THE economy is having a bumpy ride—and that’s no time for short-term investments in giddy wardrobe fripperies, right?

The two big happenings in fashion, as we look forward to the coming months, are a tidal shift toward minimalism and a more grown-up attitude toward glamour.

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Both of these are great news when it comes to our bankbooks because they signal a return to the building-block basics of chic.

What the buyers need, as they start to scout for designers, are clothes that send a message in strong strokes: Alejandro Godinez Jr., whose elegance focuses on the cut in the cloth—not appliquéd upon, like the 1990s spangles. He designs his own line with the pure imagery, like those stories about Arab princesses in a Japanese animation. Of course, not the pop irony of a manga cartoon.

Alejandro wants statement details that pack more punch per ounce. The classic butterfly sleeves are like a shot of single-malt Islay scotch when compared with, say, the gray draped ensemble that has survived the changes of 2009.

The roomy pants, an Arabesque-themed revival of Sex and the City, have gotten their new version. With a tighter hemline and a fresher take on color, Alejandro owns it by showing some mastery in tailored execution, utilizing varied fabrics and quilted treatments.

The eagle-eyed may recognize some of the pieces, but some bikini tops were shown as layering of pieces that could be worn with skirts and trousers.

But here, the designer gives you the first peek at the suits because they are destined to be worn on the shoreline (if you can hold that image for a second). It didn’t come as a surprise since Salvador Malto, Cebu’s pioneer of couture swimwear, mentored Godinez in fashion design.

The biggest challenge, however, was having to get creative with very specific, small areas of the body and fabric.

“My design philosophy is more on clean, fun, and functional pieces,” he ends, quite unapologetic. “Outlandish sometimes.”