Futuristic is the theme of the Bench Denim and Underwear Fashion Show this year. Titled Uncut: A Bold Look at the Future, this much-anticipated fashion event of the year was held last night, July 2, at the Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon City.
Bench, which celebrates its 23rd anniversary this 2010, is already gearing up for 2020. It aims to introduce the brand to a broader demographic and on a more global scale.
Uncut is divided into five segments featuring the exquisite cultures of five different countries/continents: Philippines, Far East, Brazil, Africa and Russia. Each segment features a top fashion designer who created the costumes of the models and celebrities participating in the fashion show. They are Cary Santiago (Pinoy Lab), Furne One (Far East), Val Taguba (Brazil), Ezra Santos (Africa), and Michael Cinco (Russia).
But, of course, the main attraction of the night were the celebrities who walked down the ramp wearing almost nothing.
PINOY LAB. The Pinoy Lab segment opened the fashion show with matinee idol Dingdong Dantes waving the Philippine flag. Dingdong, who stripped to his underwear in the Bench Blackout fashion show two years ago, was very much covered this time. But that was enough to excite the fans inside the Big Dome and set the tone for the evening.
Aside from Dingdong, the other celebrities who walked down the ramp during the Pinoy Lab segment were Pinoy Big Brother Double Up ex-housemates Sam Pinto and Tom Rodriguez; Are You The Next Big Star? runner-up and commercial model Alex Castro; model-actor Joseph Marco; and Star Magic talent Rodjun Cruz.
Kapuso star Kris Bernal was joined by Kapamilya talents John Prats and Sam Concepcion; ABS-CBN drama actors Coco Martin and Diether Ocampo sent the crowd into hysterics by their mere presence.
FAR EAST. Part 2 was the Far East segment with China's top male model Ji Huan Bo leading the pack.
He was soon followed by hunks Ron Morales, John James Uy, Jon Avila, John Hall and Andrew Wolff; singers Karylle and Christian Bautista; StarStruck graduates Paulo Avelino, Steven Silva, Sarah Lahbati, Enzo Pineda, Diva Montelaba and Rocco Nacino; Survivor Philippines castaways Shaun Rodriguez and Suzuki Sadatsugu; actor AJ Dee; teen heartthrobs Robi Domingo and David Chua; sexy stars Iwa Moto, Iya Villania and Zanjoe Marudo.
The love team of Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson, wearing elaborate costumes, closed the segment.
BRAZIL. The show reached its peak during the Brazil segment.
Kapuso sexy actress Katrina Halili, who was gratifyingly well-received by the crowd inside the Big Dome, was the first celebrity to appear.
She was immediately followed by Be Bench winner Carl Guevara; Eurasian model Benjamin Tang; returnees Rafael Rosell and Andrew Wolff; Wowowee girls RR Enriquez, Saicy Aguila, and April "Congratulations" Gustilo.
Wendell Ramos remains one of the biggest attractions in the Bench fashion shows. The 31-year-old actor wore the skimpiest underwear among all the celebrities last night, showing his flawless buttocks to the delight of the crowd.
Comedienne Pokwang almost stole the show with her grand entrance. Wearing a feathery gown which covered almost all parts of her body, the Wowowee co-host passed through a sea of almost naked gorgeous Caucasian models lying on the floor on her way down to the ramp.
Pokwang was followed by Kapuso actress Carla Abellana and Kapamilya heartthrob Enchong Dee.
AFRICA. The next segment was Africa, where a line of naked men paraded on stage.
Joining in this part of the fashion show were beauty queen-actress Margaret Wilson, comebacking actor Railey Valeroso, Prince of R&B Jay-R, actor-model Victor Aliwalas, young comedian Thou Reyes, and actor-singer Nico Antonio.
One of the highlights of this segment was the appearance of the PBB Double Up Big 5 housemates: Paul Jake Castillo, Johan Santos, Tibo Jumalon, and the funny couple Jason Francisco and Melai Cantiveros.
Kapuso hunk Aljur Abrenica, on his first appearance as a Bench model, made the finale of this segment.
