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Martin
17 December 2012 @ 12:06 am
Hey guys! I can't believe 2012 is already over! YEAR OF THE DRAGON~ I remember telling myself growing up that upon the coming of the next Dragon Year, I'd bust out a mutation of some sort and rule the Earth. Clearly that hasn't happened. So here's a little segment I'd like to call: things I've done in the past month.


We shot, published and launched the House of Laurel Holiday 2012 Collection!


The collection is called HANAMI or flower-watching in Japanese. Aren't those pants sick? Sadly, I'm not convinced yet that I can pull them off. Lol!







This is the first time we featured a really elaborate set for one of our books. We took a wooden arch and tacked on these giant paper flowers to create some texture. We decided on an all-white backdrop to still have the clean, minimal counterpoint to the clothes. To see the full process and more BTS shots, check out my boss' blog for more.


The cover shot!


As with every collection, it's a lot of making do with what minimal space we've got!


Thank you to Enzo Mondejar (photographer), Yves Camingue (stylist), Mark Familara (hair), Jarwin Manosa of MAC (make-up) and our lovely models Jodilly, Irish and Stefan.

See the rest of the photos in all their glory via http://www.rajolaurel.com!

As opposed to shooting a conventional Rajito look book for this season, we had a special collaboration with Ruffa Gutierrez and her daughters LOrin & VEnice. The LOVE collection shot by BJ Pascual!


Beautiful set elements thanks to Matet Esguerra of E-Vents!


Set furniture from Phoenix Home!


Ruffa and the girls!


Thank you to BJ Pascual (photographer), Gela Laurel-Stehmeier (Ruffa's make-up), Judy Sales (for the children's make-up), RJ dela Cruz (hair) and E-Vents for the set design.

For more, check out the generous designer spotlight by Garage Magazine December 2012-January 2013 issue on House of Laurel's RajoMan Holiday 2012 collection! Wuhoo. Pretty psyched about this, I'm really happy with the way the photos turned out. Special shout-out to the inimitable Gabby Cantero for shooting these. Super kilig, tbqh. I had fun during this shoot.


Simon in my favorite piece: the ISAMU Jacket.


It's chiffon, chiffon, chiffon for men right now. I'm kidding but hey, I love this look.


Brocade! An alternative for evening.


Looking super suave! Thank you Garage Magazine (Rey Ilagan, Adrianne Concepcion and Leo Balante for this feature!) and Gabby Cantero for the awesome photos.

And for something I feel really excited about, grab a copy of the Rogue December 2012-January 2013 issue because I did a spread for them! The brief was to come up with a style guide for table settings. The only direction was that it will be a top shot and basically to capture the Rogue reader's table--basically, an affluent gentleman with discerning taste.

It was quite the experience, nothing quite like what I'm used to on a normal basis. Basically, it was the pulling-out that was both trying yet very educational hahaha. Trying because I've never done it before and educational because there really is a wealth of stuff out there. Shout out to AC+632 and W17! It's the lure of consumerism people, get with it!


Out on news stands now! My first time in #Publishing HAHAHA and for Rogue to boot. Love this magazine!


Here it is! As grabbed from Zinio (thanks Thysz!) in its full spread glory. HAHAHA I'm proud of it as a first attempt but I honestly think the story could have been pushed more. I'm just happy it's less Martha Stewart and more Bon Appetit!

Thanks to Raymond Ang for taking a chance on me! And to Mano Lotho for the last minute saves, super grateful for this. Now on to the #DailyGrind and let's get 2k13 started!

P.S

On the fitness front! I've been doing well in terms of fitness (now weight loss, is a whole other story--I'm still on 215-220lbs).

I've broken through both my 3x5 Squat PR (295lbs + bar) and 3x5 Chest Press (155lbs + bar). Continuous gains on my jump rope skills and the fact that I've maintained a three week streak of doing a trail run every Sunday.

I plan to continue this well into 2013, reinforcing it with a well thought-out diet. Something that is virtually impossible during the Holidays hahaha! I feel great though, isn't that what counts? Cheers!
 
 
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
Current Music: Secret - Talk that
 
 
 
Martin
11 November 2012 @ 11:38 pm
Hello, hello! It's been a while since my last update. It's been a busy past couple of months! We shot our Holiday 2012 look book, shot our Rajito LOVE collection collaboration with Ruffa Gutierrez, set up for the CITEM 2012 trade fair, had the Zuellig inauguration fashion show and then just yesterday, the launch of the LOVE Collection for Rajito. I've been nothing but work, work, work. Taking the few weekend respites I get staying at home and vegging out. Before I get to all that, let me take you back another couple of months.



Throughout the past year, I've been working side by side with Rajo developing his W by Rajo! line. Since it's pretty close to the actual process of our RajoMan development, I've been taking the reins on this one ever since. We shot our 2nd collection look book! I honestly like writing about these experiences (shows and shoots!) because I feel like this is the highlight of my job. It can be tiring and the attention to detail is exasperating, but the fulfillment and education are always there.



We shot it in Edifice Studios along Pasong Tamo. Jav Velasco shot it, Melvin Mojica styled it! Gela did the make-up and RJ dela Cruz did the hair! These are just some of the shots!



The model is Rafael do Prado from Elite! Pretty happy with how it turned out. Our concept was an "Art Dealer", which fit well with the collection's inspiration from one of Rajo's paintings.



Casual looks! Available in all SM Department stores!



The team, with W by Rajo! proprietor Penny Ngu and her team!



For a closer look at what happened that day, check out this video. Lol, don't judge my fat self!

Now back to September, a full week before the Parisian 2012 show! See previous entry to this one for that. We had a double booking for the Bench Universe 2012 Underwear show. I think it's a bi-annual show, but this year it was held for two days. For us working backstage, two days is basically a living hell for the first day and at the end of it: you'll have to clean up and make sure that you're ready for the day after. Hahaha! It wasn't pretty but it did make for a good show!



Rajo's segment for the show was Timeless. His direction was basically the year 2200 when it's already the future but both aliens and humans alike are still pandering towards Bench for their underwear needs. Lol, well internally that was our brief! Rajo translated the idea into these aliens in technicolor.

The concept needed a full-on set of body paint artists to come in, and my task was to oversee the "production". In short I was there both days, armed with Rajo's sketches, 4 artists, the actual paint and 15 models to accomplish. It was nothing short of a nightmare at the time.



