Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fantasy Bow Tie… A Million Dollar Dream Come True!

Hollywood, CA – World traveler, published author, horticulturist, philanthropist and international fashion designer, John Ablaza, successfully launched his Bow Tie Couture Collection at the Celebrity Theatre International on 28th of November 2015. 

The Dream…

It has been John’s long time aspiration for his humble bow ties, impeccably hand crafted by the Mangyan tribal women from Mindoro, Philippines, to have a touch of luxury… diamonds perhaps.

The Launch…

John’s dream came true, with the help of Emma Tiebens, and made possible in collaboration with equally talented designer/jeweler, Jules Barba, Founder and President of JB Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Inc. in Newport Beach, CA. 

Fantasy Bow Tie final quality check by John Ablaza and Jules Barba
Photo credits Desert Rh1no Photography

Fantasy Bow Tie collaborators, John Ablaza and Jules Barba
Photo credits Desert Rh1no Photography

Admiring the stunning Fantasy Bow Tie up close and personal
Photo credits Desert Rh1no Photography

L-R: Sheila Vertuno, John Ablaza and Jules Barba
Photo credits Desert Rh1no Photography

A top secret mission, known only to a handful of accomplices, I was thrilled (and nervous, not to make a mistake) when John asked me to go live during the fashion show finale and announce the unveiling of the million-dollar Fantasy Bow Tie donned by Filipino-Swedish Bow Tie Couture Signature Model, Devon Spence. 

Fantasy Bow Tie donned by Devon Spence

The unveiling of the Fantasy Bow Tie with 
John Ablaza (center) and models, Devon Spence and Sheila Vertuno

By the numbers:

7450 – Air miles travelled by the bow tie from Mindoro, Philippines to Newport Beach, CA to Hollywood, CA.

446 – Number of bleached coco beads hand-stitched on the bow tie.

20.9 – Carat Total Weight (ctw) or combined total weight in carats of all the diamonds in the bow tie.

19 – Number of 0.5 Carat Weight (ct) round brilliant GIA certified color D internally flawless triple excellent diamonds encrusted on the bow tie.

11.44 – Carat Weight (ct) of the round brilliant GIA certified color H internally flawless triple excellent diamond at the center of the bow tie.

10 – Total number of hours to make the bow tie; 3 hours to embroider the coco beads (not including manual labor to prepare the materials) and 7 hours to set the diamonds.

5 – Number of people discreetly involved in the Fantasy Bow Tie covert operation. Devon was the 6th to know when he wore it.

1.3 – The amount in million dollars, which the bow tie is worth. Again I say, the Fantasy Bow Tie costs $1,300,000.00!!!

It was a crisp sundown filled with anticipation… upfront, the guests walked across the red carpet frequently facing the spotlights posing for nonstop camera snaps while backstage, the models got styled in dressing tents and bundled close to the heater to stay warm.

Manny Pacquiao Foundation VIPs red carpet reception (L-R): Kevin Samejon, Leonard Espra, Lilia Lao, MJ Racadio and Ryn Canolo. 

VIP red carpet reception (L-R): Erlina Dioquino, Emma Tiebens (Bestselling Author and Show Host), Marc Anthony Nicholas (Producer of CBS "The Talk”), Elena Lapid-Salonga (Lapid Foods, Inc.), Dr. Tess Mauricio (M Beauty Clinic), Hannah Joya (Miss San Diego North County) and guest star Lisa

Christine Love and Andy Z. Edralin

Past the media wall, the limited edition Bow Tie silent auction and sumptuous hors d'oeuvres were spaciously set up, conducive for guests to bid/shop, meet and greet familiar faces. 

Intimately attended by VIPs and friends, the program commenced promptly with Christina Love’s knock out rendition of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and The Sound of Music medley, followed by the “Manny Pacquiao Foundation” all-action live auction of signed PacMan collectibles including a pair of gloves, boxing shorts, training shoes, etc. 

Special performance by Christine Love

Special performance by Christine Love

And for the much-awaited segment, a life-story video presentation introduced John Ablaza, queuing the fashion show and officially launching the Bow Tie Couture Collection.  Mainly highlighting the neckwear, the models sported an un-contoured look, pale lips and lightened brows, and paced in long subdued cyclical runway sequence, with movements intended only to draw attention to the bow ties, leading to the jaw-dropping Fantasy Bow Tie for the finale.

Bow Tie Couture Signature Model, Devon Spence

Opening number by Devon Spence

John Ablaza’s Bow Tie Couture was launched in cooperation with the Manny Pacquiao Foundation.

