Art in fashion

Young Filipina designer lone PH rep at Fashion Week San Diego

Rising designer Bea Cruz is making a name for her bold choices and fearless style that she breathes into her creations. 

FEMME FATALE. Bea Cruz’ luxe chiffon dress look inspired by David Bowers’ contemporary painting,  ‘Lisa The Shield Maiden’ (2019), showcases a fearless female fighter empowered by her armor.
Cruz, a fashion design graduate from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, believes that clothes create a sense of confidence and empowerment; that it it’s the modern-day armor of every brave person. 

This is exactly what she exhibits in her entry in Fashion Week San Diego’s (FWSD) special online exhibition, The Art and Beauty Behind Fashion, that features promising designers and their original couture look inspired by contemporary artworks mounted at the Art Renewal Center. 

FWSD is the longest-running, traditional fashion week that puts the spotlight on emerging fashion designers from around the world and San Diego, California. The Art and Beauty Behind Fashion is part of the 14th International Virtual Art Renewal Center (ARC) Salon Exhibition, the largest realism art competition that gathers thousands of contemporary artists from around the world. The tilt is hosted by Sotheby’s New York in partnership with ARC.

As the lone representative from the Philippines, and also the youngest participant in the prestigious competition, Cruz drew inspiration from “Lisa the Shield Maiden” (2019), an oil painting by American contemporary painter David Bowers.

“We live in this gender norm reality where it is completely unsafe and unjustified to be a woman,” Cruz wrote in a post on her Facebook page. “This is why the art piece, ‘Lisa The Shield Maiden’ by David Bowers inspired me the most.”

She added, “The artwork inspired me to show what it feels like to be a strong woman living in a prejudiced gender-norm reality.”

Her creation is composed of a luxe chiffon dress matched with handcrafted accessories reminiscent of the classic chainmail body and neck armor made with beads, chains, and metal scraps.

“This is my dedication to the women of today,” enthuses the young designer from Victorias City, Negros Occidental. “I believe that every woman is an empowered and fearless fighter and that clothing creates a sense of confidence that is the modern-day armor of every individual.” 

The two-tone piña silk ensemble (left) young designer Bea Cruz (right) will present at Fashion Week San Diego in October. 
According to Cruz, the three-piece look can be also worn separately.

The ARC Salon debut gave Cruz the opportunity to present a new collection in the fall runway of Fashion Week San Diego scheduled this October in California, where she is set to launch sophisticated two-tone piña silk ensembles that seamlessly blend the traditional silhouettes of the 1940s and 1950s Philippine fashion with the 21st century sultry elegance.

While excited, she admits that it is “intimidating to be the youngest designer in an unfamiliar crowd and environment.”

“However, it has been my dream to unveil my art and debut my brand internationally. So I took the leap and went for it. I always have an eye for going bold and daring, not just with fashion pieces but for my goals in life as well.”

The Art & Beauty Behind Fashion online exhibition is available on view until July 31 at

Topics: Bea Cruz , David Bowers , Art , Fashion , Art & Beauty Behind Fashion online exhibition , Fashion Week San Diego
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