Framed Transparencies, Veiled Motives: Marian Roces’ Sheer Realities

Par Patacsil



The first image one beholds in Marian Roces’ exhibit of 19th-century Filipino clothing is a portrait by Simon Flores of a preening lady posing beside her bureau mirror. The work could well have been part of the Metropolitan Museum’s adjacent presentation of coeval Filipino tipos del pais, yet similarities between the two exhibits ended with the curator’s frontispiece. Upon leaving Flores’ woman to her mirror, one is soon enjoined to shed the notion of clothing as being mere accoutrements of female display and propriety. Entitled Sheer Realities, Roces’ sartorial recollection aimed to reveal the role dress played in informing social identity, ascendancy, and legitimacy in the Philippines of the 19th century.

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ISSN: 2012-0788