When Vaness Del Moral got her invitation to the GMA Artist Center Ball, she immediately thought of one thing:
"Naisip ko almost lahat ng girls talaga mag-ga-gown, so sabi ko gusto ko maging iba."
It's always a good rule of thumb for anyone to strive to look different and stand out in a style that best highlights their unique persona.
That doesn't necessarily equate to anything outlandish or flamboyant.
Neither does it require spending an arm and a leg just to achieve that end result.
In the case of Vaness, her idea of "special" was pretty simple: she had to wear something that reflected her ingenuity and stylistic flair.
So instead of relying on the network's posse of resident fashion gurus, the young character actress sought the help of designer Ernest Santos of Rafaella, a fashion house that specializes in Filipiniana wear.
"Nagpagawa ako ng barong na yung cut naman niya, e, pambabae. Hindi naman siya yung typical barong na panlalake."
The final design was a collaborative process between Ernest and Vaness.
"Bale binigay ko sa kanya yung mga naiisip ko.
"And then, sinabi niya sa 'kin kung ano yung maganda, saka yung mga binigay ko na hindi maganda.
"So tinulungan niya 'ko, actually. And then nung nakita ko yung drawing niya, it was nice.
"Tapos pinapili niya ako ng tela, and then pinag-fitting niya ako."
Vaness instantly fell in love with her barong when she finally saw it.
The end product of their combined ideas was a sheen grey three-quarter-sleeve top made of pure silk.
It was tailored well to fit Vaness' body, accenting her slim waist without creasing the fabric's natural flow.
A gradient orange pattern around the center added luster to its rather somber hue.
It was enhanced even more with a mix of painted and embroidered leaf motifs, and hints of black beads all over for added color accent.
However, instead of the standard polo-type collar, Santos used a more feminine Mandarin neckline which he embellished with black beads and clear crystals.
The buttons were also replaced with secret snaps, which were also furbished with beads and crystals.
Vaness said, "Nung nag-fitting pa lang, excited na ko na parang gusto ko na siyang isuot.
"Tapos nung nakuha ko siya a day before the ball, sobrang happy ako kasi gustung-gusto ko yung kinalabasan ng damit."
The former StarStruck 3 contender who now stars as Elizabeth, one of the antagonists in GMA-7's Kokak, said she enjoyed wearing her barong all evening.
There was only one downside, though, "Natatakot akong umupo kasi natatakot ako baka malukot.
"So, heto, tiis na lang."
Oh, the things women do for fashion!