Painting a model would take almost three hours, from start to finish. But thankfully, for both days, we managed it fine and well. In addition to the four artists, I was already painting bodies. The models were painting themselves and each other. It was funny! But I'm sure it was worth it, the final effect when they finally walked under the black light of the SM Arena stage was kinda epic.



To realize the vision even further, Rajo collaborated with Leeroy New to make these custom glow-in-the-dark pieces! The overall effect was great! Of course, it was a pleasure also to work side by side with Leeroy also. Genius levels!



Jiro as a full-on alien warrior!



Our girls right before the first walk!



The sweetest celebs you will ever meet: Enzo Pineda and Rocco Nacino for our segment! Love these guys!



Kathryn Bernardo in Leeroy New's galactic body armor! Looked amazing under the lights!



Rocco killing it!

The full two days backstage were made more fun because for every down moment, I'd run to the celebrity (uy!) holding area to meet up with Janine.



I am but a lowly serf next to the majesty that is Janine Gutierrez in her Ezra Santos regalia! HAHAHA thanks for sticking it out with me, even if I was caught "green-handed" half the time. Effing paint.



As far as last looks go, this is us with Sarah Lahbati HAHAHA. No comment except, LOVE HER.

At the end of the day, I feel blessed with the opportunity to have been able to be a part of grand things like this. The experience has been invaluable and I truly have been learning a lot. I just need to channel all of these things into something bigger, further down the line. That's the challenge now! Cheers.

P.S

As some form of bonus (which I'm sure you could've lived without receiving), check out our Halloween 2012.



Lol we had the bright idea of dressing up as sheep because Luna (my sister's daughter!) dressed up as Little Bo Peep. HAHAHA my Lola made these costumes! If you notice, I'm in sensible separates, Maia's in a bubble dress and Miguel is in an effing onesie. We kept it super literal but ended up looking a lot like wolves in sheep's clothing.

But really, this was my peg:



HAHAHA long live T-ara!
 
 
Current Mood: quixoticquixotic
Current Music: Epik High feat. Lee Hi - It's Cold
 
 
 
Martin
30 September 2012 @ 11:50 pm
Holy wow, has it really been two months since I last wrote on this thing? Incroyable. Well for what it's worth, it's been a dizzy-ing past few months. Show after show after show. Oh and also, it was my birthday last month. Yaaay. Nat! It was pretty uneventful. I turned 24. One year closer to the dreaded 25th, aka quarter life crisis! Time just moves so fast, life is very short and all that jazz. And to think, I'm not exactly sure if I am living it. I am working for it though, that's for sure!


Me, post-schlep, backstage with our girls: Jasmine, Jodilly and Valerie!

Like I mentioned, it's been show after show this past month. It's the first time I've ever truly felt the holiday months taking its toll on the industry. The rush is almost tangible, especially for the fashion world. Every week is peppered with event after event. It's almost like a struggle for legitimacy, or even an audience. But that's a concern for another day. Let me walk you through what happened behind the scenes of our most recent show: RAJOxPARISIAN+MILANOS! Note, all photos I stole from my boss' blog. Since he basically has the best BTS pictures, and go there for a much, much, much more detailed account. Thanks to Jujiin for taking most of these!


The sharpie applied tattoos on the day of the shoot. The concept for this look was yakuza-inspired.

First up was the campaign shoot! Gosh, I wasn't heavily involved at the start of this project. I'm mostly tasked to assist when it comes to clothing collaborations, Rajo basically took the horns on this project all on his own--minimal assistance on his team for the creative aspect. So when plans came in for the campaign to be executed, I begged (well okay I didn't have to beg haha!) if I could go and assist during the shoot because I heard Vince Uy was creative directing it! And of course, BJ Pascual (my favorite photographer, naks) was shooting it.


Gela and Vince working on our model, Kseniya from Russia.

If I had any ~industry heroes~, I guess Vince would be one of them. On the onset, I didn't really have a clear idea of his role when it came to the actual shoot date. I just knew that creative directors are in charge of coming up with the concept, selecting the right people to execute, augmenting the mood etc. He did that and so much more! It was so fascinating to see him at work. It was like a mix of styling, art directing (THIS. WAS SO PRO!) and so much more. Like, I felt tired just watching him. He would dress the model, augment the composition, tell her how to pose and then some. Basically making sure that every shot BJ takes is going to be amazing. I bow down to him. So good, /spazz.


I just love the styling. And the fact that his underwear is peeking out, lol it's the nature of the hakama--culottes go under them. The pieces are things we culled from Rajo's archive of authentic Japanese garb and things we're releasing for Holiday. Watch out!


The entire village making it work. Spot me, the tallest lol. Don't I look handsome?


Some of the final images.







Like I said, I just stole these pictures so don't stone me that there are so few. Head on to Rajo's blog for everything! Two months after we shot the campaign, it was on to the launch!


Raymond Gutierrez was the host of the show! I love that we had him decked out in pieces from the holiday collection of RajoMan! Coming soon, so good.

The launch basically, consisted of a cocktail event, a fashion show and then a shopping event. In that specific order. We once again, had the pleasure of working with Saga Entertainment, led by my favorite client Robby Carmona. So event logistics goes to them, our office is tasked basically with two things: the guest list (making sure our beloved clients come) and the actual show. I had the distinct pleasure of handling the show: this basically means the clothes. Model casting and show choreography are on Saga's end.


Spot me schlepping garments upon garments while Rajo fits Ria Bolivar. Lol isn't it pathetic how in most of these pictures that "have me in them", I'm hardly even in them? Terrible.

Fortunately, this isn't the first show I've organized for Rajo. Preparing for something like this consists mainly of two things: fitting the models and the show itself. Simple right? Wrong. Fittings can either be very easy or very laborious. Remember the Bench show last time LIVING HELL in terms of the styling and sheer amount of pieces.

The process is basically a mix of model casting (who wears what, lol that could be a good website), styling and taking notes on clothing repairs. Basically the smaller the show, the less exits (looks!), the easier it is. Foresight on Rajo's part was on our side this time because the theme of our next collection is also Japan. He drew the same inspiration for this shoe collaboration and applied it to our RTW collections as well. So we had a lot to pull from in terms of the clothes. And of course, the model selection was quite--shall we say? TOTES AMAZE.

To illustrate:


Rajo trying out an obi on Jodilly. This happened a week before the show, to make time for repairs and whatnot.


Alex in a look. Love these shorts!


One of the options for Vince. Hahaha for posterity!

