Rajo Laurel restores Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan's wedding dress for daughter Ella
MANILA, Philippines — Ella Pangilinan, daughter of Maricel Laxa and Anthony Pangilinan, wed Enrique Lhuillier-Miranda wearing a revival of Maricel's own wedding dress, thanks in part to designer Rajo Laurel.
Maricel and Rajo are high school classmates and Ella would often accompany her mother's visits to Rajo's studio, igniting her love for design.
In an Instagram post, Rajo recalled the mother and daughter reaching out to meet him. Maricel brought along her wedding gown designed by the late National Artist Jose "Pitoy" Moreno.
Rajo had Ella try on Maricel's gown, noting that it overwhelmed her petite frame. The designer was enamored by its beautiful and interesting beadwork, and thus thought of restoring the original dress.
"I thought that if I could salvage this and transfer this into a silhouette that would be perfect for Ella," said Rajo. "I then went into a full restoration mode cleaning and bringing the embroidery back to life."
The designer called the project seamless. He thought Ella was "breathtaking" in the final output, leaving Rajo grateful to be able to study the works of his past idols.
"One of the key philosophies that have always guided my designs are Heritage and Timelessness. Most specially when I design wedding gowns," Rajo continued. "To be part of ones life's most important life highlights is a true blessing. I am so privileged and honored to have been able to do this for my friends."
Rajo ended by wishing Ella and Enrique a lifetime of bliss. He was also among the guests at the couple's wedding last Thursday.
Both Ella and Maricel thanked Rajo for the work he put into designing the wedding dress, with Maricel saying, "the very special work of art made with love and passion." She also noted that Rajo's work honored the late Pitoy.
Rajo quipped that Ella's wedding gown could be saved for another generation in her family. Ella is the elder sibling to actor Donny, Hannah, Benj and Solana.
Other celebrities who expressed their awe at Rajo's efforts include Karen Davila, Ruffa Gutierrez, Pinky Webb, Bianca Gonzales and Rica Peralejo.
To top it all off, Rajo also created a new dress for Maricel to wear at Ella's wedding, a contemporary Terno made from a bright "Bougainvillea" pink silk chiffon, highlighted by linear embroidery and accented by minute sugar Swaworvski crystals.
The Terno also had a removable overlay with a dramatic bow or shawl, which Rajo commended as both traditional and modern, and he was elated to see Maricel enjoying Ella's wedding party in the dress.