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Designer Spotlight: Inno Sotto

Manila's Prince of Fashion talks about his ready-to-wear Muse collection, fashion versus style, and truly stylish women.
Designer Spotlight: Inno Sotto Manila's Prince of Fashion talks about his ready-to-wear Muse collection, fashion versus style, and truly stylish women.

Jae: What is your inspiration behind the Muse collection?

Inno: This is part of the Sundar series, which is all India-inspired. It's all about the fabric, the draping, and it's all one-sided. Whether you're heavy or thin you can wear it. This is from my 30.20.10 celebration.

J: Which was fantastic, by the way.

I: I went back to my very first inspiration of my working collection, which was really Indian-inspired. As soon as I graduated fashion school I had a lot of Indian inpirations. I went back. I’ve done Indian-inspired collections three or four times already. I've always been fascinated by India. Its culture, its history, everything about it. Its architecture, its way of dressing, way of expressing things. I've always had a fascination with that country.

J: Why is that?

I: Most countries I am fascinated with are countries that sustain many things about what they are in [their] purest form. That’s why India, China and various other countries have been named spectacles in the world of design rather than spectators. People don't just watch their design. They don't want to copy, they want a source of inspiration. A whole spectacle in that country. And unfortunately for us there are countries that constantly tamper with culture...

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J: And heritage.

I: And so you know, I keep on going back to those countries.

J: How is this collection representative of your design aesthetic? What makes it so distinctively Inno?

I: Design is the language of my profession and I've been around for50 years and I speak in a language that a lot of women understand. This is such a figurative thing. I mean how many paragraphs, figuratively speaking, will one need to just say "it's a dress," "it's a cocktail dress"? I think, to a large extent, today you don't really have to talk about fashion more than anything. I think it takes considerable effort to consistently come up with something.Fashion now is too...

J: Contrived, would you say?

I: Too much effort, there's just too much going on. Sometimes I think it overpowers the person wearing it. Now there's a tendency for women to dress because of all these things that are available to them. They look like they are a caricature of a certain period in fashion history, like bell-bottoms, exaggerated things. Everything now seems to be just an exaggeration.

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J: So would you say that you aim for timelessness?

I: It's not that I intentionally do. It's a natural direction of my design. Because sometimes we try to go too far and get lost in translation. That's why fashion competitions now, it's over, it's too much. Everything seems like it fits everything.

J: Who would you say this collection is designed for?

I: Oh, everybody that's been going to me for a long time. Even after the show I had to do copies of it and deliver it.

J: Did you have a specific type of woman in mind, a specific type of feminine sensibility?

I: Somebody who's easy about her way. No one wants to go into a room and call attention to herself because of what she's wearing. She has a certain sureness and confidence; she can go to another place wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans—it doesn't matter. [Someone] who's comfortable about herself. No one who's conscious about making statements. Making statements is a bit too... Everybody thinks it's so into fashion, but I think it's too untidy. It's against anyone, anything that suggests style. So anti-style when you're so into fashion—like that particular bag du jour.

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J: Fashion and style are two very different things.

I: People who have it are infinitely more comfortable.

J: And with it comes a certain sureness of self.

I: And they don’t look like anybody else. They could be wearing anything.

Click on the photo gallery to view Inno Sotto's Muse for Rustan's collection.
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