Before the big show on Saturday, we take a look back at some of the underwear and denim show’s most iconic moments.
The BENCH/ underwear and denim show has been a pop culture phenomenon since the beginning of the new millennium. Nothing gets an arena filled to the brim screaming on the top of their lungs quite like their favorite celebrities strutting down the runway in nothing but their underwear. The biennial show skipped its schedule last year, but is back this weekend, bigger and better, just in time for BENCH/’s 30th anniversary. And as we celebrate this momentous milestone in the brand’s history, we take a look back at some of the underwear and denim show’s most memorable highlights.
2000: Brief Encounter
The first underwear show has the distinction of being held in two places, the first being the World Trade Center in Pasay City, and the second being the Waterfront Hotel-Lahug in Cebu City. The image of Jomari Yllana plastered on billboards in tighty whities had been seared into the public’s collective memory, and it was ready for something bigger and better: a monumental event that would soon become part of Philippine pop culture canon.
2002: One Night Only
The underwear and denim show found its new home in Araneta Coliseum, where it would be held for the next several years. The show was brought to life by fashion show director Ariel Lozada and stylist Michael Salientes. The show, of course, featured the biggest names in show business: Assunta de Rossi, Lucy Torres, and Jomari Yllana were just some of the celebrities that conquered the runway.
To say that the 2004 show was hot is, well, an understatement. It was sizzling. Understatement featured some of the sexiest models and celebrities, fit like they were ready to take on the world, replete with abs of steel and legs for days. Highlights include BENCH/ Body icons Marc Nelson, Andrew Wolfe, Diether Ocampo, Francine Prieto, and of course, the OG himself, Richard Gomez.
2006: BENCH/ Fever
The 2006 show was all about disco, baby. It was a boogie wonderland filled with disco ball galore, from its ad campaigns to the actual show. Apart from the usual suspects, a unique highlight of the night was definitely Ai Ai de las Alas strutting down the runway with a disco ball atop her head. Groovy.
The fifth iteration of the underwear and denim show saw two iconic moments. The first was designer Lesly Mobo’s collaboration with BENCH/ Body, which featured sleek and sexy black underwear with distinct waistband logos and patterns. The second was Dingdong Dantes’s debut on the BENCH/ Body stage. Preview Magazine recounts the moment: “[He] tore his trousers and revealed his tiny undies right before the, well, blackout.” You can probably still hear the screams from the arena today.
Opulence, opulence, opulence: 2010’s Uncut did not, well, cut any corners. For this year, BENCH/ collaborated with four highly reverent (and luxurious!) designers: Michael Cinco, Furne One, Ezra Santos, and Val Taguba. There were many variations of gold and silver on the stage and in the outfits, but some standouts were Karylle, Gerald Anderson, Christian Bautista, Kim Chiu, and Katrina Halili, all dripping in luxury on the BENCH/ Body stage.
2012: BENCH/ Universe
By the time 2012 rolled along, the BENCH/ underwear and denim show had gotten so hot that it could not be contained. BENCH/ Universe had the distinction of running for two nights. Yup, two nights. It saw an epic entrance by Dingdong Dantes on a boat wearing a hooded cape, and Coco Martin drawing millions of screams in the highest decibels, despite being fully clothed in a tank top and jeans, proving that being sexy doesn’t always mean showing skin.
2014: The Naked Truth
The most recent show, The Naked Truth, was nothing short of a real spectacle. The different sights and sounds of the varying segments filled the MOA Arena, as Solenn, Richard Gutierrez, Sarah Lahbati, along with the biggest stars walked down the runway. Probably drawing the most cheers and screams, however, was Tom Rodriguez pulling his briefs down the sides, leaving very little to the imagination. Our ears are still ringing from the screaming fans.