The Production Designers Guild of the Philippines will undertake a restoration and preservation program of numerous costumes used in films produced by Sampaguita Pictures during the first golden era of Philippine cinema in the decade of the 1950s.
The undertaking has been approved by the Cinema Values Reorientation Program (CVRP) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
PDGP President Manny Morfe explained that the project will involve famous costumes worn by the contract actresses of Sampaguita Pictures. He added that the project will be broken down into four major stages.
Ms. Marichu Perez-Maceda, a leading proponent in uplifting the status of production designers in the film industry, had entrusted to the PDGP last June several big plastic bags of costumes. She expressed the desire to set up a place where these costumes may be exhibited or displayed.
Morfe said that with the opening of the first ever Film Museum at the Mowelfund compound in Quezon City, which was inaugurated last August 19 (Quezon Day), the PDGP might seek the help of Mowelfund Executive Director Boots Anson-Roa to provide a room or a venue for the said costumes.
The PDGP members actually started checking and assessing the costumes turned over to them and found out that most of the costumes need cleaning, overhauling and repair.
Morfe said that the costumes may be exhibited and can also be available for research purposes and for use in future period film projects.
The designers guild will undertake four stages to restore and preserve the Sampaguita Pictures costumes. The first stage involves sorting of the costumes which are contained in big plastic bags to check on their present condition. Most of the costumes had been stored for a long time, Morfe explained. The costumes which are still usable and repairable will be segregated from those which have to be discarded.
The selected costumes will then cleaned by dry cleaning or the handwash process. The PDGP panel will then assess further whether the cleaned costumes still need repair in terms of fabric used or if there is a need to restore embellishments. Morfe said that if they assess a particular costume as of great importance in terms of unique pattern and design or if it was used in a classic film, restoration or reproduction will need the supervision of a skillful fashion designer.
With the help of Sampaguita Pictures representatives, the costumes will then undergo identification and documentation, providing information on who wore it in what film, the production designer involved in the film and the year it was produced and shown.
During the four major stages, several sewing machines, steam and ordinary irons will be needed, as well as hangers, clothes racks, body forms and others. These tools and gadgets will then be utilized by the PDGP in their future film projects, especially projects which will involve elaborate costume designs like historical, Biblical and fantasy films.
Morfe said that the PDGP will be hiring in-house designers, seamstresses, laundry people, beaders and other technicians or workers whose expertise would be indispensable to this project.
He said that they need a work place where all these various activities will be undertaken for closer supervision by the PDGP officers.