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WATCH: Rajo Laurel 25th anniversary fashion show |

Fashion and Beauty

WATCH: Rajo Laurel 25th anniversary fashion show

C. Mendez Legaspi -

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine fashion celebrated two milestones on October 27: Red Charity Gala’s 10th year and Rajo Laurel’s 25th year as a fashion designer. 
The Marriott Hotel Manila’s Grand Ballroom, the country’s biggest, was the venue for the year’s biggest fundraising event, organized by socialite-philanthropists Tessa Prieto-Valdes and Kaye Tinga to benefit the Philippine Red Cross, Assumption High Schol 1981 Foundation and the first scholars of the Mint School of Fashion.
Laurel is the most commercially successful fashion designer working in the trade today, with the family-run House of Laurel, which caters to his upscale clients who prefer custom-made clothes, and The Rajo Store at PowerPlant Mall and Shangri-La Plaza Mall, which offers his more affordable lines.
His overwhelming collection, “Archipelago,” is an essay that aims to resolve “What is Philippine Style?”

His sartorial answers came in a stupendous 92-piece spectacle after 18 months of research, development and extensive traveling around the country, collaborating with local weavers and artisans.
“This is my attempt on Philippine Couture,” the inspiring and enterprising designer said. “I am grateful for an amazing life highlight.”
Laurel’s show was directed by his best friend Robby Carmona, which opened with the “Pinukpok” suite modeled by supermodels Ria Bolivar, Jasmine Maierhofer and Jo Ann Bitagcol. 
“Moving sculptures! I began my 25th anniversary show with the idea of creating a narrative from a Filipino childhood fable of creation ‘Malakas at Maganda.' However, debunking the notion of gender because the Filipino woman is both strong and beautiful,” he posted on his Facebook wall.
“Vinta,” Laurel explained, “is inspired by the vintas of the Badjaos in the Sulu Archipelago. I want to capture the movements of the sails within the garment.”
“Traje” is “inspired by the graphic stripes which were fashionable in the 1900s,” he said. “I wanted to bring back this motif for the traje.”
Laurel did modern adaptations of the panuelo and used “Tritik,” a technique where he used the alibata and the Filipino alphabet as a point of design.
In “Saranggola,” he used the kite as inspiration, while in “Korales,” he was inspired by the coral formations under Philippine waters.
“A healthy dialogue is always key for an engaging proposition. My dear friend Pam Quinones and her magnificent team at Qurator Studio styled my anniversary collection. Pam told me she wanted to use ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ to cohesively tie in all the stories. How lucky were we that Jewelmer opened their hearts and vaults to showcase the sublime Philippine pearls. The (show) is the result,” Laurel related.
Twenty-five fruitful years in a fickle industry is a massive achievement, and Rajo perfectly sums up his remarkable career: “What I do is what I love and I love what I do.” — Video by Erwin Cagadas Jr.

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