Category Archives: The Tippi Point

Through the Looking Glass…

…and into a different era, traipsing through wonderland, and losing oneself in a maze of priceless artifacts and antiques. That would be just another Saturday at the Marchés aux Puces, or the Paris flea market. Looking around, I came upon more than a few stalls that had curated specialized fashion pieces–everything from decades-old handmade lace from Le Puy en Velay (very pricey!), to vintage designer ballgowns from the last century, to beautiful crystal perfume bottles, to gloves and chapeaus of every style since the early 1900′s.

I’ve always loved exploring flea markets, ever since I was a teenager. It’s like going on a treasure hunt, unearthing interesting things that we may never have known we wanted until we found them. I guess it stems from the fact that, more than retail therapy, shopping/browsing at flea markets offers a glimpse of another time and an interesting side story, but unlike a museum, we have the option of taking a little piece of history home with us.








*Photos by Ito

The Art of Lichtenstein

Dots, stripes, playful use of pattern and bold color…no, I’m not talking about Spring/Summer 2014, I’m describing the humorously critical, playfully subversive exhibit of Roy Lichtenstein at the Centre Pompidou in Paris last October. A complete retrospective of over a hundred of his major works were on show for the very first time in France, and we were lucky enough to catch it.

One of my earliest favorite artists, Lichtensteins’s flat, graphic renditions of comic-inspired art was at the forefront of the Pop Art movement and heavily referenced, as well as impacted, popular culture and fashion. Even to this day, many graphic artists and fashion designers unconsciously owe their influences to him.

DSC_0859A bust with the famous Ben-Day dots treatment stands beside Lichtenstein’s flat, comic-inspired paintings

DSC_0880Over a hundred of his works were on display

Other than his more famous pieces, what I loved most about this exhibit was that it showed another side of Lichtenstein, a side that loved classical art and sculpture, but expressed in his own inimitably modern, singular way…

DSC_0882An ingenious 2-D version of a bust sculpture made from metal

DSC_0890Lichtenstein’s take on the classic nudes but given a Pop Art twist

DSC_0868Classic meets pop culture–this bust is both comic-inspired and looks like a mannequin head

DSC_0877A sculptural rendition of his flat paintings shows a mix of Lichtenstein’s lesser known influences

What do you think of Lichtenstein’s work? Is it still inspiring and influential to this day?

Sidewalk Style

As much as Manila has a formal-wear-and-cocktail-wear culture when it comes to dressing up, in Paris, the sidewalk is as much a platform for fashion as the catwalk (or the ballroom, for that matter). Parisians famously dress up even to head to the market, and if you think about it, everyday fashion is much more reflective of a person than what they wear when dressed for a special occasion.

Having coffee outdoors in a terrasse and watching people go by, I noticed how even simple jeans, sneaks & a tee could look polished and stylish, and I appreciated how taking the time to put themselves together came off as having self-respect more than being vain. Rather than dressing up as a way to show off status labels, I discovered that the best sidewalk style was an off-the-cuff mix of fun, fashion and functionality.

L1120657Vastly different, but equally stylish

L1120070Trend-savvy, hip AND very functional

L1120250Gotta love a man who knows how to accessorize!

L1110511Casual but still polished

L1120636The everyday suit, from the modern classic to the more flamboyant

L1120511The ultimate in fashionable, functional cool


IMG_3806Haute couture hits the sidewalks

DSC_1197Keeping warm, having a café & people watching!

Personally I find that a big part of a city’s culture is seen & developed through its everyday fashion. Given our tropical weather, what do you think would make the best sidewalk-styles for Manila?

*Photos by Ito

Redesign & Start Over

Last November, Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda wreaked havoc on many parts of the Philippines with countless cities and towns completely devastated in its wake. Sadly, a number of the beautiful islands in Cebu that Ito and I had visited over the summer were left ravaged by the Super Typhoon. Now, alongside with the continuing relief efforts, the rebuilding of structures (and lives) has slowly begun.