Basically, models come--we show Rajo the options. Options, options, options, as Rachel Zoe likes to say. Rajo chooses, we put them in the clothes and once we have the look (or lewk, depends) we snap a picture and save it for the exit board: it's a large board we tack up backstage to help us dressers make sure that each model is executed to the tee. A visual guide, if you will. Thankfully, we managed to square everything away a week before the event. So it was pretty much smooth sailing up until the show.


The girls backstage!


Our four models, lol including Mond who fit right in! Unfortunately our campaign model John Spainhour wasn't able to make the show, but we were more than happy with who we had!


The show begins! Mond goes first and talks about the collection.


Alex on the turnstile.


I adore those pants. Coming soon! Shoes are available now, now, now at an SM near you.


Our homegurl Jodilly, serving geisha realness.


I love this wind-up doll posing.


Jasmine Maierhofer to me is A+++.


For more picture stealing realness, this is Sam Adjani in his look via Stylebible! SO MAJOR.


Irish Ong in full Japanese regalia. This was clearly a moment. See the rest of the looks here.

All in all, the show was a massive success. The show (and shoes!) was well received and the sales were dizzy-ing. It was great to be a part of it, such a huge learning experience for me and I was so glad that everything looked super soigné on the runway. Couldn't be more grateful! Congratulations to my boss and the SM group! Bravo!

In a nutshell, this is my attempt to write down a gist of what I do when bigger things happen. It's one of the more exciting parts of my job! I have yet to write about the Bench Underwear Show that happened earlier in September because I'm still waiting for pictures from, ehem, Janine that we took backstage. Hahaha watch out for that! Now that was an experience, for all the wrong reasons mind you.

I guess that's all for now! What's up next for me is realizing a shoot for an upcoming collaboration for our children's line, the shoot for our Holiday 2012 look book and the launch as well. I pray for one thing and one thing only: creative confluence. That is all! More to come.

P.S

Look, Mom! I'm right next to Liz Uy here: SNAP. HAHA this conversation may or may not have occurred. Cheers!
 
 
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: Rania - Style
 
 
 
Martin
29 July 2012 @ 11:48 pm
Hello, hello! And how are we all on this terribly rainy evening? Can bring nothing but trouble down here in these parts (read: Marikina), I just hope it clears up enough tomorrow morning so I can make it to work. At any rate!

Been a crazy past couple of weeks! We shot and released our Transition 2012 look book, the team flew out to China, and we shot a campaign for one of Rajo's collaborations. Still learning, experiencing brand new things week after week. But first off, check out what we did:









The Spock and Savile 2012 collection is already out in stores! The inspiration behind the collection is a 1960's perspective on Science Fiction cinema and futurism. We tempered it with shapes and silhouettes from English tailoring to give it that extra dimension. For RajoMan, we decided to take a more sci-fi film noir approach to the clothes. Think Blade Runner with all the outerwear they used in the city. We used unconventional materials like plastic, leather and acrylic beads. As for the kids, we decided to go for spacey prints and even more flouncy shapes. Think Judy Jetson!













These are just some of the clothes! See the rest at rajolaurel.com. This is our first time shooting outside of the office, we opted to go for Jo Ann Bitagcol! This fabulous model turned photographer who shot all these effects raw. Our models with Alisa (a favorite of my favorite photographer, BJ Pascual) and Jay Jackson. Jo captured this amazing feel for us, of depicting this vintage feel of shadows blending. A naive take on sci-fi futurism. We had accessories made with Yekky Balingit of Miadore (acrylic visors and all that) plus had help from a very talented artist Leeroy New in the form of sculptural head pieces. It was our longest shoot yet! We had the pleasure of having a very talented hairstylist with us, RJ dela Cruz, who is a magician with blonde extensions and Landmark bought wigs. Make-up was courtesy of MAC Cosmetics with help from our in-house House of Laurel Salon! Great experience all in all! Can't wait to do our next one.

Sorry I don't have any behind the scenes shots! I'll leave my boss for that, lol. What I do have though, is this:



WHAT, Y'ALL! Who werq'd it best? Me or Dawn Zulueta??? Hahaha! This is me holding up a dress for a test shot! Thanks to Jo for sending this to me! This will forever be an illustration of how I operate in the store.

Cue: "Ohhh my gohhhdddd, this would look so cute on you??? If you're not going to get it, I'm gonna get it." I'd leave it up to you to guess if that happens or not. Haha!

In more news, gearing up for a really exciting shoot this week! Well, I'm really not involved with this particular project but I requested from my boss if I could come and watch. It involves a lot of the big names in the industry and I would love to see how they operate. Apart from that, there's another show coming up in September. Something verrry relevant to all our interests hahaha. Stay tuned for that!

As for the fitness front. I plateau'd. Not because of some immovable block, but because I kind of dropped the ball on this past 60 day challenge. Combination of the trip to China, the glorious food in China, the succeeding weeks of staying over late at work kind of bogged me down. But been trying to keep up with the mobility workouts and I'm making progress! So not all is lost. Looking forward to getting back on the horse!

The good news is, I'm still hovering over 213lbs as of last time I checked. Onward, ho.

P.S



Here! Have another gratuitous shot of myself! This was taken I think a month and a half ago if I'm not mistaken, it came out in Chalk Magazine August 2012 issue! Get yourself a copy, it's a good read and it only costs 95 pesos.

Lol, I have to be honest and say I'm not particularly happy with my face in that photo. HAHAHA It reminds me of the WWF logo. I kid you not. Sigh, but as always, I'm more than happy to be there. Thanks Toff for thinking of me! XO!
 
 
Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: 2NE1 - I love you
 
 
 
Martin
01 July 2012 @ 11:51 pm
Hello, hello! In fresh off the salon chair's news, I had a haircut! Difference is: I feel really good about it. I usually give it a few days of "growing in" before I feel at ease with it. I had the idea to trim the sides/back down to accommodate my recent fancy of displaying my forehead. Aka, I've been experimenting with waxinnn' my hair up into a gasp, dare I say the words, faux-hawk. Hahaha a defensive little joke I say when people invasive-ly ask(!): why is your hair all up in spikes? I just turn around and say "why ba?! My forehead deserves its own Renaissance!" HAHAHA I hope you don't read this and proceed to tell me it doesn't suit me, IRL. I don't think my fragile ego will be able to take that... Be warned! Moving on, hahaha.

It's been a while since I last updated! Let's bring ourselves up to speed, for you dear readers (all 2 and a half of you) and for future me, 2022.

