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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, 20th Century Philippines Part 30: Gerry Katigbak

Guillermo “Gerry” Katigbak was a Filipino fashion designer, couturier, photographer, stylist, choreographer and professor of fashion. Katigbak got his start as a designer working in-house for Rustan’s and St. J. department stores. He then moved on to designing his own fashion lines focusing on couture clothing. Katigbak was known for his avant-garde style, incorporating unconventional silhouettes and fabrics.

Katigbak’s interpretations of the Barong Tagalog were a mix of old and new, traditional and contemporary. His barongs’ traditional features included a roomier, loose fit; traditional barong fabrics, like piña and jusi; and utilizing hand embroidered designs. The contemporary features included newer fabrics like linen, using black dye on barong fabric, incorporating machine embroidery and printed fabric, adding an embroidered waistband accessory and using tuxedo wing collars. Katigbak believed the Barong Tagalog is an evolving garment that “shall adopt features that will improve its wearability and contemporaneity” and that “more and more Filipino men wear the Barong Tagalog because it adapts to the changing lifestyles and times.”

The groom wears a Katigbak-designed Barong Tagalog made of hand embroidered piña

The groom wears a Katigbak-designed Barong Tagalog made of hand embroidered piña with a half open button down design, French cuffs and a wing collar adorned with a black ribbon.

A Katigbak Barong Tagalog made of printed jusi

A Katigbak Barong Tagalog made of printed jusi featuring a loose fit, half open button down design, and a contrasting color placket and mandarin collar. The model wears striped slacks and a western hat in 19th century style.

A Katigbak Barong Tagalog made of jusi dyed black worn loose with a half open button down design, covered black button placket

A Katigbak Barong Tagalog made of jusi dyed black worn loose with a half open button down design, covered black button placket, wing collar, French cuffs, simple strips of vertical embroidery and a hand embroidered waistband worn underneath.

A black jusi Katigbak Barong Tagalog worn in contrast to a more traditional off-white barong.

The same Katigbak Barong Tagalog in the 3rd pic worn in contrast to a more traditional off-white barong.

The first four pics above are likely from the 1980’s and are from Visitacion R. de la Torre’s 1986 book The Barong Tagalog: The Philippines’ National Wear.

Gerry Katigbak around 2015 from Lifestyle.inq

Gerry Katigbak around 2015 from Lifestyle.inq