A night with Robin Tomás
ALL THAT SHNAZZ - Alexei Villaraza () - September 18, 2011 - 12:00am

NEW YORK — If you’re a faithful follower of fashion, you would know that there are a couple of annual events in the Big Apple that you must be part of: New York Fashion Week, where some of the biggest names in fashion show their collections and “Fashion’s Night Out,” the one evening when stores all over New York and around the world extend their shopping hours so you can spend the night away shopping and partying with fashion insiders.

“Fashion’s Night Out” was especially exciting in its third year because of the number of celebrities and designers who came out to revel in style with fellow fashionable savants. 

Cynthia Rowley was at her Glambulance launch event, Joss Stone performed at Macy’s, Tracy Morgan hosted a mother/daughter karaoke at Valentino, Justin Bieber and Beyonce rubbed elbows at Dolce & Gabbana, Cyndi Lauper was all about girls having fun at Moschino, Nicki Minaj was at YSL, Leighton Meester sang at Tiffany & Co.; Tilda Swindon, Pringle designer Alistair Carr and Anna Wintour were at Saks, and the Missoni ladies opened the Missoni/Target pop up store by Bryant Park. 

Joining in the celebration was Filipino fashion designer Robin Tomas who launched his Fall 2011 collection at Anik Boutique on Madison Avenue.

On The Radar spoke with the New York-based designer about his first time joining Fashion’s Night Out, why he can’t be Amish, and what he has in store for Manila.

PHILIPPINE STAR: What was your first “Fashion’s Night Out” like?

ROBIN TOMAS: It was fun! The energy of the entire city, the shoppers’ moods, so many things happening at the same time everywhere in different clothing stores. It was exhilarating to be part of it.

New York-based fashion designer Robin Tomas with models wearing pieces from his Fall 2011 collection

Was there more pressure putting the show together considering “Fashion’s Night Out” is the prelude to New York Fashion Week?

I didn’t really feel pressure, but I was very excited.

Timing-wise, New York Fashion Week is currently all about Spring 2012, while what we celebrated and launched at the boutique was for Fall 2011. 

To prepare, we made sure we had fun throughout the process — from inviting guests to hiring models. We wanted to create a buzz that would attract people into the store, and at the same time, let guests enjoy and see the collection in the store in a fun way.

Explain the inspiration for your Fall collection. 

During a trip to Pennsylvania, I was transfixed when I saw an Amish family gathered in a market. I was drawn to their lifestyle and their fashion, which sort of takes you back in time, because when you think about it, they really choose to live in the past, with no electricity and all the modern amenities.

This intrigued me so much that I thought it would be a great starting point for a collection, put a twist and have it evolve from there. I also thought their traditional silhouettes and overall palette is in tune with a Fall collection, due to the long skirts and dark somber colors.

Did you have to immerse yourself in their lifestyle?

No, I didn’t. They are very insular, I couldn’t even take photos of them without them knowing. Also, I cannot imagine living without electricity. My iPad will drain in 12 hours! What will I do? ! In the end, I took sneaky shots and drew quick sketches.

Is there a reason why you chose to do pieces in black, white, and gray?

“Fashion’s Night Out” is a prelude to Fashion Week and the one evening where stores all over New York extend their shopping hours so you can spend the night away shopping and partying.

I followed my instinct with the somber colors, taking a cue from the whole Amish theme. The original collection had pops of red and the earlier studies had pops of yellow and even a faint purple. But in the end, the store, Anik, and I ended up with a bold black and ivory print and basic black, which I think are still within the theme. At the same time, still on trend as black and ivory are strong colors for the present fall season.

The collection you showed at Philippine Fashion Week was described as luxe and glamorous. How would you describe this one?

I would call the present collection subdued sophistication. 

The purpose of the Manila collection was to showcase my designs, and therefore had many different sub themes.

This collection is smaller, more ready-to-wear versus couture, yet would still be able to make the Tomas woman feel glamorous and sophisticated.

It is also luxurious, with the use of a chic print on flowy satin, lush woolen fabrics, and matte sequin knits used in smart and mixable ready-to-wear pieces.

What type of woman do you see wearing your Fall 2011 Collection?

I can envision a working well-rounded Manhattanite who has a lot on her plate — board meetings to gala benefits in one day. Another woman is a lady who lunches who wants easy, chic pieces that she can layer and mix and match for the unpredictable fall weather. They are both sophisticated, elegant, sensually chic, and calm.

“Robin does a few last-minute touch-ups on a model’s cloak.

Are there any sartorial differences between American and Filipino women?

Aside from the obvious weather limitations that dictate the range of material and silhouettes these places can wear, I think the Manila woman is very poised and elegant, while the New York woman tends to be bold and varied in terms of sartorial statements.

You will soon be coming up with a collection for a local retail brand. What can fashion-savvy Filipinos expect from that?

I’ve always believed that a statement is in half the clothes and half the person wearing them, so this is what I will imbibe in the collection. I want it easily understandable, New York in flavor and attitude, but Philippine in comfort.

Expect a sophisticated, edgy, and fun collection!

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For more on Robin Tomás go http://www.robintomas.com.

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