Category Archives: The Tippi Point

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 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 :-)

What This Picture Paints

Who doesn’t love surprises? I know I do :-) And I just want to share an unexpected treat that Ito and I received yesterday. My good, good friend and Fine Arts classmate, Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, surprised us with these dreamy watercolor renditions of our recent fashion shoot which she posted on her Instagram account
Now Cynthia also happens to be a prolific, multi-awarded graphic designer, illustrator and artist who has done countless artwork that have graced the album covers of some of our favorite Filipino bands (hello, Eraserheads!). What I’ve always loved about her work though, is its distinctive style–a combination of a soft-focus romanticism with a sharp eye for detail. Check out the video below of her at work!

Glazing in progress ???? #watercolor #wip #paintingvideo A video posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

She has only just recently taken up her watercolor brushes again, although she has other equally beautiful illustration styles that still retain her point of view, like these gorgeous note cards that she gifted me with last Christmas which she hand-printed from her own sketches. So, so, so pretty! (I just had to gush)
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It’s such a blessing to have people in our lives who are not only amazingly gifted, but are truly amazing individuals and treasured friends as well :-)

Blank Page

Happy 2015!!! After cleaning and clearing our home in preparation for 2014’s year end, and the rain that cleared the air and washed the entire Manila on the first day of the new year, the sun is shining today and everything is sparkling and feels brand new!

It’s a clean, blank page we’re facing, the pure potential of designing the next 365 days ahead of us. Our dreams, our passions, our visions, are all things we can begin to sketch out and happily bring to life. Our page is our own, and the possibilities of what we can fill it with are endless. When it comes to the future, there’s no day like today to begin discovering and creating what it holds :-)

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MoMu (& Me)

One of the places on my ‘must-visit’ list in Antwerp was the ModeMuseum (MoMu), or Fashion Museum, home to the collections of my favorite Belgian designers and the center for some of the best–in my opinion–contemporary couture. The museum itself, much like Antwerp, was not that big, but the fashion design concepts it holds and the impact of Belgian designers (and the early, famed, Antwerp Six) in the world of fashion has been nothing short of enormous.

While we were there I was lucky enough to catch the “MoMu Now” exhibit which put on display pieces from some of Belgium’s best (Raf Simons, Anne Demeulemeester, Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, my early favorite, Olivier Theyskens & many more) grouped by theme instead of by designer. Seen this way, it was evident that the collective fashion design aesthetic really mirrored the city of Antwerp itself, from its romantic utilitarianism to its refined deconstruction and love of art & industry. It reminded me that the best of contemporary fashion is not about blindly following global trends, but also about infusing design with its relevant environment and with modern function.

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*Photos by Ito

The Productivity of Idle Time

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I’ve recently discovered the immense benefits of claiming some major down time for oneself. When things get a little crazy (as they often do these days), I realized that all it takes is a step back for things to find their natural flow again. Saying ‘no’ to certain things has allowed a spaciousness back into my life. Having time to doodle…and read…and journal…and daydream…without the frenzied pace that has ominously crept into our daily existence, has put unnecessary stress in the back seat and has let playfulness and creativity take the lead once more. Oftentimes the best ideas come in when we’re doing nothing at all :-)

Work (Forever) In Progress

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Busy on a myriad of fashion design, home and life-in-general projects the past week, I realized that for everything we accomplish, another new thing is just waiting in the wings to be started. It’s a never ending process of discovering, creating, learning and growing–the cycle goes on and on. We are all, forever, just a work in progress.

This goes so much against the concept of the bottom line, deadlines and the finiteness of a job done, and speaks to our deeper calling and life’s purpose which in essence is simply to experience the world and continually contribute back to it by sharing ourselves through our designs, photography, art, music, food, literature, etc. That way, while we are a work in progress, our work is for progress too.

What do you think about it? Is work just a means to an end, or something that can be never endingly progressive?

Designed for Travel

A couple of years ago, as travel got cheaper (Yay! More impromptu adventures!) and weight restrictions got more limited (Boo! Less clothes & shoes to bring!), Ito and I began shopping around for lightweight polycarbonate suitcases to replace the indestructible, but HEAVY, oyster suitcases that we had. We eventually got swayed to the Zero Halliburton polycarbonate suitcases which looked good and had a lifetime (limited) warranty. We made our purchases at The Travel Club in Powerplant Mall, and a few weeks later left on a trip, hopping from Manila to Singapore, and a few days later to Cambodia, before heading the same way home after a few days in Siem Reap. After our trip, I noticed a crack in the corner of my suitcase–I immediately took it back to The Travel Club and explained that I had bought the case recently and only noticed the crack back in Manila. They accepted my suitcase, and within the week had replaced it with a brand new one :-) Talk about great after sales service!

