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Filipino Phenotype: #Carljancrewz Takes Over The Runway |


Filipino Phenotype: #Carljancrewz Takes Over The Runway

Martin Yambao, MJ Benitez - The Philippine Star
Filipino Phenotype: #Carljancrewz Takes Over The Runway
TRESemmé sets the stage for London-trained Filipino designer Carl Jan Cruz’s first Philippine presentation. YStyle gives you the rundown on this year’s edition of Runway Ready 2018.

MANILA, Philippines — It was a Tuesday night in Manila, and Carl Jan Cruz debuted his clothes on a Philippine runway for the very first time. Having previously showcased his collections in Paris and Milan (trained at the London College of Fashion, and currently stocking his pieces at NY-based multi-brand concept boutique Maryam Nassir Zadeh), the young designer put out a 40-piece collection in collaboration with TRESemmé, a hair brand made for the runway, and used by professionals.

He calls his collection #CarlJanCrewz. But prior to Tuesday’s show, it was also the identifier that captured the universe of friends, family and fans who followed CJ’s brand — people who wore and understood his clothes. And, as evidenced by the packed front row that night (including TRESemmé’s newest brand ambassador Kim Jones, a member of #CarlJanCrewz herself, clad in an embroidered organza shell from the designer), they’re not few or far between.

“I feel very like I am home,” writes the designer in a post-show e-mail. “It’s really nice to finally be able to create something to celebrate with the #CarlJanCrewz.”

Attended by the industry, his family, his closest friends — making up the aforementioned legion of #CarlJanCruz, on and off the runways — guests were seated in front of seven-foot LED projections (very #production) inside the converted construction space cum parking garage at BGC’s One Parkade.

The show was segmented into three sections, chopped up into different vignettes in collaboration with TRESemmé’s in-house hair experts Lourd Ramos and Victor Ortega. Hairstylist Suyen Salazar also revealed a new hair trend named “The Thread,” reimagined in collaboration with CJ himself.

Eventually, out came the models, a street cast coup of creatives, collaborators and friends — it was an all-inclusive mix of people with diverse gender binaries, skin complexions (mostly brown, a rare thing), statures and sizing. This isn’t a new thing for the designer’s oeuvre; he’s consistent in imaging a sense of home, a sense of inclusivity in his clothing. CJ notes: “The clothing of each garment is something I feel deeply attached to and I am grateful that it resonates with a diverse group of people and it all naturally fell into that direction.” 

And, of course, there were the clothes. Carl Jan Cruz always describes his work as a continuing visual autobiography that he’s come to write and re-write — over and over — until what’s left are pieces that are well-worn, elegant yet undone interpretations of his experiences or his emotions. He often comes back to the words “honest, discreet and intimate” as the tent poles of his identity and brand vision.

The runway was filled with exactingly tailored shells in denim and canvas that moved beautifully. There were both new and old propositions here; some revisited and some seemingly the same as in older CJ collections — but it didn’t distract from the whole.

Some pieces lent themselves to their own kind of theater — hemlines were uneven but intentional. Volumes exaggerated but controlled. In raw cottons and silk cut tops, the waist of an exaggerated trouser folded out into a mini dress on the runway. All set to the eclectic soundtrack of Bjork, transitioning to Fashion TV-esque EDM, to the downtown beats of Filipina emcees K-Rizz and Ruby Ibarra. Of the show’s robust beat, CJ writes: “It’s actually music we’d play at work and each has become sentimental.”

To the unfamiliar eye, these garments may seem hard to understand amid the multitude of details — in the gather of ruched organza, embroidered with contrast stitching; in exposed seams, reversed and finished on the outside; the denim patchwork, exaggerated cuffs, the intentional fraying­­ — you can go on and on, and as evidenced in these clothes, a microscopic approach to fit and detailing has become a signature of the Carl Jan Cruz aesthetic.

If one isn’t a believer yet, all you have to do is look closer — because for the uninitiated, there will always be a lot to discover. And that’s always been CJ’s triumph.

On what’s next for the designer: “I want to go back and revisit my thoughts and create again. I feel that, these days, thinking is something I care to make time for in contrast with just doing.”  

Runway Ready 2018 #CarlJanCrewz wasn’t set in London, Paris or Milan, but the clothes were just as cogent as anything you could see on the world’s runways. Bravo.


(Left) The Thread by Suyen Salazar. (Right) Twists and Turns by Victor Ocampo.

Using the new TRESemmé Range and Professional Series, models’ manes are styled to imbibe the #CarlJanCrewz spirit. With Lourd Ramos’ NYFW-inspired “The Pin and Go,” tresses are tied low into bubble ponytails, with silver bobby pins crisscrossing at the side. Meanwhile, Victor Ortega’s “The Twist and Turn” — another style inspired by the New York runways — offered an ultra-cool, contemporary take on the tried and tested ‘do. Textured strands served as the base for the look, styled with skinny side twists and loose, twisted ponytails. The final set, dubbed “The Thread,” is a special collaboration between Cruz and hairstylist Suyen Salazar. With strips of fabric from the designer serving as key accents, hair is styled in various ways, from messy updos interlaced with the signature CJC striped fabric to half and high ponytails.

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