Katrina Aba’s womenswear collection was inspired by Catholic processions that take place in the Philippines every year during Easter week and Filipino women’s traditional dress. ‘Ninth Hour’ is an exploration of her experience growing up in a culture where religion plays a major role in the life of the people. As she revisited the memory of these religious observances, the starting point of her design process unfolded. She has witnessed these processions since childhood which she recalled being both inspiring and dark at the sam time.
In the collection, she chose to highlight the ritual mourning and generally sombre mood of the event, when people are commemorating Jesus’ death. Thus, the title of her collection ‘Ninth Hour’- the time of Jesus’ death. To echo the sorrowful atmosphere, she mainly uses black fabrics, but also introduced hints of pink which is also seen worn by some of the icons. The ornate garments that dressed religious icon in the processions became her main source of inspiration for the decorative elements of her designs. They ale clothed in dramatic and elaborate robes. A melange of materials from research were interpreted in different ways through different surface techniques. In the initial stages of the collection’s progression, embellishments, embroidery and laser-cutting were developed. Research drawings were merged to form a collection of original shapes that were used for laser-cutting. Writings of the Stations of the Cross in the Filipino language were etched on the fabrics. Floral elements can also be seen featured in the garments.
The silhouette is inspired by the Filipino women’s traditional dress- dropped shoulder, butterfly sleeve and raised neckline. Th use of lightweight, sheer and stiff fabrics, such as organdie is used a lot in the collection. Volume and dramatic shapes were important and maintained throughout her design development. Keeping the portrayal of elegance and drama was her way of maintaining a high regard to the significance of the religious event to devotees and to the culture. Katrina’s collection tells a story of devotion and grief. She was passionate about creating garments that can both be worn to tell a narrative and symbolise sorrow.