Mallgoers will have the rare opportunity to view the visionary work of National Artist Salvacion Lim "Slim" Higgins in the upcoming exhibit at SM Aura Premier from September 5 to 14.

National Artist for Design Salvacion Lim Higgins photographed in 1983.
National Artist for Design Salvacion Lim Higgins photographed in 1983.

Frosted pleated gazar ball gown with lace overskirt. The cape forms part of the skirt. Created for Diana Jean Lopez in 1959. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/VELUZ STUDIO
Frosted pleated gazar ball gown with lace overskirt. The cape forms part of the skirt. Created for Diana Jean Lopez in 1959. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/VELUZ STUDIO

The exhibition, Salvacion Lim Higgins: National Artist for Design, celebrates the preeminent designer's creative genius that has revolutionized — and continues to influence — Philippine fashion.

Last June, Slim was honored as a National Artist in the Design category. The Order of National Artists Award is the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts and letters. She is the only Filipino designer with gowns in the archives of both the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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Exhibition visitors can look forward to a stunning selection of dresses and photos from a career spanning more than four decades. These are exquisite gowns and ternos worn by the fashion icons of their time such as Edith Nakpil Rabat, Chona Recto Kasten, Lily de las Alas Padilla, and Diana Jean Lopez in breathtaking black and white photographs.

The exhibition, which also includes her timeless gowns and dresses, showcases Slim's enduring signature style — intriguing silhouettes, groundbreaking design, and exquisite technique.

Rayon gazar terno with gazar and velvet appliqués, created for Adelaida Salcedo Gomez in 1952. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ NEAL OSHIMA
Rayon gazar terno with gazar and velvet appliqués, created for Adelaida Salcedo Gomez in 1952. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ NEAL OSHIMA

Embroidered jusi terno created for first daughter Linda Garcia Campos in 1957. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/NEAL OSHIMA
Embroidered jusi terno created for first daughter Linda Garcia Campos in 1957. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/NEAL OSHIMA

Slim was born in Legaspi, Albay in 1920. She studied Fine Arts in the University of Santo Tomas under National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco, but never finished her studies due to the outbreak of World War 2.

In 1947, she opened the Slim's atelier, and in 1960 founded Slim's Fashion and Arts School with her sister Purificacion Lim, which is today headed by Mark Higgins as Director.

As the oldest fashion institution in the country, it has mentored designers all over the Philippines, including fashion luminaries Oskar Peralta, Joe Salazar, Cesar Gaupo, Oliver Tolentino, Albert Andrada, Joey Samson, Martin Bautista and Michael Cinco.