Pomp and pageantry are often used in the same sentence.
You can find both in an Edwin Benitez design.
Browse through designer’s Edwin Benitez’s Facebook photos and you can see why the man has lasted so long in the industry.
Think burlesque. Think Moulin Rouge. Think of the opulence associated in late 1800’s gay Paree and its fixation to the Art Nouveau Movement.
That whimsy, that opulence, that out-there sense of style that makes the body and the wearer POP! No wonder any candidate worth her salt wants to be poured into a Benitez creation.
Edwin designs all sorts of gowns. And I mean all. European-inspired ballgowns for your coming-of-age party, gowns that bring out your inner princess, body-hugging dresses with up-to-there necklines that would make Sophia Loren proud.
“Lately, I have also been designing formal wear for men and even swimwear,” he reveals to DNX.
It’s not just gowns for Edwin, though.
His expansive clientele includes local beauties and VIPs who make a beeline to the designer’s shop just to have gowns fitted and made just for them: for debuts, proms, etc.
But, Edwin emphasizes, his specialty is in pageantry gowns.
No, dear, not the kind in puroks.
His pageant gowns are in an entirely different level. He designs for really big major pageants, like Ms. Asia-Pacific, the Ms. Intercontinental 2018, Ms. Intercontinental India 2019.
He was also designer for Ms. Philippines’ gown during the Ms. Asia-Pacific Intercontinental 2018 pageant.
His more than a decade of experience as a gown designer not just in local but international pageants have earned him respect in the industry, and more importantly, the awards.
For this year alone, for instance, Edwin and his creations were recognized (Best in Evening Gown Design, Best Gown Designer, etc) in various pageants, one after another.
With such an illustrious career in designing, it is no surprise then that Edwin – specifically his creation — will be among those featured during the Born Brave fashion show on October 12 at the SMX Convention Bacolod. The event, directed by Rodney Ascalon, is in collaboration with the office of Bacolod representative Cong. Greg Gasataya, the avowed champion for mental health. Proceeds of the benefit show will go to Youth for Mental Health – Bacolod Chapter, and Happy Hearts Foundation.
When he was invited, he immediately grabbed the opportunity.
Of course, somebody with Edwin’s stature – he has been to dozens of national and international fashion shows – does not need any more publicity.
Still, he decided to give back. His other career – he’s an educator, a former dean of the Visayan Maritime Academy Global College – after all shows he has the heart for selfless service.
This show, in particular, is special to him. His reason for accepting the inviting is somewhat personal.
“I am inspired to join for the sake of my sister who is also a special child,” he says.
The award-winning designer also has a message for mental health survivors, or anyone currently going through a mental health crisis: “(M)ental health s very important because when your are mentally stable, all other aspects follow: physical, emotional, and spiritual.”
Mental health, Edwin believes, serves as the driving force everything we do.