I'm keeping up okay with what's been happening in my life these days. Life, meaning, my job as a Brand/Design Assistant for rajolaurel.com. I feel like I've got a solid handle on everything right now. I recently discovered that being a designer may not be for me after all. And I'm not fazed by that fact at all. I still can't tell you what it is. But what I do know is that I want to be in fashion; be it fashion marketing, editing, creative directing, merchandising or whatever I find myself doing.

I like where I am right now. I like the things that I'm doing. I am learning everything there is to learn, and frankly, I'm just taking it day by day. The experiences I've had so far (more on this later!) are slowly creeping up on me as things that I am extremely lucky to have had a hand in. Who else can say they developed a mass-market clothing collaboration? I am so grateful for the opportunity and I am living for what's coming up next. Day by day, we go.

Things could go better, more or less, but otherwise I'm content. Professionally speaking, I'm handling more and more each day. I guess it comes with experience and the trust of my superiors. The good thing is, it's not the stifling "I want to crawl under my desk" kind of load. I'm not very stressed. Frankly, I don't get very stressed at all. I get angry sometimes at certain injustices but those things really can't be helped. I'm only a year into this job and the challenges just keep on coming, I just go out and meet them as best as I can. 100%. So far, I haven't disappointed myself yet (the biggest critic) and hopefully, I won't allow myself the misfortune of disappointing the people I work with. Trabaho lang talaga! I don't think I have the time to deal with your neuroses, so back off. No tea no shade, I just want to get on with it. On to more tangible things:


We had our show last May! The Bench OJ + Rajo! Denim and Perfume collaboration! It was a massive, massive show held on the last day of Philippine fashion week!


It was quite the experience. I think the number of talents (we had to dress, at least) was something short of a hundred! Backstage was quite the clusterfuck, thank God there was only one look each for everyone.


Enchong Dee plus the other celebrities. Boy can he dance, I was so surprised! He brought out moves that never saw the light of day during rehearsal.


Slick moves, all in our Bench OJ! + Rajo denim! Styled with a lot of pieces from House of Laurel. RajoMan reprezint, y'all!


Mah gurlll (well, okay I barely spoke two words to her) Sarah Lahbati serving Park Avenue realness hahaha.


My personal highlight of that night! The G-Force Angels pulling out some Kazaky!


The model walk off! Sweet versus salty hahaha.


Preppy boys moving in on our glamazons.


Love the headpiece on Joey Mead!


The final crush!


The perfume models! Cough.


The Rajo Uno, Rajo Dos dance-off!


Rajo + the ANTM Girls in House of Laurel! Allison and Dominique! Shot next to Ben Chan and Georgina Wilson!

It was quite the show, definitely something different from the rest of the shows during Philippine Fashion Week. I was so impressed by how Saga Events (the company who staged it, led by my favorite RajoMan client Robby Carmona) stayed so true to Rajo's vision. I know understand why he loves working with him! They are pros! Imagine we had 6 celebrities, two-full on dance groups (All-Stars and G-Force), 20 models and two cheer dance groups. That's a heck of a lot of styling (pre-styling, sourcing and documenting to boot). We went with some losses but everything went without a hitch! Pretty proud of being a part of something in this magnitude.

I've been working with my boss on this project from the late part of 2011. From drawing up the mood boards, fabric inspirations, packaging details, tech sketches of the jeans themselves up until the finalized prototyping. It felt so surreal to walk into the Bench store (available right now! Jeans at 999 and the perfume at 400!) and to see the final product being sold. From form to mother-fuqin function y'all. I'm ecstatic. First stop Bench, next top H&M. KIDDING!

Well yeah, so much for that. For the most part, I am grateful that everything went according to plan and I can't wait to work on what's next. Right now, we're waiting on the final photos for our Transition 2012 collection. I'll talk about that as soon as I get the photos! The launch is already on the 16th! Apart from that, I know we've got at least three more big events lined up this year. I'll let you guys know.

On the fitness front! Between the last 8 weeks, I've somehow managed to lose something south of 10lbs. I kid you not. I've been keeping up with my workouts and my diet has been petering on normalcy for most of my days. The main difference is, as I mentioned last time, is that I've completely quit all liquid calories. AND also for the small fact that I am following the IF/Leangains clock of eating. Meaning I maintain a fasted state of 16 hours and keep all my meals with the window of 1pm to 9pm. I can definitely say it's working for me. I'm on a new 6 week challenge now and the goal is to lose another 5-10lbs. I've already lost 2lbs from the past two weeks so I'm hoping to keep this trend up. Wish me luck!

I guess that's it! Preview Ball this weekend! I think we're wearing the new collection so that should be easy and fun. The weekend after that is our Transition 2012 launch but I'll be all the way in Guangzhou, China sourcing for our Holiday collection. Busy busy times ahead. Cheers, y'all!

PHOTO CREDITS: Bench, Sandro Paredes and PinoyExchange.com! To view the show in its entirety, which I recommend, in full-on live action:

 
 
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
Current Music: f(x) - Electric Shock
 
 
 
Martin
21 May 2012 @ 11:44 pm
It's been a while dear lj! I haven't really gotten the will to update on here, but a lot has happened since the last entry. Nothing really major except(!) I just arrived from Singapore! More on that later though, for now a brief recap of life as I knew it, in pictures no less!


Me and my gorlsss at Toff de Venecia's #HipsummerOfLove party. Taken by otherjoseph. I'm so happy Alcine's home!


Spent Labor Day weekend at Tali beach with the family and these bitches visited me!


Anna, Karen, Toff and Raymond working our conyo radarrr.


Me and the inimitable mondang, apparently sunproof. Lol I stole all of these pictures from Toff's instagram feed!

At any rate, I just got back from Singapore! It was definitely one for the books. It wasn't a vacation really, it was actually quite a lot of work--I went with my old bosses Amina and Miguel Aranaz. They asked me if I would be interested to help them out for their first ever international trade fair. Look up Blueprint 2012. Of course for me, I saw this as a golden opportunity to get out there and see what it's like on the international fashion trade scene. And boy, was it an eye-opener. We interacted with buyers from such big institutions as ASOS, Lane Crawford and Harvey Nichols to small-independent concept boutiques all over Asia. It was really the most fascinating thing I've seen all year.


The final booth set up, we actually had one of the prettier set ups. Not bad for first timers. Powered by IKEA! Hahaha.