RUSSIA. The last part was the Russia segment.
Print and commercial model Georgina Wilson came out in a Cinderella-like carriage with male models in their undies escorting her on her way down.
Gerald Anderson and Enchong Dee both returned in this segment, as well as Jon Avila, Rafael Rosell and Andrew Wolff. The other celebrities who appeared on this segment were TV5 hunk JC de Vera; Are You The Next Big Star? winners Frencheska Farr and Geoff Taylor; StarStruck's Prince Stefan and Dex Quindoza; and Kapamilya young stars Ejay Falcon, Rayver Cruz, and Shaina Magdayao.
Jake Cuenca, one of ABS-CBN's top leading men, did the finale. He entered the stage with a crown and a massive blue robe like a Russian czar, carried aloft by a group of male models. Then a female model helped him remove his crown and robe, revealing Jake in his almost-naked glory.
But Jake was not yet finished. He walked back to the far end of the stage, turned his back, took off his white brief, until only a supporter was left to cover his private parts. That certainly brought the house down.
Each segment was incorporated with elaborate musical numbers to show the history and culture of the featured countries. Marc Abaya, Vina Morales and Robert Seña provided the song numbers while the L.A. Dancers and local dance groups took care of the dance numbers.
After this, all the models, performers and celebrities returned to the stage for the curtain call. The five fashion designers and Bench big boss Ben Chan also took the stage to be acknowledged.
Uncut was directed by Johnny Manahan, with Robbie Carmona as the fashion and stage director, and Joane Laygo as choreographer.
TILI METER. One of the most interesting parts in a Bench fashion show is finding out which stars would get the loudest cheers and applause from the audience. This also becomes a useful tool to gauge how popular or hot a celebrity is.
The response of the crowd also depends on the gimmick that a celebrity does onstage to get attention, like touching their crotch, showing their butt, etc., and we saw some of these moments last night. But in most cases, star power was enough to elicit a response from the audience.
Based on last night's Uncut, it was quite obvious that Kapamilya stars were more popular than their Kapuso counterparts—at least to the people who trooped to the Big Dome. And maybe because there were more Kapamilya stars than Kapuso stars who participated in the fashion show.
The ABS-CBN stars who elicited the loudest cheers were Coco Martin, Diether Ocampo, Zanjoe Marudo, Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Rafael Rosell (by doing a back flip and putting his hand inside his underwear), Pokwang, Enchong Dee, Jason Francisco and Melai Cantiveros and, of course, Jake Cuenca.
On the other hand, Dingdong Dantes was the top crowd-drawer among the Kapuso stars. Wendell Ramos and Aljur Abrenica also got overwhelming response from the people. The Araneta crowd also gave Katrina Halili, she of the sex-video controversy, a very warm reception.
As for the others, either the background music was just too loud for the cheers to be heard or they simply went unnoticed.
STARS IN THE CROWD. The number of stars who walked down the ramp almost equaled the number of celebrities who watched the fashion show inside the Big Dome.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) spotted the following: Richard Gomez and wife Rep. Lucy Torres and her family, Anne Curtis with boyfriend Erwan Heussaff, Jomari Yllana, Maricar Reyes, Chynna Ortaleza, Bing Loyzaga, Pooh, Borgy Manotoc, Isabelle Daza with her foreigner boyfriend, Annabelle Rama and son Raymond Gutierrez, Bettina Carlos, JM Rodriguez, Carlo Concepcion, Tim Yap, Rajo Laurel, and Tessa Prieto-Valdes.
We also saw ABS-CBN executives Cory Vidanes and Deo Endrinal; Star Magic's Mariole Alberto; GMA-7 executives Wilma Galvante, Marivin Arayata, Lilybeth Rasonable, Ida Henares, Bang Arespacochaga and Joey Abacan; Regal's Mother Lily Monteverde and daughter Roselle Monteverde-Teo; talent managers Wyngard Tracy, Manny Valera and Perry Lansigan; and directors Joel Lamangan and Mark Reyes.