This elegant ensemble is inspired by the 1930s era of the baro’t saya. This era’s saya had a train called saya de cola. The train was usually the length of the entire skirt. We trimmed it down, and tightened it up the vertical silhouette, without losing the romantic nostalgia of a beautiful era of Filipiniana fashion.
The High Neck Pleat Front Camisa is made from silk organza. The Saya de Cola is made from duchess satin. This ensemble features Alaga at Sining’s stunning hand-manipulated, machine-embroidered design of Banaba flowers, on the front bodice, and the sleeves. The skirt train, or cola, has embroidered silk organza appliqués of the same Banaba flower motif, attached by hand.
Banaba, or Lagerstroemia speciosa, is a tree native to tropical Southeast Asia. It belongs to the genus Lagerstroemia, also known as Crape Myrtle. The tree is widely distributed in India, Malaysia, and the Philippines, where it's known as Jarul, Pride of India, or Giant Crape Myrtle.
It flowers during the summer months, producing showy purple to pink blooms. Each flower has six, paper-thin, crinkled petals surrounding a mass of yellow stamens. The flowers are pollinated by bees and develop into ovoid fruits. When mature, the fruit splits into six parts, releasing winged seeds that are dispersed by the wind.
Aside from its ornamental value, the Banaba is also well-known in Philippine traditional medicine. Its leaves, bark, and dried fruit are used to treat kidney ailments and digestion issues. Its leaves have been used to treat diabetes in folk medicine for centuries. In addition to their anti-diabetic properties, banaba leaves are a powerful antioxidant and offer other health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, and weight loss support.
Banaba Flower 1: By Marvin Bikolano, Link
Banaba Flower 2: By Jan Smith, Link