How do you feel about being a PEFTA finalist this year?
Honored, happy, humbled, and I am very excited with the knowledge and experience that I will learn throughout this event.
What motivated you to study fashion design?
When I learned that my grandmother is a prima burdadora, and my mom and aunt created beautiful gowns when they were young. I hope their gifted blood also runs through my atherosclerotic veins.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I am still on the quest of finding what my true design aesthetic [is], but I think I'm leaning towards the elegan[ce of couture].
Please tell us about the portfolio you submitted to Preview. What is the concept behind it? How does it tie in with this year's theme, Silhouette?
The concept developed in my mind in mid-December of 2011 when I sat in the front seat of a jeepney. I was just staring at the hairline-finished hood of the vehicle [when] suddenly I was inspired [by the] stainless steel material. Back at home I researched the medieval era or the Middle Ages where protective gear and armor were a ready-to-wear thing. Anyway, I was particularly enthused by the French revolution when Charles VII was crowned as the king of France because of Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc).
I immediately decided that she will be the center of my inspiration; her transitions, accomplishments, successes and failures, her keen forecast in warfare that always led her to victory. These factors are the general ideas that [are] reflected in my designs. I created one look in a day or two and while I [was] creating the shapes, I thought of her leading an army of men behind her.
Considering the premise of the competition, The Silhouette Reinvented, [I focused on] the "opposed" placement of reshaped collars, inverted skirt shapes, knee slits, gauntlets and armor-shaped tops and bustiers [with a] mixture of hard and light materials. All of [these] reflect Joan’s experiences and brave entrance to do a man’s job. I did not want the collection to be completely androgynous; I just wanted it to be unusual, placing every element and detail in an unexpected position and opposite point, which gives a new silhouette that coheres with the theme.
Please tell us about the piece that the Preview editors selected for you to execute.
The Preview editors picked the look that I did not expect them to pick. In the lineup, it was [placed] before the start of the long gowns. It is a black, above-the-knee dress; it has a gauntlet-shaped skirt but arranged in an inverted manner. The top part is inspired by an intricate confession screen of a church, which connects with the layered bustier to form a shell progression.
I was afraid that I could not finalize the materials. I plan to use a shiny satin crepe for the bustier and the inverted gauntlet skirt. The material I chose for the top part is pansy linen. The technique I would use is the trial and error technique, and I hope it would lead to trial and success. I think the hardest part is to make the skirt stand. The concept of the standing collar is one of the things I would consider to help me achieve this look.
Where do you get your inspiration? Who are your style influences/inspirations?
I get inspiration mainly from art, moods, and music. My style influence would be mainly my brain; if I think it could work, then it should work. Or when it occasionally does not do the job, I usually go to places to research on different genres and eras to find a concrete idea to create a meaningful design.
Which artists do you admire most, both local and foreign? How does your aesthetic resonate with theirs?
I am easily moved by Lanvin, Rodarte and McQueen. Locally, I don't want to sound biased or anything, but before I joined the competition, I always told my designmates that I want to intern with Inno Sotto. I think the elegance and unpredictable designs of his collections is the thing I look up to.
What accomplishments in your budding career are you most proud of?
As of now, I am most proud of the first dress I created when I was a freshman in our design school. It was worn by my fellow design classmate at Philippine Fashion Week last 2011 and it was featured in a fashion website. It was a sign and a validation for me that I have something within me that could excel in this field.
What aspect of fashion design do you seek to master?
I seek to master everything, although in reality I know that it is not possible in our lifetime. I plan to utilize my knowledge to the extent that I could possibly attain.
How do you envision yourself evolving as a designer?
I want to evolve with substance. After this competition, maybe after winning or losing, I would like to be able to convey my message clearly through design.
How do you see yourself contributing to the growth of Philippine fashion?
I would like to see myself contributing to the growth of our fashion industry subconsciously or unintentionally. I believe that one should not force anything to develop. I tend to follow my instincts and gut feelings in my designs and I want to showcase it not just by the fact that I proved that I made a good anthology to contribute, but I made something that could define people for who they are and at the same time express my substance in a collection.