Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Philippine Couture Takes the Desert by Storm

This year’s Phoenix Fashion Week, held at Talking Stick Resort on October 2-4, 2014, was a record breaker in many ways.  Attendance hit a record high; 7 out of 13 emerging designers vying for the 2014 Designer of the Year are locally based; and, for the 3rd year in a row, Philippine haute couture graced the runway for the finale.  In fact, a total of 5 Filipino couturiers took the stage, with 3 of them closing each night of the event! How cool is that!?!   

Albert Andrada

Click here for more Albert Andrada photos by Desert Rh1no Photography.

The crowd ooh-ed and aah-ed as the “Cultured Couture Eveningwear” by Albert Andrada, closed the first night. Absolutely red carpet worthy!  Who could forget Paris Hilton in Andrada’s fully sequined ivory dress sans undies at the 2014 Grammy Awards?

A true visionary, Albert was tapped by the luxury furnishings brand, Ethan Allen for an unforgettable collaboration.  When I asked about his inspiration behind "The New Eclecticism" launched in September 2014, he said, “This is one collaboration I will never forget, a very challenging project for me. Ethan Allen collaborated with 3 designers. One coming from the Interior design industry, another is an Accessory designer and myself from the Fashion designing industry. They decided to come up with a different concept, ideas coming from artists in different fields. My inspiration is the blue and white china porcelain. The whole concept of the design is oriental and old Hollywood glam.”

Albert will be representing the Philippines in the upcoming prestigious, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Asia to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on October 20-22, 2014.

Aris Pico

Click here for more Aris Pico photos by Desert Rh1no Photography.

Growing up, Aris was inspired by dresses donned by “sagalas” (translation: maiden) in traditional Flores de Mayo or Santa Cruzan.  He then dreamt of creating magical gowns for the women in this once a year novena procession remembering St. Helena’s mythical finding of the cross.  Dreams came true for this talented and hardworking young designer, who debuted his first collection in Philippine Fashion Week. 

Aris’ inner lacing, vine-like embroideries and embellishments, pearls and crystal details that screamed feminine glamour was a dazzling finale on the 2nd night of Phoenix Fashion Week. The final dress reminded of a fairytale ending!

Kenneth Harion

Cebu native, Kenneth Harion is quickly making a name in America and Middle East.  While currently based in Kuwait, he has stimulated interests in Hollywood, attracting celebrities the like of Beyonce.

Kenneth's collection can be described as artful glitz and glamour.  The dancing colors of aurora borealis hotfix, sparkling Swarovski crystals and intricate beading details are hard to miss! I won't be surprised to see these gowns in major red carpet events. 

Yen Bari

Click here for more Yen Bari photos by Desert Rh1no Photography.

After leaving his nuclear medical profession in 2009, Yen Bari realized his passion and talent in couture designing. Quickly noticed by the ruling families in the United Arab Emirates, he would exhibit his collections only to high profile dignitaries before releasing to the general public.  Previewed only to royalties, I would love to witness the dramatic execution of his "Ode to Melancholy" collection, made of recycled materials such as rubber and plastic, and inspired by his sad and dark side.

While he showcased only a few of his white dresses in Phoenix, Yen’s whole bridal collection is elegant and sophisticated. That I would also like to see!

Yen is the first Abu Dhabi designer to historically showcase at London Fashion Week.  In less than 5 years, his captivating designs have landed in London Fashion Week, Metropolitan Fashion Week, and Los Angeles Fashion Week runways.  Phoenix Fashion Week now also adds to the list.  

The House of Yen has branches in the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.

Rocky Gathercole

Click here for more Rocky Gathercole photos by Desert Rh1no Photography.

Just 2 weeks after London Fashion Week 2014, Rocky jetted back to the desert by invitation, again for the grand finale of Phoenix Fashion Week. This time, Rocky Gathercole Atelier brought his jaw-dropping 25-year anniversary collection, “Celebration of Colours.” Rocky’s creations were bold and unapologetic; reflective of the dark, colorful, playful and glamorous transitions in his life and career journey. 

The Avant Garde Knight is grateful for a roster of A-list celebrity clients like Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Jordin Sparks, Bai Ling and many more.  Yet, Rocky is so down to earth and always quick with a punch line.  He is quite funny!  Read about my one on one with Rocky here, including a full video of his collection. 

A league of his own, Rocky says, “Women’s fashion is boundless! However, most people only see what they want to see.  My creations are not for everyone, especially not for the ‘boxed’ mind.”

From Phoenix, Rocky will make a quick stop at his atelier in For the Stars Fashion House in Los Angeles before heading to Asia to support the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines (FDAP) runway show in November.  

Rocky Gathercole’s flagship store in Quezon City, Philippines houses elaborate wedding gowns, eveningwear, editorial creations and art pieces. By popular demand, Rocky’s atelier is set to hit Canada and New York before the end of the year.

Thank you Phoenix Fashion Week and For the Stars Fashion House for bringing internationally renowned haute couture to the Valley of the Sun.  Rumor has it that Phoenix Fashion Week will continue to showcase Filipino designers in the future. Can't wait! Applause!!!

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