The actual trade fair was actually well-received, there was a lot of positive response from the people with the products: with this being the first time Aranaz had ever pushed the brand outside of the Philippines. Filipino Press people were there also; namely Daryl Chang of Preview, Suki Salvador of Mega and two others, documenting the vast extravaganza that was Singapore Audi Fashion Festival--Blueprint included.

I was super happy to do this project on my free time, I managed to produce their look book for them also (which as of the moment, cannot be released yet as it is pegged for Resort 2013--but you can see a sneak preview with the photos up on the walls of our booth) with my dream team of photographer BJ Pascual and stylist Anna Canlas! I found out that this really is one of my great loves, producing fully-realized images that can stand on its own. It was just like confluence, and I'm really happy with the end product.

Another highlight for me was meeting Timo Weiland. CFDA Fashion Incubator Program Awardee! It was so surreal to have met a legit New York designer, and the best part of all? Amina, Vania (Romoff--another Filipina designer who ventured to Blueprint) and I were able to get pieces from his Spring 2012 line! Practically straight off the runway. Officially speaking, I think this is the only time I'll be ever able to say that I'm wearing something that is documented on Style.com and is CURRENT SEASON. #SmallJoys right there.

Needless to say, I got a lot out of this experience. Not only in the sense that I was able to experience how things are really done internationally, but also I got a lot of insight on how the future could shape up for me. I learned so much on this trip and was able to interact with all sorts of design and manufacturing operations from all over the world. One thing I realized is that being a designer or a clothing retailer doesn't have to be the end all or be all of my journey. There are so many opportunities out there and I just have to decide where I want to take this.

A lot of things to think about right there, so people better stop giving me crap.

In other news, right now at homebase House of Laurel--we're busy prepping for the launch of our Transition 2012 collection. It's going to be called Spock & Saville. It stems from the duality of English tailoring and Space-inspired treatments and motifs. Pretty interesting actually, I'm excited for what we're going to be able to whip up. Stay tuned for that.

My boss though is launching something really big this weekend, we're right in the thick of making sure that everything pans out. It's going to be a good show, right at the end of Fashion Week. Let me know if you want to come watch! All for now.

P.S

Currently right smack in the middle of a 6 week NerdFitness challenge, and Singapore debauchery aside, I'm way on track! Haven't had a drop of anything that isn't water (except for tea!) for 20 days. Quite the achievement.
 
 
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
Current Music: Infinite - The Chaser
 
 
 
Martin
28 March 2012 @ 09:41 pm
Hello, hello! It's about time I wrote on here again! Just to update you, dear lj, on the story so far. It's been quite the ride--a few good things happened since then, a lot actually but some bad ones too. But I'm not one to dwell. One life to live, as I've learned to say--better believe it. Anyway--so last time I left you, we were on the cusp of shooting our next collection: Athletenique Spring/Summer 2012. It's been a long while since then, we've actually already released the collection and the reception was fantastic! Let me show you the invites we made for the launch:









You can view the entirety of the collection up on Rajolaurel.com. If I hadn't mentioned it before, the collection took inspiration from my boss' forever catch phrase "fitness is fashion." Mixed with the abstraction of ethnic print, it's basically an amalgamation of sportswear elements, brights and fabulous prints. We shot the collection with BJ Pascual, it was a very dynamic shoot and the end result was really something else. The collection is very on-trend and makes a lot of bang for your buck. Needless to say, we've had a really good month in terms of the reception of the clothes. Especially in terms of sales, editorially speaking--we've yet to see it shine. But all in all, we're really happy. Way to keep things on the up just like our Holiday 2011. Another great showing, if I do say so myself. Here's a summary of what went down:



In the same light, I got "promoted" to brand manager for the menswear line! Like us on Facebook! Needless to say, I'm more than happy that I got the position--I mean ever since the beginning, I've slanted my approach towards revitalizing the mens line. It's far from perfect (let me tell you) but I feel like we're taking the right steps towards a stronger brand that could possibly be at par with the robust womenswear lines. Long way to go but who knows. I'm pretty happy with what we pulled out for this season, Rajo Man's Athletenique showing has exceeded expectations. But in terms of design, I wish we could've pushed it further in some aspects. One thing I've learned in the past couple of months is that design isn't just about shape and fabrication (I mean, it's a huge part of it) but I think for me, we sometimes overlook the human dimension of the clothes. The form and function, in the most abstract sense. Something I could look into and develop in the creation of the next collection. Another challenge for the brand! We'll see where it goes.

I guess that's all for now. The past month has been a blur of preparations for the launch of the collection, right now I can officially say we did it! It's pretty exciting, the challenge now is to do it all over again for the next collection. Right now I'm busy with preparations for my boss' other collaborations, can't name them right now but I think he's in for a big 2012. It's looking to be exciting.

In terms of my personal 2012 goals, all of that has been put on hold for now. Which sucks. I need a break. Holy Week couldn't have come at a better time. Cheers!

P.S

Four for you Glenn Coco, and none for Gretchen Weiners. Bye!
 
 
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Martin
20 February 2012 @ 12:36 am
Halfway into February 2012 and how are we all doing? I'm fine, just fine! Let's see. A month and a half into the year and I can't say I'm making headway into my 2012 goals. SUCKS, inevitable and making any progress soon is highly improbable. Apart from my fitness goals (which I am steadily working on, although there still have yet to be significant breakthroughs), I have not taken any solid steps on improving my clothing construction skills, nor my lack of language skills. Time to do (do!) something!

Had a perfectly okay past month, work-wise--we have been steadily working on the Spring/Summer collection for House of Laurel. It is officially dubbed as "Atheletenique", it's a word play on athletic and ethnic. The inspiration is translated as the interplay between sportswear elements and the abstract moods of ethnic prints. It's going to be lighter, with an emphasis on movement this time around for the girls. For the boys, I worked on pushing a jacket story for Spring. And the kids, it's going to be a gorgeous color blocked collection, with a more rough and tumble approach but still keeping the princess aesthetic our clients love. Very exciting. I'll talk more about the collection once I have more tangible things to show.

Speaking of things to show, the shoot for the adult brands is already going to be this Tuesday. The pressure is mounting but I'm not too worried, these things have a way of working out especially because of the keen eye my boss brings. Styling is definitely key, it's going to be trickier this time around because I find our menswear pieces to be slanting a little bit more casual than the usual RajoMan mood. I'm going to have the nth run through tomorrow just to make sure I have a handle on things. Wish me luck.

