Some of the biggest names in Philippine show business gathered for the much-awaited denim and underwear fashion event of the year—Blackout: The Denim and Underwear Fashion Show—held last night, July 25, at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
Blackout became one of the few instances where talents from rival giant networks ABS-CBN and GMA-7 came together, although the Kapamilyas outnumbered the Kapusos. It also became a venue where the talents from each network were able size up their competition based on the response from the audience.
The biennial fashion event introduced the latest Bench denim and underwear collection. This year, Bench also featured the works of four Filipino artists: Abi Goy, illustrator/graphic designer; Jun de Leon, premier photographer; Raymond Red, filmmaker; and Lesley Lobo, fashion designer. Blackout, which ran for two hours, was directed by Ariel Lozada.
Understandably, the loudest cheers and applause were reserved for the male stars since most of the crowd who filled the Big Dome were women and gays. But the female stars also held their own at the ramp, along with over a hundred models clad in their skimpiest underwear.
During the earlier part of the show, a nude man behind the black silhouette was flashed on the giant screen. As the camera focused on his face, the crowd shrieked in delight when it was finally revealed that it was Kapamilya hunk Rafael Rosell with only his hands covering his private parts.
Four other hunks did the "full monty" later on the show. But the night truly belonged to some of hottest male and female stars who paraded their beauty and bodies in Bench denims and undies.
Two of GMA-7's prized leading men, Richard Gutierrez and Dingdong Dantes, proved their star power and great form when they got the night's loudest cheers from the audience. But based on what we heard and saw, Dingdong's appearance made a greater impact on the crowd; perhaps due to the fact that it was his first time to join the Bench fashion show and more so because he dropped his pants even for only a few seconds.
Not to be outdone were Kapamilya leading men Jake Cuenca, Sam Milby, and Diether Ocampo who also became instant crowd favorites. Jake and Diether gamely played to the crowd by showing a bit more of their behind.
The crowd also roared with delight upon seeing ABS-CBN stars Gerald Anderson, Kim Chiu, Enchong Dee, Zanjoe Marudo, Jon Avila, John Prats, Rayver Cruz, and PBB teen housemates Robi Domingo and Ejay Falcon.
Also getting loud applause and cheers were other ABS-CBN stars like Pinoy Big Brother ex-housemates Bruce Quebral, and Kian Kazemi; PBB teen ex-housemate Valerie Weignmann; Angelica Panganiban; Sarah Geronimo; Shaina Magdayao, Rica Peralejo; Iya Villania, Christian Bautista, Rachelle Ann Go; David Chua; and Ryan Eigenmann.
Aside from Richard and Dingdong, other Kapuso stars who joined this year's Bench's fashion show were Katrina Halili, Alessandra de Rossi, JC de Vera, sisters Ehra and Michelle Madrigal, Jay-R, Bubbles Paraiso, Margaret Wilson, Marco Alcaraz, and Francine Prieto.
The other stars who ramped on the catwalk were Carlene Aguilar, Precious Adona, Nancy Jane (formerly known as Nancy Castiglione), Jennifer Lee, and Jon Hall.
Bench favorites Jomari Yllana, Wendell Ramos, Antonio Aquitania, and John Estrada with girlfriend and former Miss Earth Priscilla Meirelles also added more glitter to the star-studded affair.
Also on the roster were some familiar faces in the world of fashion and showbiz: Brent Javier, Luke Jickain, Bench discoveries Carlo Guevara and John James Uy, Carlos Concepcion of Showboys, Janvier Daily (ex-flame of comedienne Ethel Booba), former teen actor Benj Besa, and StarStruck graduates Bugz Daigo and Chad Burden.
Bench royalty couple Richard Gomez and wife Lucy Torres-Gomez did not ramp on stage like the other celebrities. They just walked along with Bench big boss Ben Chan at the finale to join the other stars.
Conspicuously absent were Bench endorsers Piolo Pascual and John Lloyd Cruz.
As if there were not enough stars on stage, more stars were spotted by PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in the audience.
Eddie Gutierrez and wife Annabelle Rama, who came for Richard and the other talents of Annabelle who are part of the show; Richard's ex-girlfriend Anne Curtis and Georgina Wilson came together with pals Isabelle Diaz Daza (daughter of former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz), and Liz Uy (girlfriend of John Lloyd Cruz). The four gorgeous ladies were seated just a row apart from Richard's parents. After the show, we saw Anne and Georgina greet Eddie and Annabelle. Richard's twin brother Raymond Gutierrez covered the event and interviewed some celebs, including Georgina, who is in town for a vacation from her studies in Australia.
Eddie and Annabelle, who were on the front row at the center of patron section, were seated beside Dr. Vicky Belo and boyfriend Dr. Hayden Kho, Mother Lily Monteverde and daughter Roselle, PEP and YES! editor-in-chief Jo-Ann Maglipon, Tessa Prieto-Valdes and her husband, and the lady executives of GMA-7.
Kris Aquino came with husband James Yap; Karylle was also there to support boyfriend Dingdong.
We also saw Bea Alonzo; Assunta de Rossi; Niña Jose; Wendy Valdez; John "Sweet" Lapus; directors Joel Lamangan, Manny Valera, Louie Ignacio, and Ruel Bayani; talent managers Douglas Quijano, Arnold Vegafria, and Manny Valera; columnist Dolly Anne Carvajal with son IC Mendoza; and ABS-CBN executives Cory Vidanes and Deo Endrinal.
Blackout is the fourth edition of Bench's biennial denim and underwear fashion event. The first three were One Night Only (2002), Understatement (2004), and Fever (2006).
Click HERE to view photos of Bench Blackout.