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Designer Spotlight: Ciara Marasigan-serumgard

Get acquainted with the designer and check out her precious creations
for Summer 2010.
Designer Spotlight: Ciara Marasigan-serumgard Get acquainted with the designer and check out her precious creations
for Summer 2010.

Filipina jewelry designer Ciara Marasigan-Serumgard discovered her passion for jewelry making when she was 22. She proceeded to delve wholeheartedly into the art, and has continuously exhibited her flair for exquisite styles and hand-crafted expertise despite her lack of formal training. Turns out that being groomed by a stylish materfamilias is enough to cultivate a refined sense of style that can eventually be banked on as a career.

Chapeu, Ciara's latest collection for Summer 2010, is full of bijoux confections of semi-precious stones such as turquoise, aventurine, mother-of-pearl, and lapis lazuli. The dangling earrings, cuffs, and necklaces of the collection are all so exquisitely hand-crafted that they just radiate the passion and tenderness that undoubtedly went into the creation of the pieces.

“I love hats, and the last image I had before leaving my home in California was my hat rack with four of my resort favorites. They showcase the wonderful colors of the tropics, each of them bursting with personality! I decided to come up with jewelry inspired by each of [them],” the Philippine-raised but now California-based designer says about her inspiration for Chapeu.

By the way, she and her husband found out last February that they're expecting their first child. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Serumgard! We wish that this new stage in Ciara's life will give her more design inspirations and imbue her work with even lovelier verve.

Get to know Ciara as she answers the questions for Designer Spotlight, and don't forget to check out her precious little pieces for Chapeu, Summer 2010.


WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A DESIGNER?
I have always aspired to end up in an occupation that made work feel like play. As a child, I was drawn to colors. It was so fitting to have found myself in art and fashion.

HOW DID YOU START AS A DESIGNER?
I've always had a penchant for beautiful things. Since I was a young girl, I have been fascinated with my mother's jewelry, intricate handiwork, fine furniture, and luxurious fabrics. Fun would mean having the key to my mother's jewelry cabinet,
and playing around with her stuff.

Also, my grandmother was very particular about refining my taste. She would insist that I dress well every single day, which might have been too much for kindergarten. She taught me how to put things together in my own brand of fashion which is ultra-feminine, mixing designer and vintage—a reflection of my personality. I live for my idea of romance, and this is not only true in my fashion, but my general approach to life. I decided to pursue a career in jewelry design when I was 22.

WHERE DID YOU RECEIVE YOUR FASHION TRAINING?
I have a degree in Business Management, and have learned a great deal about the craft from my travels and sourcing trips.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION?
I am inspired by everything I experience: galleries, travels, sinful desserts, and a great love as well! Global trends alone do not dictate my design direction but certainly influence me the way other experiences do. The visions I have are celebrations of how I experience the world.

WHICH DESIGNERS/ARTISTS/PERSONALITIES DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
Creativity allows us to break free from patterns and traditions to give birth to a creature truly new. [Dior Haute Joaillerie's] Victoire de Castellane's conceptual creativity serves as my inspiration. The eccentric-luxurious eloquence in her work is ever refreshing.

I also look up to Christian Dior, the designer behind luxurious provocation. And I am thrilled by Queen Elizabeth I. Her severity shows us how her rich fabrics and jewels conveyed incredible wealth, power, and prestige. She definitely dressed the part.

WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO DRESS? WHO ARE THE CLIENTS YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH?
Brides. They are the happiest and most meticulous clients!

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS A DESIGNER?
To constantly find interesting gemstones in various colors and shapes. Successful sourcing is essential in our process.

WHICH ASPECT OF THE DESIGN PROCESS DO YOU ENJOY MOST?
Selecting the stones to be used in a jewelry piece.

WHAT'S THE BEST CLOTHING ITEM/ACCESSORY WOMEN/MEN SHOULD HAVE?
A piece of jewelry that speaks to you. The design and the color theory behind it should express your taste, your perspective in life. Wearing the piece should bring you joy. I love how women show heritage in their choice of jewelry.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GARMENT OR FASHION ACCESSORY?
A statement necklace will jazz up any of my outfits.

WHAT IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU HAVE RECEIVED ABOUT YOUR WORK?
When women decide to wear my work on their ultimate fashion and beauty moment: their wedding day.

WHAT ASPECT OF DESIGN DO YOU SEEK TO MASTER/HAVE DEVOTED TIME TO MASTER?
As a jewelry designer, my creativity is communicated in the concept behind my work, and the theory behind my choice of hues. A great deal of artists think in pictures, so the challenge is how to execute our great imagery. Communicating my vision is precisely my passion.

ASPIRATIONS FOR THE BRAND IN THE FUTURE?
My marriage requires that I live abroad. I am dealing with the issues that arise from the separation of the artist and her employees. Though I visit Manila often, I feel that there is never enough time.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
Before my pregnancy, I went for daily jogs while enjoying the architectural details of my neighbors' houses. But with my current condition, I have scaled down to brisk walking.

FAVORITE SHOPPING AND TRAVEL DESTINATIONS?
Artisan markets and the most obscure antique galleries around the world.

DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
Religious art.

WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? FILMS YOU WATCH? BOOKS YOU READ?
Bach, Ella Fitzgerald, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Ennio Morricone are among my music favorites.

My fascination with elaborate production design, costumes, and inspired scores motivates me to see almost every single period film. I am a big Tudors fan!

I have decided to read Margaret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII while I await Showtime's release of the final season of The Tudors.

OTHER PASTIMES, PASSIONS, INTERESTS ASIDE FROM FASHION?
Music and literature, movie soundtracks, film dates, museum trips, travels, and shopping for antiques

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
Constantly furnishing my 75-year old mission-style haven in California!

WHAT OTHER TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?
I can play the piano, but I still wonder if it's too late for me to study the cello.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Having had shows in prestigious museums with my work alongside great works of art.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PHILIPPINE FASHION INDUSTRY NEEDS MOST IN ORDER TO FLOURISH?
A number of Filipinos have wonderful ideas, but it takes discipline to be consistent. I think that is what the industry needs.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS?
Find your own voice, your own special track. There is so much clutter in the marketplace now, so much replication. Filipina artisans, don't allow anyone to dilute your glorious uniqueness.


Click here to see Ciara Marasigan-Serumgard's Chapeu, Summer 2010 collection.

Click here to see her Designer Directory.


—Jae de Veyra Pickrell, Editorial Assistant

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