At this point in the story, the look book shoot would be my favorite, and at the same time, most daunting part of the creation process. This, I feel, is the culmination of all the work we put in making a collection--the expression of your total vision and intent into a set of pictures. It should be strong enough to stand alone and communicate, and at the same time, look desirable and commercial. In short, it needs to be something you'd be proud of and that would represent the brand in all aspects. Hence the pressure, but I'm optimistic! We'll see where it goes. Last time for RajoMan, it was simpler because the pieces were show pieces at its heart and the pieces literally sung on its own. This time, we'll have to style everything right.

In the past month of January, I've been on a few trips. We went to Tali beach a couple of weeks back, for Chinese New Year I think it was. No interesting pictures to show though but it was fun spending time with the Borjas, as per usual. A week before that, we went to Shanghai for work. Shame on me (shaaame!) for stealing pictures from my boss' blog. He takes the best pictures ever, so what can I do? Haha amazing! Look on.


Started each day with empty trolleys in tow, outside our hotel in Renaissance Yuyuan Gardens. It was FREEZING. Got our thermals on.


Ven and Rajo, General Manager and Creative Director!


The week before Chinese New Year, in Shanghai no less.


Streetscape.




Super interesting boutique hotel we checked out, high concept indeed!

Shanghai was tiring and fun, to say the least. I'm much less enamored by the city than I was the first time around. It has its beauty though, as every city does (though I'm not sure most of the time where the beauty of Manila is) but I guess after Korea, it spoke to me less. Great finds though, but can't say I'm looking forward to the next trip back.

It's going to be an exciting year, someway, somehow I can tell. But things aren't concrete yet so I won't talk about it now hahaha. Wish me luck for our upcoming shoots! Cheers!
 
 
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Martin
06 February 2012 @ 12:04 am
Year in review, 2011 year in review! These things just keep getting posted later and later, it seems. Last year's (read 2010's here) came out mid way through January, but better late than never right? I promise next year, it'll be sooner! On to the show.


Stolen from Glen ko_kak, from our trip to Korea. One of the highlights of this year, I have to say. Wrote a story about it here.

It's been a whirlwind of a year, is it too self-aggrandizing of me to say that each year just keeps getting better and better? I guess I'm just lucky--and self-aggrandizement is human nature, after all. I'm sure this is only the beginning though, because I'd like to see bigger and brighter things in the future.

Where to begin? Of course, the beginning of my 2011. The onset of the year had me unemployed, a gentleman of leisure if you will. Haha! I was fresh off my "forced" leave from my old job at Instituto Cervantes. Thanks to a little book, I had the revelation late in 2010 that I wanted to see if I could make it in the fashion industry. I thought to myself, I basically grew up with the stuff--my Mother used to cut clothes, my Grandmother STILL makes clothes so I went for it. The first three months of 2011 had me at my Lola's house, learning the basics of pattern-drafting.

To be honest, learning this stuff wasn't easy. Creating a fresh pattern based off of a set of measurements is no joke. And I wasn't the most diligent of apprentices, I spent half the day lazing around, but I still managed to get some work done. Halfway through everything, a number of fashion positions popped up online and so, I decided to apply. This is where the story takes a turn for the unexpected.

Well of course, most of you (read: no one really, I kid) who read this blog know that I worked for the bag brand Aranaz, as an intern. It was a marketing position, something that had nothing to do with cutting patterns or sewing clothes. And it was bags, handbags to be more specific, something which I knew nothing about. But I still wanted to give it a shot, and mostly, meet the designer hahaha. Somewhere, somehow after a couple of interviews, Amina took a chance on me and offered me the job. I remember telling myself at the time that, this, was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would be a fool to pass that up. And you know what, it's still one of the better highlights of my year!


Rosanna and Amina at the Aranaz Summer Trunk Show 2011. Read up on the story in this entry.

I was an intern there for no longer than a month and a half; I gained friends(!), I got insight into one of the leading Filipino brands in the country, but mostly, I learned a lot. The experience was invaluable and I'm still forever grateful to them for giving me the chance to work with them. It was a huge pleasure, even more-so in hindsight. If I hadn't received a certain call, I would've pursued a career as a brand-assistant for Aranaz up until this very day. But as the story goes, marketing really wasn't for me--and another opportunity opened up, right at the end of my internship.

So as it goes, I was lucky enough to land working with one of the best (if not, THE best) fashion designers in the country. You all know him by now, so yes--it was Rajo Laurel. Working for him in under less than a year, I've learned and have been able to accomplish so, so much. The daily experiences in and around the House of Laurel have taught me things that I wouldn't have been able to merely see, let alone imagine. Growing into this volatile business of fashion, of celebrities, of marketing/publishing, of clothes, of tailoring and fit--the education has been immensely exponential. And for that, I am extremely grateful to the powers that be for giving me this. As they say in Japan, sankyu! I kid.


Looks from our Transition 2011 collection, from the Rajito line. Pretty cute huh? Read up on it here.

In a nutshell, my time in HOL has been spent overseeing the various productions of our ready-to-wear line. For the most part, I deal with the menswear and the childrenswear. I feel proud to have been able to take part in two collections already (see the Russe! Holiday collection here and the Androgyny Transition collection here). I enjoyed every single minute of bringing the collection to life--from researching the mood board, to developing prototypes, to fabric hunting, to making swatches, to coordinating a look book shoot, looking for the photographer and models, going for accessories runs, to styling the actual shoot, to seeing the final images. It's its own universe, and I'm really so happy to be a part of it. Can't stop myself from saying it enough.


The team House of Laurel, as we appeared in Garage Magazine November 2011.

Speaking of self-aggrandizement, hahaha I'm not going to lie--I was really thrilled to be part of a feature like that. Prior to this year, I've never been featured in any publication--oh well, save for those rowing things that don't really count. I feel like I'm slowly starting to make waves in this industry, hopefully to build what I eventually want to be someday. But don't get me wrong, I'm not after fame or anything. I think... I just really want to make clothes someday. 2011 has been a good year for me, career-wise. It's actually been pretty ideal. From realizing what I wanted to do, to receiving an undeserved opportunity, to peaking to one of the best companies in the industry--I don't think I can ask for anything more. You've been good to me, 2011, I'm beyond thankful.


Christmas 2011!

