The rationalizations involve the usual palaver--how Mrs. Marcos is a fashion icon inextricably bound up with the image of the national dress, yadda yadda. The contestants, at least from the excerpts shown, respond to such invocations with proper Pavlovian drooling, especially when they are ushered into the presence of Her Deposed Highness.
For an industry often derided as vapid, frivolous and out-of-touch, this tin-eared gimmick won't dissuade anyone from embracing that bit of conventional wisdom anytime soon. Mrs. Marcos might have elevated the terno's profile in her time--a dubious proposition, given how the beautiful dress has been tarred by the association in return--but she remains, for all intents and purposes, a criminal on the loose. Why is she being fawned upon on TV?
Lest we forget, the former first lady--one-half of the most destructive leadership this country has ever known and First Cause for the shithole we've been in for nearly a lifetime now--has never apologized, repented, owned up to or expressed an iota of regret for the manifold horrors of the Marcos years. On the contrary, she has been arrogant and defiant, taunting the nation she has reduced to tatters with her fake tears, her gaudy jewels, her seamless re-admittance into the perfumed (and no less culpable) set. Bring out the terno, happy days are here again.
There is only one proper--nay, patriotic--response to such incorrigible defiance: Ostracism. Indifference. Exclusion from any decent company. Until she returns the money she owes the country and pays for her misdeeds behind bars, Mrs. Marcos deserves to be treated not with any kind of deference or obsequiousness, but only with contempt.
And let no one bleat that this isn't really about her. Fine, so Project Runway-Philippines wants to celebrate homegrown talent and creativity--and, while at it, why not a paean to a cultural staple? Natch, awezome, goshdarnit. Froth and frippery are imprudent enough given the unrelenting misery of the times; top it off by wheeling out and applauding the fashion fixations of a woman whose rapaciousness required the invention of a new adjective in the English language, and the sight becomes positively obscene.
If this witless, retrograde excuse for a TV talent show is really serious about pushing its participants to the hilt, here's a good challenge for the aspiring designers--one that marries the impulse of art with the rigors of civic duty.
Design one of two outfits for Mrs. Marcos: either a jailbird pajama (in orange, naturally, with the P in big bold print) or a terno--made of poison ivy.
Get on with it. We're waiting.