In design, starting from scratch with the slate wiped clean is often seen as an opportunity to begin with fresh ideas not compromised by trying to accommodate the mistakes of the past. This may be our chance to rebuild from the grassroots, creating greener, more sustainable rural environments and establishing safer coastal communities. This way, what started out as a tragedy doesn’t have to end as one.

In what ways would you like the Philippines ‘redesigned’ as a greener country for the future?

DSC_0072Just one of the many beautiful islands in Cebu

DSC_0314The five centuries old St. Peter & Paul Church in Bantayan Island, one of the islands hit hard by the typhoon

DSC_0167Fishing communities, like those in Malapascua, need environmentally sound and sustainable structures to weather future storms

DSC_9775Starting with a clean slate and respecting Mother Nature as we redevelop, restructure & redesign our coastal communities

PB290007Designing for a cause. Backstage snapshot with my model Patch Magtanong at last December’s “Filipino Para sa Filipino”, a fashion fundraiser to help raise money for the rehabilitation of the Visayas

*Photos of Bantayan & Malapascua Islands by Ito Ocampo

Lasting Impressions

The first time I saw a painting of Claude Monet up close, it was his “Water Lilies” which was on exhibit at the MoMA in New York (not counting the numerous slide shots of his works that we studied in our “impressionist” stage in the college of fine arts). What I loved about his work back then was this dreamy haze of a world which he invited us to step into. The softness of his work was a stark contrast to the in-your-face sensibilities of the Andy Warhols and Roy Lichtensteins that I grew up favoring.

Visiting Giverny (the town where he lived and painted for most of his life) for the first time, and stepping into his home and sprawling garden, made me realize where this dreamy sensibility came from. What a beautiful, inspiring place! Located just a short train ride outside of Paris, Giverny is a little town that has dedicated itself to art (and the art of gardening) thanks in no small part to its most famous resident.

There’s nothing quite like the experience of peeking into the world of one of your favorite artists and catching a glimpse of what they saw :-)

DSC_0539View of Monet’s garden from inside his house (unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside)

DSC_0567Stepping into a painting–the very picturesque lily pond featured in many of Monet’s famous works

Claude_Monet_-_Water_Lilies_-_Google_Art_Project_(431238)Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” (image from the Google Art Project)photoVibrant fall foliage covered the stone walls & pretty houses in GivernyDSC_0677The Hotel Baudy became a favorite hang-out & residence of numerous artists who followed Monet to Giverny

DSC_0605Artist’s studios line the streets of Giverny and on some days you can see the current crop of artists at work

An Amazing Alaïa Afternoon

One of the designers who, quite literally, shaped my impressionable younger self back in the 80′s was the original designer of the now-ubiquitous ‘bandage’ dress…no, not Hervé Léger…but Azzedine Alaïa. The designer dressed every iconic Supermodel of that decade, from Naomi Campbell, to Cindy Crawford, to Christy Turlington, to Linda Evangelista. But what I especially liked about Alaïa was his background as a sculptor, which explained the sleek body-consciousness, as well as the tactile qualities, of his work.

Late last year, while Ito & I were preparing for a trip to Paris for my birthday, I was excited to find out that a retrospective on the designer was opening at the newly renovated Museé de la Mode in the Palais Galliera at the time we would be there. This gave me the perfect opportunity to see the clothes up close and to appreciate the strength in the simplicity of his designs. I particularly loved how his clothes unabashedly celebrated the female form, following every curve or subtly emphasizing it with defined waves or unexpected texture.DSC_0724




DSC_0716If there’s anything that never fails to give me a thrill, it’s great fashion design that manages to transcend trends and move effortlessly from the past into the future. (Photographs were not allowed, but of course we had to sneak a few shots–how could we not???)

Time to Start Anew

It’s 2014, a whole new year and time to move forward! Since my last blog post–about six months ago–so many crazy, amazing, intense, mind blowing, surreal things happened personally, nationally and globally, that it’s safe to say that at the close of last year, it was definitely the end of that world as we knew it.DSC_0269From national calamities to personal losses, the challenges of the past year were many but the lesson was the same: Learning to let go. Learning to recognize when a cycle has come to an end, then learning to release it. Only then can we truly start afresh and move on…get back to the drawing board and start designing our futures anew.

