At The Top Of Their Game: Philippine Tatler Ball Awardees 2017
This year’s awardees include a woman who is considered the grande dame of luxury retail in the Philippines; a senator who has done her best to champion the country’s creative community to the extent of showcasing their talents at the world- renowned Biennale di Venezia; a couple who have been working tirelessly to bring hope and a better life to children rescued from dangerously abusive situations; a fashion designer whose creations are worn by both local and global celebrities; and a woman who had an extraordinary childhood and survived grave illness to emerge as one of the country’s most stylish ladies.
Photography by Mj Suayan | Art Direction by Monique Madsen | Set Design by Tipping Point Collective
Renaissance Woman: Zenaida Tantoco
She is the keeper of a golden legacy—that of a family that made its name in the field of Philippine luxury retail. Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco stands at the helm of Rustan’s, a company that represents Filipino innovation, tenacity, and drive for growth and success. Over the years, Rustan’s remains the name, the store for Filipinos seeking the best that the world can offer.
Under Tantoco’s leadership, the family business has grown to include Stores Specialists Inc (SSI) which has brought numerous globally recognised brands to the Philippines including British retailer Marks & Spencer, fashion icon Prada, and a host of others.
But beyond her prowess in business, Tantoco is a woman of great heart. Prior to her most recent distinction as Diamond Awardee, the magazine has recognised her as Patroness of the Arts and Most Charitable Force. She quietly supports institutions such as the Cultural Centre of the Philippines and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also helped numerous Filipino musicians share their talents with the world through an endowment fund.
Those Who Care: David and Katherine Bradley
David Bradley is best known as owner and chairman of Atlantic Media which owns prominent publications like The Atlantic and digital publishing powerhouse Quartz. His wife Katherine joined his corporate endeavours through her work with his research companies.
They have made a difference in the lives of the Philippines’ youngest victims of abuse since 1996 when they endowed the Child Protection Unit at the Philippine General Hospital which now takes in about 100 abused children daily. This eventually led to the establishment of the Child Protection Network (CPN) in 2002. As CPN chairman, David continues to fly in regularly for meetings and to see the impact of CPN on the lives of rescued children.
Katherine also established the CityBridge Foundation which provides solutions for issues in health and education. She is the current head of Teach for America and is a trustee on the boards of Princeton University and the Washington Ballet.
Through CPN, David and Katherine Bradley work tirelessly to fight the Goliaths of abuse and human trafficking, giving rescued children a better, brighter tomorrow.
For the Love of Art: Senator Loren Legarda
Patroness of the Arts
Many remember Senator Loren Legarda as a fearless, hard-hitting journalist who opened the nation’s eyes to critical issues through The Inside Story. She successfully transitioned from journalism to politics where she has taken up the cudgels for indigenous communities and continues to raise public awareness regarding critical issues.
Best known as a true advocate for Philippine art and culture, her advocacies range from the use of indigenous fabrics to spearheading the return of Filipino artists to one of the world's most renowned exhibitions: La Biennale di Venezia. In doing so, Philippine art is now sought after by collectors and museums across the globe.
Recognising her passionate drive to bring the Philippines to the fore of the global art scene, the Italian government awarded her the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiano.
It is, thus, but fitting that the people of the Cordillera Region have given her the name Tukwi or “bright star” as she has enabled the talents of a nation to shine throughout the world.
The Beauty of Resilience: Elvira “Tootsy” Echauz-Angara
Most Stylish Woman 2017
Within her soignée appearance is the heart and soul of a woman of grace.
Tootsy Angara shines not only because of her kindness and her sterling wit, but also the effortless manner with which she carries herself and the innate sense of style that has earned the admiration of many. Clad in the nest creations of some of our greatest local designers, she exudes confidence and elegance.
But beyond appearances, she is also a woman of great strength and character. As a child, she saw first-hand the struggles faced by the tribes of the Cordilleras. It was an experience that helped shape the way she saw the world, building up her compassion and empathy for others.
Later in life, she bravely faced her own Calvary as she triumphed over a tumour in her brain. She lives on with love and faith as a strong career woman, a supportive wife, and a loving mother — a shining example of a woman who seamlessly brings together style and substance.
The Arbiter Of Style: Cary Santiago
Most Creative Force
From humble beginnings in the Queen City of the South, this year’s Most Creative Force awardee has dressed some of the nation’s most prominent women as well as the beauties of the most recent Miss Universe and Binibining Pilipinas pageants. He has taken his inspiration from some of the world’s greatest cities and the colourful culture of the most exotic nations.
Truly an old soul, he finds magic and whimsy in the streets of Paris and the whirlwind of colours in India, finding inspiration in the most unlikely places and working with local fabrics to bring the most breath-taking ideas to life. He has been quoted as saying, “Don’t be inspired by just the work of others. Be inspired by anything and everything beautiful that surrounds you.”
Keeping his emphasis on the beautiful and the inspiring in mind, it is not surprising that Cary Santiago continues to raise the bar with regard to innovation and elegance in the world of fashion.