Rajo Laurel has learned his lesson

Bea J. Ledesma - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Last Sunday, Rajo Laurel celebrated his birthday with 500 of his closest friends at a hotel ballroom. The designer marked the occasion with a show for Samsung MetroWear to honor his 20 years in fashion. Though he has another gala in the works, scheduled in mid-November, Laurel painted the town red, white and black in looks that showcased his oeuvre.

YStyle chatted with the designer about the hardest lesson every designer must learn and making over Barbie.

Happy birthday! How’d you celebrate first thing in the morning?

I’m a morning person. I woke up at 6 a.m., checked the stage and ballroom then had a great morning exercise at the Raffles gym because  in my mind #fitnessisfashion. LOL! After that, I celebrated Holy Mass in the ballroom where I was going to have the show. It is a ritual and a tradition for me to have my entire space blessed before a big event.

How would you describe the collection?

It was deeply personal.

Is there a look from this collection that you couldn’t have made 10 years ago?

Perhaps 10 years ago I could not have done certain things — like editing the collection to make the vision clearer.  As a designer, you get attached to each and every thing you create and it’s difficult to take things out.  However now that I am older I am able to look at things from a different perspective. If it does not work then I remove it immediately. I also perhaps am even more disciplined: two weeks before the show, all the clothes were done and ready. I couldn’t feasibly have done that when I was starting out.

This is a milestone year for you. Do you remember how it all began?

My first memories of actually creating fashion were for my sister’s Barbie dolls. I would steal the Barbies and change them into clothes I made from old stockings, scarves and what not. It made my sisters so angry and upset because when they woke up their Barbies had green hair!

My first real client was my lola Betty. We had a stay-in seamstress at home and she would do most of the sewing for Lola’s house. Like tea towels, aprons and house dresses. Then one day I went up to my lola and asked her to change the design of the house dress that she was having Aling Charing make. Lola gamely obliged and made me a fabulous boiled chicken cocido dinner as payment.  LOL!  I was 10 years old.

What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned so far?

I am intrinsically a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy all the time. However I have learned that, try as you may, you can never please everyone. If you don’t realize this, you will end up just extremely frustrated. The best you can do is just to do your best and surround yourself with real, authentic friends and family who love you no matter who and what you are.

Best experience so far?

My life is my best experience! I would not trade any single day of it for anything.

Whose career in fashion do you admire?

I admire the talent of Alexander McQueen; I think he is a true genius. The tenacity of Karl Lagerfeld. I love the business mind of Calvin Klein. The power of Tom Ford. And the love and authenticity of endearment that Alber Elbaz represents.  If I could have dinner with all of them at one point in time then that would be mind boggling.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I see myself wiser, stronger, healthier, kinder, calmer and — God willing — doing the same thing: which is creating clothes that empower and make women beautiful.

How did you end the day, on your birthday?

I had an after party with all my crazy friends, dancing like no one was watching! It was so much fun, we removed all our shoes and just danced, danced and danced. I’ll show you a nutty video when I see you.  LOL!









  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with