Rajo Laurel.
The millennial bride
UPTOWN/DOWNTOWN - Joanne Zapanta-Andrada (The Philippine Star) - July 21, 2019 - 12:00am

For this bridal fashion editorial, Uptown/Downtown collaborated with top designers Rajo Laurel, Ito Curata, Luis de los Santos and Albert Andrada. The couturiers not only shared their latest creations but gave insights on their creative process, sartorial inspirations as well as tips on how to acquire the perfect wedding gown!

Rajo Laurel

Laurel’s take on a modern wedding gown certainly turns heads. The wedding gown, made from a light cream silk crepe de chine, features a high round-neck line and long fitted sleeves. The silhouette is that of a classic semi-serpentine that ends in a chapel train. The wedding gown is decorated with hand-drawn cranes and peonies. The gown’s patterns were meticulously hand-beaded using the tiniest glass caviar beads from Murano, Italy. Laurel’s creation has a decidedly Japanese flavor in its detail.

Laurel has three important tips on acquiring the perfect wedding gown: “First, nothing is really perfect. Enjoy the journey in your search and have fun. Often, the pressures of finding the best wedding gown is so daunting as this is the most important dress you will ever wear in your life. Although this may be true, it is always important to always have fun. When anxiety creeps in, take a pause and start again. Second, be honest — to yourself, to your designer,  to your future mother-in-law. Honesty in all its forms. What you can wear, what you can spend, what you want. This should always take precedence over anything. Lastly, find a designer that you trust and feel comfortable with. As designers, we feel and sense this trust. Once we have gained this, we can do wonders for you. If there is any doubt, we feel this, too, and I find it difficult if the client does not trust our craft and services. Once you feel this faith and trust, it really becomes a magical experience.”

(Call House of Laurel at 895-5688. It is located at Brgy. Poblacion, 6013 Escuela cor. Manalac Sts., Makati City.)

Ito Curata

Curata’s gown is an off-white, corded French lace, quasi-serpentine gown with a two-tiered, ruffled hemline. The dress is partially beaded with Swarovski crystals and bugle beads. The upper bodice has a see-through, fine mesh, V-shaped covering just below the neckline and the back of the gown is open to the waist.

Ito Curata.

Asked what brides should look for in terms of gown styles, Curata has this to share: “Every bride should recognize and understand her body type as well as what she perceives are the ‘plusses and minuses.’ Also, she must have a basic understanding as to what she is looking for when it comes to color, neckline, silhouette, fabric, embellishments, and, of course, a realistic idea as to what she is willing to pay for the gown. The final gown design should be a collaborative process between the bride and the designer.

“In my opinion, 80 percent of the final design should reflect her idea of the ‘perfect’ gown and the remaining 20 percent should be the designer’s input. The designer’s role is to validate the client’s ‘likes and dislikes,’ as well as offering solutions to possible problems involving the style, fabric, the overall look or practicality of the design. My primary goal is to make the bride look beautiful on her special day; the dress is only one component of the overall look. It’s her day, not mine.”

Curata cannot overly stress the importance of appropriating ample time for design planning and fittings. He explains, “First, lead time is very important. Four to six months is needed for a couture/custom-made gown. If the bride is interested in having a gown made-to-order, bridal fashion shows, recommendations of friends, and bridal magazines are good places to obtain ideas. Once the bride-to-be has a list of two or three potential designers whose previous design creations resonate with her, she should gather up her notes and wish lists and ask to meet with the potential designers to determine whether the ‘chemistry’ is right. Also, a good designer should be able to give her a price range for the future gown based on her list of requirements as well as the designer’s suggestions. Finally, a note of caution: involving too many friends and relatives in the design process often makes the process more difficult, lengthier and frequently is very upsetting to the bride-to-be.”

(Call Ito Curata at 0917-8584535. His atelier is located at 171 Saranggani St., Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City.)

Luis ‘Chito’ de los Santos

De los Santos’ creation is a gown made of off-white eyelet lace over beige material with silver lame lining in a line silhouette, a plunging neckline and baby butterfly sleeves. Embellished waistband in gazaar combination with calla lily flowers and handpainted leaves with crystals decorates the neckline and the skirt.

Luis de los Santos.

De los Santos shares, “My inspiration for my bridal gown is the calla lily. It means beautiful in Greek and also symbolizes purity and faithfulness, which I believe is the best representation of a bride.”

His advice on what brides should consider in a gown varies from the practical to the technical. “These days, brides-to-be look for bridal gown photos for inspiration, but one thing they have to consider is their body proportion and height. They have to choose carefully which silhouette would suit them best. For example, if the bride is less than 5’3” and has a voluptuous body structure, then a voluminous ball gown will make her look shorter. Also consider the weight of the gown as you do not want to look tired from dragging your overweight gown all over the wedding venue before the party ends. Brides should also look for bridal gown design that would best suit their personality, along with their budget, of course, and comfortability because you don’t want to be uncomfortable in a gown all night.”

(Contact Chito de los Santos at 0967-2134736 or e-mail chitangdls@yahoo.com. His atelier is located at Room 3-1, 2551 Don Pedro St. cor. Bautista St. Malate, Manila.)

Albert Andrada

Andrada’s bridal ensemble is an off-white lace in a mermaid silhouette with a detachable train, which makes the gown more grand. The bodice is embellished with intricate beadwork with Swarovski components. The back is accentuated with a keyhole beadwork to make it more feminine.

Albert Andrada.

On his bridal design inspiration, Andrada shares, “My design inspiration is always of the bride who will be wearing my creation. That’s why it is important for the bride to go for her consultation. I get inspired with the couple’s love stories — how they met and how they knew that they found the love of their life. Their stories help me conceptualize the perfect gown for her.”

For Andrada, the secret to achieving the best wedding gown ever is a combination of time and open communication with the designer. “A designer can be a bride’s artist and confessor. It is to him or her that you communicate all the hopes and dreams that you wish to be embodied in your wedding gown. Yes, we are well aware that this is the most important gown you ever will wear in your entire life and, yes, we take this very seriously. Every responsible couturier will do his or her share to make your gown as beautiful and spot-on as possible. However, we are not magicians and we can never achieve this without your inputs. Creating a wedding gown is a process that requires time and feedback. Having a long lead time is greatly appreciated. Do not be afraid to tell us exactly what you think. Take time to constantly keep your fitting appointments and do try to avoid any eleventh hour weight loss or gain that would make adjustments difficult.”

Another unique tip of Andrada, “Once a bride agrees on the design, she should forbid herself from looking and searching different styles as not to make her confused.”  

(Call Albert Andrada at 622-5760. His atelier is located at 2nd Level, Greenbelt 5, Makati City.)

 

Photography by JOANNE ZAPANTA-ANDRADA • Model: ALEXANDRA CAMUS • Makeup and hairstyling by Raz Rimor (Tel. no. 0906-3673269) • Floral bouquets by FLORIADE FLOWER SHOP (Tel. no. 893-8862) • Production coordinator: Bambi Torres-Camus • Shot on location at Champagne Room and Tap Room of THE Manila Hotel • Special thanks to Kim Tan of The Manila Hotel

ALBERT ANDRADA RAJO LAUREL
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