How do you feel about being on the PEFTA list this year?
Happy, humbled, and grateful.
Tell us a bit about your background.
My original training was in the fine arts. As an undergrad, I was into painting. After college, I worked as a designer abroad, particularly in China and Dubai. [I took up] Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising at the Far Eastern University [and] Basic Pattern and Sewing at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines.
Which artists do you admire most, both local and foreign? How does your aesthetic resonate with theirs?
Alexander McQueen because he mixes fashion and art. His designs inspire awe. They are stunning.
Yes and no. Yes because he serves as a model and no because every designer wants to have his or her own identity. It's a love-hate relationship. If I were to describe my aesthetic, it's quite simple: Make beauty happen.
Please tell us about your PEFTA 2012 collection. How does it address this year's theme, Silhouette?
Healthy hips are so stigmatized these days. To have big hips is to be fat. And to be fat is to be ugly. I want to say that fats hips can be beautiful, too. That is my non-literal take on reinventing the silhouette, and in reinventing it, I hope to have reinvented our usual sense of [what makes a] body beautiful.
The inspiration for my collection is the Swiss artist Giacometti whose modernist vision of form I find fascinating. When you look at his works, women's bodies are almost abstractions. Bodies are reduced to a slender line [that] they seem as if they float, defying gravity. The single aspect that suggests weight is concentrated on the hips and thighs so that the bodies end up looking like floating masses. My collection is an indirect way of honoring the female form the way Giacometti imagined it. In short, the pieces in the collection are my songs for Giacometti. The collection uses lace and tulle.
How do you see yourself contributing to the growth of Philippine fashion?
I just want to be known as a designer who makes beauty available to anyone who wants it. A woman comes to a designer hoping she can be made beautiful. I want to make that happen. That's my job as a designer, to make beauty happen. If I end up making a mark in the local fashion industry by doing that, then that's just a nice bonus.
Click on the photo gallery to view his sketches for his PEFTA 2012 collection.