There are more than twenty dolls representing Asia in the “Barbie Collector Dolls of The World” line, and the 2013 Philippines Barbie Doll is the first ever to represent our nation. (There are other special editions from previous years that are very difficult to find for sale these days.)
This “Maria Clara” style dress takes its name from a prominent character in a novel written by Filipino national hero Jose Rizal. Surely, you have heard of Ibarra’s muse in Noli Me Tangere?
A modern take on the country’s traditional “Maria Clara” gown, this attire showcases alternating gold and black panels on the floor-length skirt as well as beautiful lace details on the overshirt.
It is slightly modified from the classic Maria Clara ensemble, which comprises four pieces:
1. The camisa is a collarless chemise whose hem is at the waist, and is made from flimsy, translucent fabrics such as pineapple fiber and jusi. The sleeves of the camisa are similar to the so-called “angel wings”, or shaped like bells that have cuffs.
2. The pañuelo (“scarf”) is a stiff covering for the neck, which acts as an accent piece because of embellishments added to it. The purpose of the pañuelo is related to modesty, used to cover the low-necked camisa’.
3. The saya is a skirt that begins from the waist reaching the floor. These are usually comprised either of single or double sheets, called “panels” or dos panos (literally “two panels/layers”).
4. The tapis is a knee-length over-skirt that hugs the hips. Tapis designs may be plain, and is usually made of opaque fabrics such as muslin and the madras cloth, and also is used for the purposes of modesty as it keeps the lower torso from showing due to the flimsiness of the saya.