Perhaps you’ve worn her and never even knew it. Famous in the ‘70s for her fashion forward creations for her Azabache line, Helena Carratala was Manila’s design darling. Her party frocks and baubles were sought after by society women, exported throughout the region, and worn by style-savvy folk. Exposed to fashion through a serendipitous incident—she got her start as an assistant/translator for Jean Paul Gaultier when he was based here in 1971 as designer for Pierre Cardin—she has dabbled in many a fashion endeavor from here to New York.
Brought back by another twist of fate after 20 years abroad, she has decided to settle here for good. Her return is marked by the renaissance of her unique approach to fashion; duly represented by her new mission called Mangenguey. Now, she aims not just to create beautiful things, but also an ideal community woven together by tradition, balance, and creativity.
First on her list is to revive the Platero tradition of Bulacan and Baguio through a marriage of their technique and her designs, to be manifested on local raw materials like filigree. Through this new venture, she is able to sustain native art, as well as embrace contemporary fashion.
Catch the update on Helena Carratala in Preview’s June 2011 issue!
Click on the photo gallery to see more of her work!
Reprinted from Preview June 2006
Words by Kissa Castañeda.
Photos by Melo Balingit, At Maculangan and Katya Guerrero