Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Guia Macapaz 

Design for Stage + Screen

Drawn to costume construction, Guia Macapaz is a Filipino-Irish costume designer and maker interested in bringing stories and ideas to life through innovative design using high-quality technical skills. As a firm believer that costume and clothing help form our identity, Guia is eager to represent different people, characters and communities authentically and beautifully in film and theatre. She has gained valuable experience in film and theatre, having worked with the NFS, and RIAM on two operas in the Samuel Beckett Theatre and the Project Arts Centre, and the Irish National Opera in The Gaiety Theatre.

Major Project: The Alchemist, Costume Design for "The Sun"

For her final major project, Guia has chosen to take the novel, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and adapt it for stage. Wanting to explore the beloved story of Santiago and his journey of self-growth and self-fulfilment, Guia decided to set her adaptation in the 16th Century during the Renaissance Period, a time of enlightenment and exploration. She chose to set it in Mindanao, Philippines as a way to maintain the religious aspects yet explore new perspectives, as well as see what the Renaissance Period would look like in Southeast Asia during a time of colonisation. However, instead of colonial rule, it would be a cultural marriage. She wanted to achieve the ‘cultural marriage’ of the two cultures by designing and creating costumes inspired by silhouettes of the Spanish Renaissance with influences from the Philippines through their textiles and prints during the 16th Century.

From Tapís to Terno, the Filipino Traditional Dress: Fashioning the Filipino Female Body and Mind from the 16th to 21st Century.

For her thesis, Guia wanted to explore the transformation of the traditional female Filipino dress and the effects of colonisation and Eurocentrism on the image and mindset of Filipino women today. The cultural changes explored in this thesis were caused by the three colonial regimes that ruled the Philippines during the 16th-20th Century: Spain (1565 to 1898), the United States (1898 to 1946) and Japan (1942 to 1945) with a focus on the Spanish and American colonisations. In order to understand the effects of colonisation on the traditional clothing of Filipino women, it is essential to examine the female traditional dress in both pre-colonial and postcolonial periods; study how cultural assimilation, cultural hybridism and colourism manipulated the mindset and sense of self of the Filipino people; and explore the consequential feelings of shame, guilt and nostalgia of being a Filipino woman today. The aim of this thesis is to not only study the transformation of the traditional clothing for women of the Philippines but to reveal the already established, strong, female Filipino identity hidden under the dress of Western ideals.