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Designer Spotlight: Hindy Weber-tantoco

Swim leggings, swim jumpsuits, swim skirts—read
about them here!
Designer Spotlight: Hindy Weber-tantoco Swim leggings, swim jumpsuits, swim skirts—read
about them here!

Leggings as fashionable and protective swimwear—who would've thought? Hindy Weber-Tantoco is bringing quirky sexy back to swimwear by introducing a new “bow-tied” collection of provocative swim leggings, swim jumpsuits, high-waist swim skirts and the usual swim separates for her Rustan's U Swim line.

“I wanted to try something edgier and fresher this time around,” explains the fab and svelte mom of three. So she came up with the swim leggings and jumpsuit idea “for those who want more coverage and sun protection” this blazing hot summer. “They [the swim leggings] are my favorite,” enthuses Hindy. “You can actually swim in them!”

However, for those who still prefer to bare almost all, Hindy designed cutesy swim separates—triangle bikinis, bandeaus, and boylegs—in a lovely shade of pastel pink, classic black and striking white. Provocative maillots also complete the U Swim Summer 2010 lineup.

The fabulous designer is also making quite a predatory splash with her Culte Femme Summer 2010 collection, which is “shark-inspired.” “[We used] optical shark patterns and exclusive illustrations from artist AJ Omandac,” she informs us. But don't expect an all-shark theme just yet. Hindy also harks back to the retro 80's with some reversible jersey tanks and ruched miniskirts in ultra-bright acid colors. The simple reason? “I did a lot of black and gray last year.”

Continue reading to know a bit more about Hindy Weber-Tantoco.


WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A DESIGNER?
I love ideas and seeing them come into fruition. I also prefer to create things I or others can make use of, something that will enhance and enrich their lives.

HOW DID YOU START AS A DESIGNER?
[By] selling tie-dye shirts in the early 90's.

WHERE DID YOU RECEIVE YOUR FASHION TRAINING?
The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY?
For my premium collection, it's all about Beauty, Elegance, Irreverence. For my ready-to-wear collections, it's about Style, Comfort, Wearability.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION?
E-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. But currently, I am head over heels in love with Ernst Haeckel's work.

WHO ARE YOUR STYLE ICONS? YOUR STYLE INFLUENCES/INSPIRATIONS?Isabella Blow, Kate Moss, the Olsen twins, rocker chicks, Audrey Hepburn, Patti Smith, Georgia O'Keefe, Marlene Dietrich, Frida Kahlo—so many more. Basically any woman who owns their identity and isn't afraid to express it. There are many non-famous women I admire, too. I am also heavily inspired by men's magazines. I love men's fashion.

WHICH DESIGNERS/ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
Among them are Inno Sotto, Miuccia Prada and Nicolas Ghesquière. However, as a member of the Fashion Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP), I can tell you with all honesty that the designer-members are absolutely amazing. I feel so blessed to be in a close working relationship with them because I have the chance to learn more from their inherent artistry.

WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO DRESS? WHO ARE THE CLIENTS YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH?
I would love to dress Carla Bruni-Sarkozy because I think—since she became first lady of France—her outfit choices have been terrible. I'd also love to dress Cate Blanchett, Carey Mulligan, the Olsen sisters, Kate Moss, Maggie Cheung, and Chloe Sevigny.

WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF TIMELESS STYLE?
Those I mentioned above.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS A DESIGNER?
[Finding] skilled and responsible sewers, modern equipment, and fabric sourcing.

WHICH ASPECT OF THE DESIGN PROCESS DO YOU ENJOY MOST?
Conceptualizing, sketching, fabric selection.

WHAT'S THE BEST CLOTHING ITEM/ACCESSORY WOMEN/MEN SHOULD HAVE?
It's literally different for every individual. I think the key is the right attitude with a certain level of refinement.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GARMENT OR FASHION ACCESSORY?
I can't choose just one. It's like making me choose a favorite movie or my favorite child—impossible.

ANY CURRENT TRENDS THAT YOU'RE FOND OF? ANY CURRENT OBSESSIONS?
I am currently drooling over the Balenciaga structured heels from Fall/Winter 2010-11.

HOW HAVE YOU EVOLVED AS A DESIGNER?
I'm not as hard on myself as I used to be. I'm also at this point in my life and career where I think less is more. I think we need to rethink the way we CONSUME. I think we need to start veering away from mindless, irresponsible, unsustainable consumption. I know it sounds contradictory to my business, but I know there is a way. We just need to forge a new path towards that direction. I need a new business model that embraces beauty, design, art, the good life—without compromising our planet and its less fortunate inhabitants. It's not as easy as it sounds, so it's taking a lot of soul-searching.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER?
That I am a member of the FDCP. That I have loyal and very supportive customers. And that I can design a wide variety of garments and accessories for different markets and age groups. (I do infants, children, maternity, swimwear, womenswear.)

WHAT IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU HAVE RECEIVED ABOUT YOUR WORK?
Wallpaper* magazine did a story on Manila in 2005, and Culte Femme was the only fashion brand they mentioned aside from Silk Cocoon, Kish, Budji Layug, Jewelmer and Jul B. Dizon.

We've also received a lot of export inquiries from the US, Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong, but we don't have the proper organizational setup yet to serve those orders.

My favorite, however, is when my clients receive the compliments themselves—like when they tell me they get stopped on the streets of some big city like New York and get asked where they bought their outfit. [When] my clients feel good, I feel good.

WHAT ASPECT OF DESIGN DO YOU SEEK TO MASTER/HAVE DEVOTED TIME TO MASTER?
I seek to learn how to sew better, but with my busy schedule in the office and at home, I always push it back.

ASPIRATIONS FOR THE BRAND IN THE FUTURE?
To go global and to last.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
A cocktail, a good film, dinner with my husband, a good laugh with my parents.

FAVORITE SHOPPING AND TRAVEL DESTINATIONS?
Anywhere off the beaten path.

DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
I like owl statuettes. I also have too much swimwear and [too many] sunglasses. And vintage glassware. And bath products. And vintage postcards, odd photos and biological illustrations. :-)

WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? FILMS YOU WATCH? BOOKS YOU READ?
Lykke Li, Jason Mraz, The Killers, Goldfrapp, Vanessa Paradis... Gosh, I could go on and on.

I LOVE, LOVE FILMS so I'll watch anything new except horror/slasher flicks—I'm not into those.

The books I usually read revolve around anthroposophy, natural medicine and bioengineering.

OTHER PASTIMES, PASSIONS, INTERESTS ASIDE FROM FASHION?
Healthy food, organic farming, animal welfare, building or renovating homes, interior decoration.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
Anything for health and home.

WHAT OTHER TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?
I would love to play the guitar and ride a horse with real confidence.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
My marriage.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PHILIPPINE FASHION INDUSTRY NEEDS MOST IN ORDER TO FLOURISH?
Government funding and support.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS?
Go to school abroad, work abroad and bring the expertise back home where we need it most.

Click here to see Hindy Weber-Tantoco's Summer 2010 collection.

Click here to see the collection in the Azure Launch and Fashion Show.

Click here to see her Designer Directory.


—Jae de Veyra Pickrell, Editorial Assistant

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