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Fashion Designer Francis Libiran Dips His Toes Into Musical Theater

His exclusive designs will be featured on the Philippine run of Monty Python’s SPAMALOT.
Fashion Designer Francis Libiran Dips His Toes Into Musical Theater
IMAGE Shaira Luna for Preview.ph
His exclusive designs will be featured on the Philippine run of Monty Python’s SPAMALOT.

Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has finally arrived Manila! Promising to make its audience “weak with laughter,” this Tony Award-winning musical has been dubbed as one of the funniest comedies of all time, featuring a hilarious version of the story of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and their quest for the Holy Grail. And to breathe life into this smash musical hit for the Philippine theater, there are no better actresses for the job than multi-awarded singer Rachel Alejandro and theater diva Carla Guevara-Laforteza.

Now, the above-mentioned should be enough to convince you to purchase a ticket or two (which you can do right here!), but just so you know, the Philippine production of Monty Python’s SPAMALOT holds another dear surprise—aka some shimmering, scene-stealing gowns created especially for the musical by Francis Libiran. In an interview with Preview, the renowned local fashion designer reveals the inspiration and creative process behind these dresses. Read all about it below, and check out an exclusive sneak peek of his designs as seen through the lens of Shaira Luna.

IMAGE Shaira Luna for Preview.ph

Please take us back to how it started. How were you tapped to design the gowns for Monty Python's Spamalot?

"Rachel and Carla are good friends of ours. They’re two versatile actresses with great singing voices who I admire. They approached me to design the gowns for them; I never thought twice."

Have you seen the musical before? Where did you get your inspiration or style direction while designing the pieces?

"I have seen clips of the musical online before I designed pieces for its Philippine run. The story was set during the medieval period in England so I made sure women’s fashion during the medieval times is evident on the pieces I created."

IMAGE Shaira Luna for Preview.ph

Can you share with us the creative process behind the making of these dresses?

"I had to study the play and the characters, particularly the 'Lady of the Lake.' It’s like having a script that you need to interpret. Design should reflect the personality of the character you’re trying to dress. Lady of the Lake is a diva on her own right—strong, beautiful, and possesses mystical powers—and I made sure her gown clearly reflects this side of her."

IMAGE Shaira Luna for Preview.ph

IMAGE Shaira Luna for Preview.ph

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Compared to your previous collections and bridal line, how different was it to design gowns for a musical?

"Designing gowns for a musical allows you to flex your creativity as the color and texture of the pieces you create immediately make a powerful statement to your audience. Creative collaboration is a must—from your team, the director and the stage performers."

IMAGE Shaira Luna for Preview.ph

Was it your first time to design for a musical? Tell us, how does it feel like to see your designs onstage in a theater instead of on the runway this time around?

"Yes. I was thrilled to see my designs onstage in a musical theater setting this time. Seeing artists portray different characters while wearing Francis Libiran pieces definitely add more definition and story to our brand."

Speaking of which, are we going to see more of Francis Libiran in the theater industry?

"Our doors are always open to more collaborations in the future."

IMAGE Shaira Luna for Preview.ph

Photographed by Shaira Luna

Produced by Marj Ramos

Art directed by Mark Buenaobra

Makeup by Jason Delos Reyes of NARS Cosmetics

Hair by Mark Anthony Rosales

Shot on location at RCBC Theater in Makati

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