‘PASSIONistas': Behind-the-Seams

Hello, September! Before we jump straight into the final quarter of the year and all the design work that lies ahead, I thought I’d share a look at the coming together of the series, ‘PASSIONistas’. What initially started out as a casual idea of ‘maybe we should show the other sides of the women in fashion’ turned into a mini passion-project (of sorts).

I’ve always been attracted to the idea of fashion as a fun, creative, nurturing community. This is one of the reasons it’s been so enjoyable joining forces with wonderful people whom I’ve worked with in the past, getting to know each other a little better, sharing our talents, and creating something that shows that it’s in fashion to allow our passions to show through.

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*Many thanks again to all these amazing women: Lou, Angel, Michelle, Marina/ Maws, Chinky, Aimee, Iya (and to Ito for the photography) :-)

Timeless Appeal

An independent spirit, an individual point of view and a straightforward approach are some of the most striking qualities that never go out of style. Whether in fashion or in life, the Filipina today knows when to experiment and when to go for what lasts. Not one to be swayed by every passing trend, she is a classic with a twist, continually evolving but with a clarity of vision that keeps her forever timeless.

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Jusi barong long tunic with patchwork bib : Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Marina Benipayo/ Make-up: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

PASSIONista: Marina Benipayo

There are more sides to fashion, and many, many more sides to the people in fashion, than meet the collective eye. Beyond the shows and catwalks, we discover people with a myriad of interests and dreams who aren’t just fashionistas, they’re passion-istas.

When it comes to larger-than-life personas on the runway, Marina Benipayo works it like few models can. A longtime fashion show favorite, she is as down-to-earth and hilarious off the catwalk as she is poised and glamorous on. But her true passion these days (aside from her family) lies in acting, and with her bottomless reserve of real life experiences that are as dramatic/action packed/romantic/comedic as anything on screen, there is never a dull moment with her around. From one theatrical flourish to the next, Marina makes it all look fabulously effortless.

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DSC_4030Black basket weave top & silk chiffon skirt, nude lace & salmon jersey ‘Maria Clara’ gown: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Marina Benipayo/ Make-up: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

The Feminine Touch

There are moments when every woman wants to feel unapologetically, unironically, unabashedly feminine–when we simply want to revel in being who we are. The Filipina today moves through life by stepping forward with feline grace and faces life with an eye towards beauty. This has less to do with vanity and more to do with finding our inner balance and allowing it to shine through.

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DSC_3742Modern Filipiniana white lace gown, lace choker, lace pañuelo: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Michelle Panemanglor/ Hair & makeup: Aimee Guerrero/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

PASSIONista: Michelle Panemanglor

There are more sides to fashion, and many, many more sides to the people in fashion, than meet the collective eye. Beyond the shows and catwalks, we discover people with a myriad of interests and dreams who aren’t just fashionistas, they’re passion-istas.

When not glamming it up in front of the camera or gliding down a runway, Michelle Panemanglor is poised, not just for a photo shoot, but to take on the family business in pharmaceuticals. While nothing could be further from fashion, it was a pleasant surprise to learn about her admiration for her father’s vision to make  affordable, generic medication more readily available to Filipinos (who can argue with that?). Whether in fashion or healthcare, it’s obvious that this Supermodel is more than ready to strut her stuff.

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Beaded black lace & dove gray ‘pañuelo’ gown: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Michelle Panemanglor/ Hair & makeup: Aimee Guerrero/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

Strength in Softness

It’s no longer just a man’s world and there is something powerful about fluidity and grace and the strength found in our softer side. It’s sensuality without the brashness, presence without the loudness, and fierceness without the harsh exterior. The Filipina today celebrates her femininity, embraces her innate strength, revels in her freedom, and moves fashion forward by being comfortable in her own skin.

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Cream scarf column gown: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Angel Agustin/ Hair & makeup: Chinky Tanjangco/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

PASSIONista: Angel Agustin

There are more sides to fashion, and many, many more sides to the people in fashion, than meet the collective eye. Beyond the shows and catwalks, we discover people with a myriad of interests and dreams who aren’t just fashionistas, they’re passion-istas.

Professional Model’s Association of the Philippines (PMAP) President, runway fixture and model mother, Angel Agustin, has always been a joy to do fashion shows with, but did you know that on top of that graceful walk is a head for investments? Taking care of the future is something she has always been passionate about (she’s also a certified nurse and is currently a senior unit head at investment firm AXA–whew, talk about super-hyphenated!) so there’s no doubt that she holds her head high in fashion for reasons well beyond the catwalk.

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Lace gown with piña barong bib, metallic ‘Maria Clara’ camisa jacket & wide-legged pants: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Angel Agustin/ Hair & make-up: Chinky Tanjangco/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

Keeping It Cool

It’s a new time, and the Millenial Filipina (as well as the Modern Filipiniana) is exhibiting a new attitude–unfussy, unstructured and downright cool. She’s ecologically conscious, while still keeping her fashion edge. She understands that fashion-forward style and beauty are about working with elements from the past, stripping away the inessentials, and fashioning it together in a way that is completely now.

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Mélange piña, jusi & natural fibers barong dress: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Lou Muñoz/ Hair & make-up: Maws Diaz/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

PASSIONista: Lou Muñoz

There are more sides to fashion, and many, many more sides to the people in fashion, than meet the collective eye. Beyond the shows and catwalks, we discover people with a myriad of interests and dreams who aren’t just fashionistas, they’re passion-istas.

One of the models I enjoyed working with in the past is Lou Muñoz because she always felt like more than a pretty face. Looking at her, who would ever think that her passion was food? Debunking the typical myth that models don’t eat, Lou has loved cooking and preparing all kinds of dishes since she was a child and has recently also learned how to bake. So, what’s cooking next for Lou? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. In fashion, and in food, it’s always great to add something new to the mix.

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Salmon & strawberry gown: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Lou Muñoz/ Hair & make-up: Maws Diaz/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

Just Add Water!

It’s the beginning of the week and a stormy and very, very wet Monday. This morning was kick started with a super early morning workout and breakfast topped off with a strong espresso–needless to say, I had more than a little extra energy to burn today.

After working on some new ‘Modern Filipiniana’ designs for a couple of clients, I was left to while away an entire rainy afternoon and I thought, there’s water everywhere, why not add some to my fashion sketches. I had recently been inspired by all the amazing watercolor artwork of my good friend, Cynthia, so I dug up my watercolor sable brushes (from college!) and tried my hand at my first watercolor & pencil fashion sketch.

photo(1)First a quick pencil outline…

Here’s a short clip painting in the details–it’s funny, I hold the brush like a pencil!

photo 2The sketch is based on my piña silk barong tunic with lace bib design (& model Daniela Kocianova)

It was so much fun, I think I’ll try to make time to do it more often :-)

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