Sponsors: Jules Barba of JB Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Inc.; Jush Andowitt of GMA News/Life/Pinoy TV; Dr. Tess Mauricio of M Beauty by Dr. Tess; John Pham of; Norberto "Jojo" Reyes and Mildred Deang of Bb. Pilipinas USA; Nonie Bellarmino of iDance Studio; Gloria Uy of Eriel's Cafe; and MJ Racadio of BlogTalk with MJ Racadio (Publicist/Media Relations Manager).

Acknowledgements: Jade Pearl Tan & Fermin Alberto, Hair & Make-up; Edward Candido, Wardrobe Manager; Cristina Rosel, Catering; Alex Tupaz, Alex Tupaz Photography; Jhenny Evans, Jhenny Evans Photography; Jophel Morales, Jophel Morales Photography; Cesar Moscoso, Sound Mix; Mary Antoinette Ceniza, VIP/Guest Relations Manager and Production Assistant; and Sheila Vertuno aka Chasing Sheila – Fashion Show Director and Stage Manager.

And as expected, the party continues back at the red carpet!

The Legacy…

Mindful of the true reason for this defining moment, John Ablaza Couture is not only known for glamour and fashion as he designs for the society matrons and celebrities in the Philippines all the way to the royalties of Middle East. The brand is also admired for its advocacy to protect the environment and help preserve Mother Nature’s bounty.
John is highly inspired by the native environment that surrounds him and all the beautiful things nature has to offer. His fascinating designs incorporate earth-friendly and organic elements such as coconut shells, wood beads, plant seeds, tree barks, reed grass fibers, sea shells and many more.

Expanding his vision from eco-conscious fashion to creating a sustainable livelihood for his “kababayans,” John collaborated with the grand matriarch of the Ayala clan in the Philippines, Dna. Bea Zobel Ayala who championed the Iraya-Mangyan Project. Committed to educate and train the indigenous community of Puerto Galera Oriental Mindoro Philippines, John dedicated his time to mentor the tribal women and local artisans to hone their beading and embroidering techniques utilizing natural materials.

With locally sourced and manually processed organic substance, each and every piece of John Ablaza Couture, including the Bow Ties, is delicately handmade and embellished by the Mangyans, with a mission and promise to continue to bring them more work and improve their welfare. While the designer gowns are bespoke pieces for evening wear and red carpet events, John launched his Bow Ties as lifestyle accessories to create and sustain the Mangyan livelihood program.  Help support this worthy cause and advocacy by visiting the and use limited time exclusive promo code “ChasingSheila10” at checkout to get 10% OFF of already reduced Bow Tie prices. Ideal stocking stuffer for the holidays, it’s a gift that gives!

Here's a clip about the Bow Tie Couture's humble journey...

The Work Continues…

It has been a rewarding year for John Ablaza, with his brand and advocacy continuing to grow recognition and patronage.  John’s work-life balance takes him back to the Philippines for a few days of holiday bash with his family, alongside business and production meetings.  With notable accomplishments, John is inspired to do even more…

May 2015 - John Ablaza’s “Couture & Culture” U.S. tour debut at the Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix AZ.

June 2015 - “Jose Rizal Travelling Museum by John Ablaza” at the Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale AZ. Chosen by the National Centennial Commission in 1998, John was appointed to recreate a replica of the wardrobe of Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines, in conjunction with the 100th year celebration of Philippine Independence. 

July 2015 – “Couture & Culture Gala Fashion Show” and “Jose Rizal Travelling Museum by John Ablaza” with Ryan Cayabyab’s Noli Me Tangere – The Musical presented by Teatro Pilipino USA at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Cerritos, CA.

November 2015 – “Rizaliana Collection” by John Ablaza presented by the Philippine International Aid, in partnership with Western Union and Philippine Airlines at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, Ca.

November 2015 – “Bow Tie Couture Collection” official launch event at the Celebrity Theatre International in Hollywood, CA.

March 2016 – U.S. west coast event to be announced (TBA)

April 2016 – U.S. east coast events TBA

May 2016 – Canada events TBA

Summer 2016 – Western Europe events TBA

Fall 2016 – Asia events TBA

Definitely more eco-couture to look forward to! What are your fashion fantasies for 2016? Let’s connect online, send me a message or tweet me at  “Chasing Sheila” on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

‘Til the next ish dolls. In the meantime, get your FASH on, keep styling and make a fashion scene!

Photo credits: Jhenny Evans Photography, Desert Rh1no Photography and Oliver Carnay


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