Be a Little MaArte

It’s been a while since my last post (over four months!), and summer has come and gone. But even with the rainy season here, I’m always in a sunny state of mind as far as my fashion designing is concerned :-) So apart from being kept busy with design work in my drawing room–and taking time over the summer to explore some of our beautiful islands (which I will post about next time)–immersing myself in our local crafts and culture has been something I’ve been enjoying lately.

Which is why, when I was invited once again to a sneak peak of this year’s upcoming MaArte Fair, I was only too happy to indulge in an afternoon of previewing artisanal pieces from one of the best, most prominent craft fairs in the country. Currently on its 8th year, the MaArte Fair is a fundraiser for the National Museum organized by the Museum Foundation of the Philippines. Headed by Maritess Pineda, the MaArte Fair aims to not only raise funds, but more importantly, to raise and evolve the Filipino craftsman–and, not to mention of course, raise the bar for the discerning shopper.

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As a fashion designer, I know only too well how important developing and elevating our local crafts are to the fashion industry. The cultural heritage and painstaking handwork that go into our crafts, combined with our savvy design sense, are what elevate and differentiate our products from the flood of run-of-the-mill, mass produced items.

With this in mind, I happily made a mental list of all the cool, drool-worthy pieces that caught my eye, telling myself it wouldn’t really be considered shopping, it would be considered preserving our culture and helping maintain the National Museum–natch! ;-) I’m sharing just a few of the items on my wish-list with you, although I’m pretty sure that with 70 retailers joining the fair, everyone will be spoiled for choice…

L1040404Dreamy watercolor artwork from Baguio digitally printed onto 600 thread count sheets by Tara Designs ( I think I’d be tempted to turn these sheets into a lovely dress!)

L1040407Gabby Sarenas tells stories beautifully by craftily embroidering local folklore onto the piña sleeves and panels of her wearable pieces

L1040422Textures abound and contrast wonderfully with the structured tailoring of this sleeveless duster coat by Joel Escober

L1040425Vivid colors and patterns inspired by the vintas above the ocean and the vistas beneath it are found in Ken Samudio’s gorgeous accessories

L1040421Graphic renditions of the traditional Maskara are hand-carved and hand-painted into hip, cool & very chic minaudiéres by Joanique

L1040419Originally from Mangyan basket designs, these wonderfully patterned bags and accessories by prolific designer Zarah Juan are on my personal wish-list :-)

L1040412This amazingly intricate Tboli hand-embroidered jacket by Filip + Inna is one of my favorites (imagine it with faded jeans!), especially when combined with this beaded leather bag by Rhett Eala & Zarah Juan. Winner combo!

Have you been to past years’ MaArte Fairs? What were some of your finds? Let me know what you think of my picks :-)

*By the way, this year’s MaArte Fair will be from August 26-28, at 8 Rockwell Penthouse

Just Chill (No Freon Required)

There’s no doubt about it, summer is definitely upon us! I’ve found that the past few months were the perfect time to cool our heels, but as temperatures rise (and the globe warms) it’s time for fashion that moves and breathes, and allows us to feel as cool as we look.

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Modern Filipiniana piña, jusi & lace patchwork bib, jersey lounge pants, Japanese cotton patchwork print jacket & cullottes: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Anja-Vanessa Peter/ Hair & makeup: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

K.I.S.S. (Keeping It Sleek & Stylish)

In a world seemingly obsessed with ‘peacocking’, sometimes the best way to stand out is to keep things uncluttered and streamlined. Simplicity has always been part of the Filipina’s DNA, but the modern Filipina carries it with sleek, stylish, and highly-polished aplomb. She intuitively understands that superfluous excess is often not necessary in order to make a striking, lasting statement.

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Beaded nude lace gown & black jersey ‘barong’ gown with piña bib: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez/ Makeup: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

PASSIONista: Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez

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.

If there’s a model who’s done it all, it would be Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez. From when she started as an ingénue model, to product endorser, to actress, to designer, and most recently, to Project Runway Philippines’ unflappable host, she’s remained a force in fashion. To top it off, she’s a wife and a mother to a beautiful brood that’s ready to join her–if they can be cajoled–on Manila’s runways. So what’s left for a Superwoman to do? Apparently, if you’re Tweetie, a lot more as she plans to further hone her passion for accessory/industrial design and add yet another feather to her (very fashionable) cap.

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Dove gray caped jersey gown: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez/ Makeup: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

The Beauty of Deconstruction

As the Filipina fashions her future, she knows that the only permanent thing is change. With every cycle comes a dissolution of the one before it, leading to the birth of something new–it’s all about progressing ourselves and our style. As tattered, frayed and unfinished elements gain the fashion spotlight, imperfect becomes the new perfect, and deconstruction is celebrated as part of the transient nature of our constant evolution.

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Tattered French lace and patchwork tulle dress: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Ria Bolivar/ Make-up: Aimee Guerrero/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

PASSIONista: Ria Bolivar

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.

From the moment she opened her first runway show in Manila, Ria Bolivar’s career has been on an upswing. Yet beyond relentlessly ‘working it’ in onstage and in front of the camera, she keeps a beautiful balance by taking time to pursue other things. From learning to ride waves, to hiking trails, to regularly practicing yoga, she merges her passions and infuses what she does in fashion with what she does outside of it. No matter what she does, there’s no stopping her from fiercely taking things to the next level.

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Brocade terno coat/dress, bustier with copper wire & printed palazzo pants: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Ria Bolivar/ Make-up: Aimee Guerrero/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

Festival Style

Taking it from the fiesta to a new kind of global festival, the Filipina of today rocks any style…and the only fashion dictates she follows are her own. Spirited, and with the confidence to know that some rules are meant to be broken, she mixes high-and-low, new-and-vintage, couture-and-street. Because she understands that when it comes to fashion, it’s less about impressing others and more about expressing yourself.DSC_4223

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Lilac lace mini ‘terno’ with zipper details: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Valerie de los Santos/ Make-up: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

PASSIONista: Valerie de los Santos

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.

Modeling since her college days, it seems Valerie de los Santos was made for fashion–and with her long limbs and long tresses it would appear that even her genes agree. Often surrounded by a high-profile fashion and beauty industry, it isn’t immediately apparent that her long-time passion has always been music. From obscure tunes to foreign beats, music has always fueled everything she’s done, so as she strides forward in future endeavors and finds her own rhythm, I have a feeling we can all look forward to hearing a lot more from her.

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White lace with black accent “Maria Clara” gown: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Valerie de los Santos/ Make-up: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

‘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

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