Plan your beach trips as early as now because we bear good news that will make you want to pack your bags, stat! If you’re a summer child at heart, here’s something that’ll make you feel all giddy with delight. Our very own local fashion designer Francis Libiran is teaming up with the global flip-flop brand Havaianas to release a collection for the Holiday season, and as you know, we just can’t contain our excitement any longer! So before this awesome collab hits the stores come December 1, we’ll let you in on some secrets straight from the designer himself. Scroll down and find out why you need to watch out for the Francis Libiran X Havaianas collection.
As a fashion designer, you're known for couture. What made you decide to jump in on the collaboration?
I believe in the brand. I've seen Havaianas since it started in the Philippines. I'm a big fan of Havaianas. So when they approached me, I got so excited to do it right away. No hesitation. I told my business partner, Arsi Baltazar, we need to do this one. No matter what it takes, we have to do this.
Are you a beach person?
I am. So I make sure every summer I have a new pair from the latest collection of Havaianas. I would really go in line just to get a pair.
How many pairs of Havaianas do you have?
I've lost count already! Every summer, I buy three to four pairs.
What’s the inspiration behind the Havaianas X Francis Libiran collection?
I'm so privileged that I was chosen to be the one to design for Havaianas Flip-Flops for the Philippines. So basically, I made sure that there is a Filipino inspiration in meshing up my architectural background and Filipino iconic designs. That's how I envisioned everything when I was conceptualizing this one.
Can you describe the woman or the person you had in mind while you were designing the collection?
I guess a woman who goes to the beach a lot.
The tropical girl?
Yes, the tropical type, a beach girl. The one that always goes to Boracay or Palawan and makes a statement with her flip-flops. With that in mind, I was thinking of something very catchy when she's wearing those flip-flops. The collection has three designs: the Festival, which is for girls, will remind you of the Masskara Festival. It symbolizes the festivities of the Philippines, and at the same time, the gold straps make it very elegant. Then we have the Island. It symbolizes the multi-cultural heritage of the Philippines, so there’s the Sarimanok. You can say that the Island is unisex. The colors are more vibrant. And the City, which has the jeepney, is more masculine. It's darker, but the colors are festive, as well.
As a fashion designer who usually works with couture, how different was it working with Havaianas and designing flip-flops?
Of course, it’s challenging because we’re talking about flip-flops. What can you do with the flip-flops to make it really interesting? I really researched on Havaianas. I researched on their collaborations with other designers. So for me, it’s making a statement and bringing that message out. I need to put in mind, that I need to show Filipino. That’s why we–me and my creative group–also sat down [to discuss]. What are the iconic pieces or things that we can put on flip-flops, that when worn, is very Filipino and at the same time, it creates a statement? So I guess that’s the challenging part. We made 10 studies and submitted to Havaianas. They approved these three.
You also have a background in architecture. Can you tell us more about it?
Basically, I love designing. I remember when I was younger, my favorite toy was the Lego. It’s really creating something out of something. Design for me is something that comes out naturally. While in architecture, I felt that I got bored because it would take you a long time to see the finished product while in fashion it’s very easy. You draw, you cut, you sew and it’s there already. So I guess the calling for me for fashion was there already from the very start. And I remember when I was 8 years old, I would write at the back of my notebook and sketch, then I would always picture an actress on the red carpet. And I would keep it under my bed because my dad would get mad. (Laughs)
Is there a building or a structure in Manila or in the Philippines that you find inspiring in terms of design?
I guess it’s still the art deco theme. There’s a lot–if you’ve noticed here in the Philippines, we have so much art deco buildings here. Sad part is, tinatanggal nila. Walang nag prepreserve (Nobody preserves). So when I look at an art deco themed building, for me, it is very interesting. I would sometimes take pictures of it and just admire everything. The Jai Alai building, which is already gone, was one I really loved. I guess I just love the play of lines and curves and how they mesh well together. That for me is interesting. Even The Metropolitan Theater is so inspiring and I would go inside to admire the ceiling, the door, the stairway.
You also previously mentioned that you’ve had experience with the material rubber. How did you get into that material and how has that previous experience helped you with this collection?
Last year, I needed a material that I can embroider and at the same time stiff enough to hold up. I’m fond of details. How can I make the art-deco details stand up in a gown? So, I made use of this very thin rubber sheet. I used it to create that art deco pattern on it. So for me, after working with rubber, Havaianas came relatively easy.
In your years as a designer, you’ve had many creations and designs. Out of all those, which particular creation is most significant to you?
The recent one, which is the art deco-inspired collection. From there, I’m thinking of furniture in the future, bags, accessories. So it’s creating a signature look or pattern that–when you look at it– is really Francis Libiran.
The Francis Libiran X Havaianas collection will be available on December 1, 2014 in all authorized retailers in the country.