EXHIBITIONS | SLIM (Salvacíon Lim Higgins) :: Philippine Haute Couture ::: 1947-90



There we were, flopped out on Boracay, reading the newspapers from Manila, when I came across an interesting acronym: SLIM.

Now, if you know the Philippines, you know of the Filipino national obsession with acronyms. (Librarians and Pinoys can argue about who likes condensing things more.)

Slim was the name Salvacíon Lim Higgins chose for herself when she entered the game of high fashion in post-WWII Manila.

She rose quickly, attracting high profile clients (patrons, really), and the attention of society page editors.

She had an amazing four-decade-long career and deserves to be more widely known. This is my tribute to her genius.

When I saw the photographs of Slim’s work in the Manila newspaper, I thought to myself, now that’s a terno. I had to photograph it for posterity (photo number 2, above).

When we got to Manila the following week, we went to the National Museum and took in the exhibit.

I was impressed. The museum staff had done a superb job of organizing the haute couture dresses, a video of ’50s catwalk shows of Slim’s work, and miscellaneous other bits of this amazing artist’s oeuvre into a comprehensive tour of Slim’s life.

The exhibit’s typography was especially outstanding and tied in nicely with the massive accompanying volume, SLIM (the book). Well done!




I’d never heard of Salvacíon Lim Higgins before. Now I know.

For a brief, shining moment in the the middle of the twentieth century, the Philippines was the centre of the Asian universe. And Slim played a role in dressing the elites of the era in amazing creations.

Haute couture is literally “elegant sewing.” Now, I don’t know much about the floating world of fashion, but I do know what I like. And this is it! In the early part of her career, Salvacíon Lim Higgins saw the future and expressed it in her captivating couture.

If you’re in Manila and interested in the many aspects of design, you owe it to yourself to get down to the National Museum before this show ends.

And, the accompanying book gets my vote for the “Best Coffee Table Book of the Year” award. But that’s another post.

P.S. Wikipedia needs an entry on this amazing woman and her life! Any takers?




Click on the screenshot below to access StyleBible’s video of the opening (there’s lots more information about the woman and the exhibit @ stylebible.ph):





SLIM: Salvacíon Lim Higgins
Philippine Haute Couture 1947-1990

· 48 original gowns spanning four decades
· Archival magazines, sketches and press articles from the 1940s to the 1990s
· Vintage embroidery studies & designs
· Recently restored fashion show footage from 1950s to 1990
· Sketches from some of Slim’s Fashion & Arts School’s alumni

Retrospective Exhibition:
November 25, 2009 to March 31, 2010
East Wing, 4th Floor
Museum of the Filipino People
National Museum of the Philippines
Teodora-Valencia Circle, Rizal Park, Manila

Museum Hours:
10:00 – 16:30 (exhibits open daily except Mondays and Tuesdays)
Entrance Fees:
Adults – P100 each
Students – P30 each upon presentation of ID
(For students enrolled in Philippine Schools only)
Free Admission:
Every Sunday (walk-ins only; no group tours)




more info:



About this entry