Jo Ann Bitagcol’s namesake brand marks its fourth anniversary with a new collection

Tao by Bitagcol tells the designer’s story through Philippine art, culture, heritage, and humor.

Four years since she launched her first collection of printed scarves, fashion icon Jo Ann Bitagcol releases “Tao,” a whimsical assortment of scarves, shirts, baro tops, robes, wrap dresses, and piña dresses that bring to life images of vintage pieces.

Using items from the personal collection of theater designer and scenographer Gino Gonzales, Bitagcol creates quirky assemblages that resembled Filipina characters. “Gino had a great idea of adding other elements to bring these characters to life–a spoon ladle, hats, and small baskets. As we experimented with the forms we created, we began giving them names like ‘lola,’ ‘lola chef,’ ‘ate,’ ‘ate fashionista,’ tita,’ and ‘tita madame,’” the visual artist explains.

Bitagcol also cites National Artist Mauro Malang Santos as her foremost inspiration. Works such as Three Women and Mother and Child compelled the artist to look into more abstract, contemporary ways of presenting the Filipina today. “Every time I would go to an art exhibit or visit a museum, I would always find myself gravitating to his works. In general, I would always be drawn to figures of the human body and the contemporary ways that they are portrayed.”

“Tao” features various prints that can be layered, mixed, and matched with each other to form day-to-night looks. Preferring fluid and versatile designs, Bitagcol showcases pieces that celebrate not only her artistry, but also the individual wearer’s sartorial style.

Through her latest collection, Bitagcol combines treasured elements from the past, distinct Philippine humor, contemporary design, and her signature storytelling to tell the next chapter in her journey as a visual artist.

View Tao by Bitagcol at the Rhett Eala store located at Greenbelt 5, Makati.

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