In other 2011 news, this was the year I started living with my Lola, full-time, all the time. It's been pretty sweet, she takes care of me a lot and I'm really happy that I am able to keep her company at this stage in our lives. She's behind me 1000% and, the funny thing is, I have a difficult time keeping abreast of that fact. Most days are good, but some days can get really bad with me giving her a hard time. Like a spoiled brat, as they say, but I'm hoping to change all that in the coming year. I really love my Sylvia. INSERT SNIFF, ANYWAYYY--

Living in my Lola's house in Marikina has afforded me the luxury of having an easy gym to go to. My fitness journey in 2011 had been a craggy one, but a journey nonetheless. I can definitely say that right now, I'm at the top of my regimen. My lifts have nowhere been as high as right now, and I can definitely say I've gotten my running stamina back. In terms of the weight though, I'm still working on it. Three years working on it, you'll say, but I definitely think I've hit the nail on the head this time. Let's just see where I can take it!

In terms of trips, I had three the past year. One was Malaysia (entry here) with Alcine and her family! The next one was Shanghai (entry here) for sourcing for our Holiday collection, it was pretty intense. And then last, it was Korea in November as was mentioned. Korea was definitely something else, I plan on coming back sometime later this year in 2012.

In general, as I've outlined above, 2011 was really good to me. As if some kind of cherry on top to this whole year, I finally learned how to drive(!) can you believe that? No longer a slave to the availability of a driver, take that! Needless to say, I was really blessed wasn't I? Here's to making an even bigger 2012! More on that on the next entry, before the week ends, I promise!



So I leave you with a picture of my friends who I really, really MISS from 2011. A lot of us have moved on to bigger things (some bigger than others, AMIRITE JANINE OR AMIRITE???) or have left the country to figure out completely different lives. Let's make 2012 the year of us again, yeah? CALATAGAN or something! Cheers bebes, I'm off. Hope I didn't miss anything! Stay tuned for another entry from me this week!
 
 
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Martin
08 January 2012 @ 12:35 pm
Ho ho ho, it's been exactly one month since my last update! Behold, we're already in 2012! Happy New Year! Sorry for the lack of updates, I can't really say I've been busier or anything, it's just with 6 days of work in a week, you really don't get much time to sit down and write about things. Hahaha so much for that, I'm here now aren't I?

If I haven't already said it, I hope you guys had a fantastic holiday and an even bigger, brighter 2012 ahead. As for me, I spent the holidays with the Borjas! Wouldn't have wished for anything else. Christmas Eve at home in Marikina, Christmas Day in Antipolo for Dad's side then White Plains for all of the Borjas and then New Year's Eve at Palms. Pretty sweet.


Time for some overexposed pretty! HAHAHA.






Christmas day merienda with the Borjas, with the one and only Sylvia.






New Years Eve at Palms with the Borjas again, pretty fun.

At any rate, I had a really good Christmas this year! I can officially say that this was the first time I went out to get gifts--real gifts for my family. I guess thanks in large part to the fact that this is my first Christmas with a real job (lol because Instituto never really counted, am I right or amirite?). Among a host of random things, I was able to get Luna her first set of Rajito dresses! Ugh, it looked like such a dream on her! Two dresses from our recent Russe collection and a favorite from the past Androgyny collection. Doubt she'll get to wear them again though but this can only be the beginning! She looked so cute.

On to bigger things, 2012 needs to be a game-changer for me. If 2009 was my banner year in terms of college (rowing, fitness, friendships and general epicness), 2011 was pretty good for me in terms of career. I took the plunge and jumped into a field that I wouldn't have even considered months before. It's been pretty good, albeit it's turning a little stale only in terms of learning and new opportunities. But don't get me wrong, I'm thankful to be where I am now--it's pretty stable and it can get tough, but I just see so much room for improvement that I have to step up a bit, somehow. Right now I can say I feel like I'm covering all the bases in my life (well the bases that matter anyway) but at the same time, I can't say I'm excelling or making the most out of it. Things need to change. So with this in mind, I'm going to run down a few of my goals for the year 2012! /CHEESE BUT WHATEVA.

1. Expand clothing construction knowledge.

Out of all of my 2012 goals, this will prove to be the most challenging. If you can recall, I spent the first two months of 2011 intern-ing with my grandmother (the infamous Sylvia, for your information) who has been a custom dressmaker for the greater part of the last 50 years. It is under her tutelage that I learned how to sew, cut patterns and the general basics of clothing construction. To this day, I still feel like I owe my recent successes to her (in landing a job at the biggest atelier in the Philippines) because I don't think I would have even been considered had I not had those skills. Right now, if I had to peg it, I think I only 10% of what she knows--I definitely think she has a wealth of techniques yet to bequeath to me. It's some sort of untapped resource that I need to look into. Before I set plans for further education or whatever, I really think that learning what my Lola has to offer would give me a huge advantage in whichever direction I choose to take.

Anyway (history lesson over), clothing construction for me is really one of the more exciting things in the world of fashion. I love finding out how clothes are replicated, how fabric stands up and the tailoring of it all--it's something I'd really love to master. For me, I get excited over branding, full-blown fashion shows and all but really, the heart is in the making. As of this point, I've successfully drafted and sewn basic bodices and set sleeves in. I've made a few dresses using cotton and satin, a tweed jacket that totally needs a trip to the tailor but the most ambitious project I've done is a serpentina gown for my sister (shaped with a princess seam and a panelled hem) but it was all under strict supervision from my Lola. I didn't sew it though, it turned out pretty well.

So my main goal for this year is to basically learn more about menswear construction and hopefully be able to make a few things for myself and family. Concrete actions I can take is to spend more time in our production and to learn from our sewers at the store. To see the general shape of patterns and sewing techniques to piece them together. I am also equipped with more books (Basics in Menswear Patternmaking, A Complete Guide to Tailoring, Perfect Shirtmakers Guide etc.) so even on my own, I have all the resources to get things started. My ultimate goal for this year is to make a suit. No matter how crummy the sewing and the shaping is, I plan to give this a shot by the tail end of this year. In between now and then, I'm going to try to make a few cotton shirts and see if I can tailor them to perfection. Pretty exciting stuff, things I should be able to do with enough time and patience.

2. Strive for a fitter 2012.

Weight loss for me has been a tricky thing ever since after college. My all-time weight low was a staggering 193lbs during the height of my rowing career, 2009 to be exact. That was due to a lot of cardio both on the water and off. I would row 3-4 times a week early morning, run 2-3 times on off days, go to the gym for light weights 3 times a week and do the rowing machine at least twice a week. That's a lot of cardio, with no special diet to speak of, I still managed to lose the weight. Of course after college, I didn't have the luxury of time and training so I had to adjust my strategy by a bit (read: A LOT).