Here’s to new beginnings and looking forward to greater times ahead! :-)


Soaking Up the Sun

It’s March and it’s officially the start of summer in the Philippines. Although Ito and I have unofficially made February our month for kicking off beach season–first, because celebrating Valentine’s is much more fun in the beach, second, because the weather in February is perfect (sunny but not scorching), and third, because any excuse is the perfect excuse to run off to any one of our 7,100 white, sandy islands. Our beach-hopping began last month, and our plans are set for this month and the next as well…can’t wait! I absolutely love summer :-)

Sharing some of my Instagram snaps ( from our first beach trip this year, as we ready ourselves for the heat, slather on the sunblock, and welcome my favorite season with wide open arms…

Heaven is warm water, blue skies, a cool breeze & sand beneath my toes

Reflections–tabletop and horizon scene

Absolutely loved this arrangement of summer blooms mixed with rice “puso”

Favorite seaside meal of charcoal grilled prawns, crisp fries and fresh salad

Happy to meet up with good friends, Mayee & Brian, with their adorable boys, Julian & Logan

Green touch–a lovely gift in support of revitalizing our forest & marine ecosystems

Road testing my new bag charm with summer weaves & easy, casual fashion

Saturday Art-Fix

Last Saturday was the annual ‘pilgrimage’ to Art in the Park, the once-a-year gathering to appreciate art, do a little shopping, meet friends, people-watch, and enjoy some food, drinks and live music under the canopy of trees at Salcedo Park. Still, by far, my favorite place to hunt for arty treasures and one-of-a-kind finds, last Saturday’s Art in the Park was full of friends and familiar faces rushing about, brown-paper-wrapped-packages tucked under their arms.

Meeting with friends at the park and finding ourselves comfortably positioned near the mojito bar and food stalls early on, however, kept me from any serious browsing (although there were so many witty and eye-catching pieces on display!). I particularly loved the installation and large-scale sculptural pieces, although I was pretty sure there wouldn’t be enough room for them in our home, so I just enjoyed them in the park, LOL! But then again, there’s always next year…

Sharing some photos from last Saturday :-)

Whimsical wooden sculptural piece

Live music and popular tunes

Paintings propped on the ground

Running into some of my favorite people…

…and my favorite UP institution! ;-)

Crazy, graphic, surprising art everywhere

I wanted this “sampaguita” piece for our garden!

Black & white lightbox photographs

Loved this drippy, recycled-plastic lamp :-)

The bamboo bike is always such an eye-catching conversation piece

Creating our own installation art from beer cans and plastic mojito glasses :-P

The Philippines By Design

Yesterday, March 14, was the opening day of Manila FAME, and since Ito and I had some free time in the afternoon, we decided to drop by. It’s always incredibly inspiring to see other designers’ visions come to life, whether they be in fashion or other disciplines like furniture or industrial design, as well as to see the level of skill and refined craftsmanship of the Filipino artisan.

With the impact of technology and the green movement worldwide, many of this year’s exhibits played with the use of up-cycled materials, or re-engineered organic materials into new designs and forms. The variety of local materials used, combined with the myriad of designs, really exposed the wealth of resources in our country which we are finally learning to truly appreciate. I loved how many of the pieces on show embraced traditional Philippine crafts, but upgraded them with a new lightness and modernity which gave them a very cross-cultural, global appeal.

Another thing I found exciting was the introduction to the expo of the city’s ‘creative hotspots’–those small, quirky, independent and fiercely imaginative areas around Manila where many artists and creative people meet and sell their products. Bringing these arty, handcrafted treasure troves to the attention of international buyers is a great idea, and I’m looking forward to the days when these types of creative hubs will mushroom and go more ‘mainstream’. Ahhh, to dream :-)

Some photos from yesterday…


(Photos by Ito Ocampo)

*Manila FAME is ongoing from March 14-17 at the SMX Convention Center


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