

It was refreshing to learn about the huge government projects and prospects for my hometown. It makes me feel optimistic and encouraged to go back and visit.  

Graced by Salinas Association pioneer members and political dignitaries from the province of Cavite, it was indeed a beautiful reunion of Salinas town mates who travelled from near and far.   Funds were productively raised at the event and generously supported by the attendees to finance the many projects lined up for our kababayans back home.   Previous successful initiatives by the Salinas Association include Monoblock Chairs Donation to several elementary schools, 32 LBC boxes for “Pasalubong Kabayan Ko”, Haiyan Typhoon Relief Funds, Annual Rice Distribution and many more.  As a Filipina, I am proud that this strong sense of kinship and “bayanihan” mentality are part of typical pinoy lifestyle and tradition.

The Salinas Association induction of officers is not complete without its muse and escort.  A warm welcome was given for the presentation and coronation of 2014 Mister Salinas - XX and 2014 Miss Salinas - XX.  After their promenade, it didn't take long for the dance floor to fill up as soon as the first beat dropped.  The rest of the night carried on with dinner, more dancing, and most importantly 'chikas' and selfies with friends.

(Come back to see more Mr and Miss Salinas 2014 photos)

From L-R:  Mr. Joe Huizar, Mrs. Flo Abueg and her daughters -
Gabriel Sanchez Mendoza (Miss Salinas 2013), Victoria Sanchez Mendoza (Miss Salinas 2014),
and Mr. Leo Abueg

For the 2nd year in a row, I was honored to be the master of ceremony of the Rosario (Salinas) Association of Greater L.A.’s 36th Induction and Coronation Ball, together with my dear friend Rafael Flores.   

Having a blast as Masters of Ceremony: Rafael Flores and Sheila Vertuno (yours truly)

Taking it a little serious this time

A wonderful family man who hails in San Diego, Raffy whom I have known for over 20 years is a great advocate of Filipino community events especially for little kids.  Looking dapper as always, Raffy wore a traditional pinya Barong Tagalog with Gap trousers, Aldo belt and shoes, and a Rolex timepiece to complete the look.

Tinette (wearing BCBG) and Rafael Flores with Hon. Juanito Victor "Jonvic" Remulla

Taking a short break for a duo selfie =)

Equally making a fashion scene with my co-host, I showcased one of my favorite designers, Dora Yim, whose brand appeals to my personal style, and that is contemporary and timeless.  I wore the classic navy blue and metallic bareback signature piece by d.p.c. Dora Yim (hurry...this dress is 50% off right now!).  Its defined waistline adds just the right shape to my lean boyish figure.  And finding a comfortable 5-inch ankle strap soles to compliment and accentuate my stems for a 6-hour formal event is always a happy feat!

Finally, while 2014 Vice President Leovy Baquiran is still working out the details with haute couture designers, I can’t wait to co-host the charity fashion show with Raffy this summer. 

Getting their FASH on and looking stylish, here are some of our kababayans!

With sultry Miss Grace Ibanez Trias wearing a long ivory skirt with Spring lace halter bra top by ANGL 

Chachie Abundo looking demure and sophisticated in vintage black chiffon & lace floor length gown. Her one-sided up do & flawless makeup is styled by Fermin Alberto of Gill's Hair Studio located in Carson, CA.
Boboy Abundo is dashing black Calvin Klein suit, Ralph Laure shirt and tie and Salvator Ferragamo soles

Ivan Jericho Vidamo (left) wearing a copper brown pinstriped black suit by Pacific Custom Tailors,
Gabriel Solomon Vidamo (middle) wearing H&M head to toe,
and Kevin Tiamzon (right)

From L-R:  Ivan Jericho Vidamo, Sheila Vidamo Vertuno, Marou Marana and Kevin Tiamzon

James Vidamo and beautiful Diane Christi Go wearing a vintage royal blue/black empire waist chiffon dress with long solid black shawl by Shawl Dawls

Jose Rozel "Jhing Jhing" Hernandez and Baby Cupino

Henry and Richelle Abundo

Grace Ibanez Trias

Rheyvon Abueg in Calvin Klein jacket, John Varvatos trousers, and Bass shoes
Flordeliza Pascual black cutout lace dress by Express and black platforms by Jessica Simpson

Chasing Sheila