Salvacion Lim Higgins - National Artist for Fashion

Salvacion Lim Higgins has left perhaps one the greatest imprints on Philippine Fashion History.  This is not only because of her distinct body of work of more than four decades, but also because of the school that she co-founded in 1960, which has mentored generations of Filipino designers and continues to do so to this day. Slim’s Fashion & Arts School, now the oldest fashion institution in the country, is the most technical and in-depth fashion school in the country. In its 62-year history, it has educated tens of thousands of designers all over the Philippines. Notable alumni from each decade include Oskar Peralta, Joe Salazar, Cesar Gaupo, Oliver Tolentino, Albert Andrada, Joey Samson, Martin Bautista and Michael Cinco.

Known for her distinct, avant-garde style, a Slim’s gown had several characteristics: Because of her background in Fine Arts, her color palettes and textural combinations were unique and unexpected. She was also technically proficient and substantially knowledgeable about textiles, so her architectural constructions were expertly and often elaborately executed. She applied extravagant silhouettes and aesthetics to her creations, elevating even the terno into an haute couture garment. Being female herself, her creations were not only particularly flattering to women, they were also as comfortable as possible. Her designs were also highly refined in their ‘editing’. 

Her body of work has been documented in the coffee table book published in 2009 entitled “SLIM: Salvacion Lim Higgins – Philippine Haute Couture 1947-1990”. She is also the only Filipino designer who has gowns in the archives of both the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

In June 2022, she was proclaimed a National Artist in the category of Design. The Order of National Artists Award (Orden ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) is the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts and letters. Today, the school continues to uphold the techniques, design principles, and the revolutionary vision of Salvacion Lim Higgins through our specialized online courses and modules conducted by highly trained experts.

On behalf of the revolutionary designer, her son Mark Lewis Lim Higgins accepted the Award for National Artist presented by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Also in attendance to witness the acceptance ceremony was SLIM’S instructors Milka Quin and Li-J Eleazar, administrator Chit Nocom, and Slim’s closest friend Joan Elizabeth Taylor.



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