The Filipina designer celebrates 10 years of fashion with a signature collection inspired by her storied archive.
Sassa Jimenez and Her Decade In Fashion
Martin Yambao (The Philippine Star) - May 31, 2019 - 12:00am

‘Now that I’m a little bit older, comfort and function are more of a priority — especially with how the tastes and needs of Filipina women evolve and change, that’s something I always have to keep in mind.’

MANILA, Philippines — Ten years ago, Sassa Jimenez made her industry debut with a 45-piece collection for Philippine Fashion Week. Her whimsical, romance-steeped world, which reimagines women’s evening wear (and sometimes menswear) as sweet, syrupy confections, has been unveiling itself before her clients, her muses and on the runway since 2008.

Fresh from graduating with a cum laude degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and interning at Italian clothing brand Miss Sixty, Sassa was pursuing the start of a career in design when she was offered a solo slot during the Philippine Fashion Week calendar.

“When they asked me to do a 40- to 45-piece look collection for my first ever show, you know — at that time, I was young, energetic and didn’t know any better, so I said yes!” Sassa marks PFW as her first big break, crediting both her early success and recognition to her first show. “I was lucky, actually, lucky to have been asked, and super lucky to have been able to manage that.”

(Left) Siobhan wears a brocade dress with puffs of manipulated tulle for shoulder detail. (Right) A sequined drop-waist gown with a ruched hem is sleek and unapologetically feminine.

Of equal billing too, of course, were the clothes — Sassa’s debut offered a respite from the sleek, color-blocked minimalism or the Gaga-esque avant-garde movement prevalent on the runways in 08/09; here was a young designer who was unapologetic about the frills and the froth. With motifs inspired by period dress, the innocence of fairytale romance, the wide-eyed optimism of old Hollywood films (basically, any era or movement that could recall a ruffle — or several), Sassa broke through with youthful and “girly” pieces that spoke to a clientele that wished for options for “occasion-dressing.” Or, in Sassa’s case, clothes that could be worn as occasions — in and of themselves.

You can see Sassa’s eye for the exquisite in her detailing, creating clothes that embrace the wearer as a muse to be seen and to be celebrated. She manipulates fabrics with laborious techniques — shirring her tulles into a bouclé-like texture for a skirt or a shoulder, tiering organza into an endless waterfall of a train. It’s in the artful beadwork that dots a dress, the sequins appliqued onto a brocade frock — always coupled with sweetheart necklines, puffed-up sleeves and drop-waist silhouettes that make up Sassa’s design codes. 

(Left) The designer lends a more provocative slant to her recent pieces, owed largely to the changing tastes of Filipina women. Seen here: a sequined bodysuit with a ruffled drop detail on the shoulders. (Right) Embroidered appliqué detail on a tulle frock for Sassa Jimenez’s 10-year anniversary collection.

Ten years and countless shows later, she still credits her 2008 debut as the basis for the shapes and signatures you can expect from Sassa’s studio today, albeit more grown up. “That collection had the same aesthetics, actually — it was all very voluminous, very feminine; it still is glamour and fantasy but you know, I’ve experimented throughout the years (laughs) and now it’s a little more subdued; now that I’m a little bit older, comfort and function are more of a priority — especially with how the tastes and needs of Filipina women evolve and change, that’s something I always have to keep in mind.”

Sassa’s decade in the industry marks a milestone for the designer. And here at YStyle, we can’t wait to see where she takes things next.

SASSA JIMENEZ
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