Fast forward to three years (and numerous long-haul and short trips, both local and foreign) later, my three-year old crimson case–which had held up beautifully–took a non-stop trip from Manila to London and arrived in Heathrow looking like it had been trampled on by elephants. It was all scratched up, the zipper looked distorted, and it had cracked in the corner (numerous ‘Fragile’ stickers notwithstanding). By this time I knew well enough to immediately make a report at the airport, which I did. Thankfully we were spending the entire two weeks in London and not traveling around Europe, so I didn’t worry about the crack worsening during the course of our stay.

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When we arrived back in Manila, I followed up the the report made in Heathrow with the airline’s baggage handling service in NAIA T2 and went home. While the representative I corresponded with was quick to respond, I rejected their initial offer since it wasn’t enough for a replacement. I decided to take my suitcase back to The Travel Club to see if they could assist me in any way since my suitcase was still under the lifetime ‘limited’ warranty (in the meantime, Ito’s Zero Halliburton suitcase continues to hold up just fine). At the same time, I also filed a claim with my travel insurance.

Initially, The Travel Club tried helping by issuing a certificate indicating the suitcase’s retail cost (around 5 times the initial compensation offer) and stating that it was beyond repair, but it soon became apparent that the airline would not be covering the full cost of a replacement suitcase. I was beginning to feel resigned to the whole thing and was going to charge it to unfortunate travel experience, when I received an email from The Travel Club (Primer Group).

Instead of repairing or exchanging my battered suitcase, they were offering me a spanking new ‘polycarbonate perfected’ suitcase of the same size (in the color of my choice) from their newest Briggs & Riley Torq collection. Best of all, it came with the ULTIMATE no-questions-asked-airline-mishandling-included lifetime warranty! You can imagine my relief at the thought of never having to go through this baggage-mishandling ordeal again!!

When Ito and I went to Powerplant, we met with the very gracious Ms. Joni Lim, Assistant Vice President of The Travel Club, and Ms. Renee Ngo, Brand Associate for Briggs & Riley, who took us out to a delicious lunch before handing over my handsome new adventure partner (well, other than Ito, hehe ;-)). I’m thrilled and can’t wait for our next trip! Thank you, The Travel Club, for consistently offering your customers such amazing, personalized service!

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photo(26)My new travel partner–I chose a cool granite over crimson this time around :-)

photo(27)This suitcase is designed to look good while hitting the open skies (or sitting on a flower bed ;-))

*As of this writing, the airline had doubled its initial compensation offer (which I accepted, for the hassle & aggravation) and my travel insurance also coughed up an additional minimum compensation. All’s well that ends well (although I am actually still waiting to receive both).

**(Suit)case closed–two & a half months after the report, I finally received the airline’s cash compensation of US$200 as well as my travel insurance’s maximum cash compensation of P8,167.17 (or US$192.26) for a total amount that was closer to my damaged suitcase’s retail cost. A happy ending to this travel tale! :-)

Evolution of Fashion

Spending a late afternoon at the V&A Museum during our recent trip, I found most of my time consumed by the fashion archives. “Fashion” as a noun and as a verb has always fascinated me. How clothes were shaped by, as well as influenced, the times they were in. More than just passing flights of fancy, fashion over the years has proven to be a great barometer of the era that created it. It’s like reading a history book through ornamentation, fabric & silhouette!

It also made me wonder what our current choices of clothes reflect about the new millennium. Hmmm…what do you think our modern day fashion says about us?

DSC_0397Christian Dior’s New Look was a reflection of post-war optimism in the 1940’s

DSC_0392Young designer Dice Kayek’s winning work, “Istanbul Contrast”, shows current globalization with a blend of East & West

DSC_0399The  ‘Youthquake’ of the 1960’s is clearly displayed in the revolutionary, vibrant spirit of its fashion

DSC_0393The beginning of sportswear evidenced the growing liberation of women. They were so chic too!

DSC_0403In full bloom in the 1950’s. Imagine…just a few decades ago, women used to dress like this everyday!

*Photos by Ito

Blessed By A Saint

Tomorrow is Ito’s & my anniversary (Yay!!! *clink!*) and we are happily celebrating every triumph & challenge, every love-fest & scream-fest, every crazy & uneventful, outsize & miniscule moment in the 6,205 days since we grabbed each other by the hand and headed off into the proverbial sunset. It’s been over a decade and a half of blessings, some of them in disguise no doubt, but oftentimes we still catch ourselves amazed and thrilled by it all.

This year Ito & I got the best anniversary gift we could have imagined–a seventeen year old blessing from newly canonized Saint John Paul II. Who would have thought, all those years ago, that we would have been touched by a saint? Maybe, somewhere deep inside us, we always knew because it’s one explanation for the multitude of everyday miracles we have been experiencing since then.

Yes, we are (hashtag) blessed and we are forever grateful :-)

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 Happy anniversary to us! (*some details in our marriage certificate have been omitted ;-) )

*Photos by official Vatican photographic service

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