The Royal Southeast Asian Tour of September 2012 sees Kate Middleton wearing colourful Asian-inspired gowns, and one of these is clearly a Maria Clara type gown that is a traditional dress in the Philippines.
The Maria Clara dress is usually made of flimsy, translucent fabrics like Pineapple fibers and jusi. Imelda Marcos, former First Lady of the Philippines owns several Maria Clara gowns.
Kate Middleton’s gown is a modern adaptation of the Maria Clara gown. Southeast Asian ladies will be delighted to see such a gown worn by the Royal Princess.
Canadians may wonder who Maria Clara is. Maria Clara de los Santos is the childhood sweetheart of the main character in the historic Filipino novel by Jose Rizal called “Noli Me Tangere”. She is the illegitimate daughter of the Spanish priest Father Damaso with a native Filipina. Maria Clara later became the name for the Philippine’s national dress women called the Maria Clara gown, which symbolizes a maiden who is delicate, feminine, self assured and with a clear sense of identity.
Designed by British designer Alexander McQueen for Kate Middleton’s 2012 Southeast Asian tour, it is criticized by some westerners as “Halloween type” or “too Bollywood”.