Post-college fitness was mostly comprised of heavy weights. From a career low of 193, I'm now at a staggering 220lbs of fat and muscle (lol trust me on this). I know it's both muscle and fat for two reasons, a) I still fit into most of my old clothes except it got a lot tighter on the arms and the chest area, b) my strength has shot up from a measly 50lbs + bar squat to a now whopping 270lbs + bar squat just yesterday. Honestly right now, I'm happy how I feel and how fit I am. Not only am I growing in terms of strength gains, I've mostly recouped (and surpassed, I hope) my old running stamina because I do a lot of speed work each and every workout.

The inherent problem now is basically diet. My goal weight is an optimal 180lbs of solid muscle, and hopefully minimal baby fat. My goal isn't to get ripped as fuq, I just want to lose all the round parts in my midsection (which is a lot, 40lbs of fat to speak of). In order to get there, I really just need to step it up in terms of the diet. I've said this innumerable times before on this journal but I'll say it again. I heard a recent adage about a solid weight loss plan, if you don't see any changes within 4 weeks--you're doing it wrong. And I know for the past 2 years, I think I've been doing it all wrong in terms of diet. It's the little concessions that get me from day to day. I need to attack each day like it counts. If I rally myself together, I think I can definitely do this.

3. Learn Korean.

As for my last and final goal, it's basically to learn Korean. Simple as that! I think this is the most doable in terms of goals, not really interested in going out for formal lessons but maybe with the help of the internet and the sheer amount of Korean pop culture I consume on a daily basis--this could be achievable.

I guess that's that! If I think of anything else I'll let you know but as of right now, I want my 2012 to shape up as a learning and betterment year for myself. I want to establish some sort of mastery for the skills that I will need in order to further my dream. To what dream that is, I can't answer it yet but I know that without the proper foundation, I don't think it'll be going anywhere, anytime soon.

I still owe you guys an epic year-ended post on my 2011, my annual year in review. It's been an awesome 2011 if I could say so myself, but it'll have to wait a week or two because tomorrow, the office is heading out to Shanghai for a buying trip again! Hope I don't freeze to death, wish me luck!
 
 
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Martin
05 December 2011 @ 12:39 am
I don't know where to begin writing about Korea--my 5 day trip to Seoul, a week ago with Howie, Glen and his college friends. I'm not sure if this is the full entry I usually set out to do (since a) I don't have all the pictures yet and b) I still can't get over it) but I feel like the trip has been such a surreal experience, I feel like I need to get some things off of my chest. Indulge me: I'm the type of person who really seeks out the "pulse" of any city, if you will, more so than visiting attractions or historical heritage sites, it's really the specific city lifestyle that gets me excited. The living, breathing, the "now" of each place. The streets of the city felt absolutely electric. Needless to say, I really resonated with the pulse of Seoul.



It is like a dream to me still, almost. On the flight back, I had a sense of missing home and mining back a sense of reality--but upon touchdown in Manila, I couldn't help but feel restless. It was a lot to take in, a lot of feelings I guess. Longing, frustration--you name it. Each day since then, I wake up and feel wistful for our city, the unreality of what it isn't and what it can be. I guess it's the knowledge that there is a place out there that feels more like home, and right now it isn't yours to come home to. And to think I haven't even been to Europe! I can't help but feel like Manila is actually the dream, or more like a living nightmare sometimes. Things are so frustrating sometimes that they hound you into thinking that maybe there is no waking up. MELODRAMA?! But yeah... where do I begin to even describe Korea? Apart from being flawless, she has two Fendi purses, and a silver lexus. Kidding.


Basically our group, minus Mark taking the picture. Glen, Vinni, Li, Jecho, Me and Howie.

On a perfectly lighter note, I can't tell you if it was my partiality to all things Korean pop culture (namely the music, the cinema and the emerging fashion scene) or if it was the city itself that made me fall in love, but the immediate connection was electric. I guess it's a combination of the two. The minute I stepped out of the subway, right smack in the heart of Myeong-dong--I had my own Hiro in Times Square moment. Yatta! I said in my head. Indeed #HangulFail.


A sampling of the feasts to be had in Seoul's little corners.

One of the best things I loved about Seoul was the fact that you are expected to walk everywhere, with your own two feet. The emphasis on it being a "walking city" is really charming for me, largely facilitated by their sprawling subway system. I'm not just talking about the sheer convenience of it all (which is huge, if that wasn't obvious) but also the implications on their lifestyle. In Korea (or the Capitol of Panem as my Brother and I like to call it), I feel like the mundane every day is given more thought. Since you're out on the street all the time, there's no excuse to look stupid--and believe me when I say, a lot of the people on the subway are super put together. Point(!) which really excites me.

If you look at all the independent boutiques and designers in Seoul (mainly in Garosu-gil in Apgujeong, Ide near Ehwa Women's University or basically EVERYWHERE in Seoul), the stores emphasis is clothes for the everyday--as opposed to the emphasis we put on "occasion" or holiday dressing here in Manila. The clothes you wear walking around and being seen all day is given more thought, rather than the clothes for the Red Carpet moment that happens only once in a blue moon. This train of thought goes beyond more than just fashion I'd like to think, it's how people do their jobs and generally how they live their lives. In a city that everything is just a subway away, what's stopping you from elevating the mundane and the everyday into something really beautiful and extra-ordinary? Emphasis on extra.

Do you get what I mean? I hope this point of my story is as poignant for me as it is for you, dear reader, you could really see how it made my view of the city. I can imagine it's much like New York, Tokyo and Paris in this way. Very cosmopolitan without sacrificing what's got to be done. It's fashion for the mundane--or what I'd always lovingly called: Ace Hardware Fashion or Grocery Fashion #AlamNiyoYan. I guess this also coincides with my personal preference for sportswear looks and wearability, the look of the cool girl in the street or what have you. Everything I guess that isn't here. I myself have yet to master this for myself, I've got a long way to go but right now, I'd like to be in a place where I can imbibe a lot of it on an everyday basis. We'll see where it goes.


Nami Island, total dream. Got there via subway then a 2 minute trip, across a lake via zip line. Zing!

It feels funny to write this way, just so you know. If you've been reading along for a while now, you'd know sentimental I iz not. Nostalgic maybe but I don't think I've ever "professed" for anything on this lj before. At any rate, I don't know what the plan is.

Would I like to go back? Sure, definitely. Maybe in the next year. With whom? I don't know yet but I definitely want people to experience it for themselves, they could take away different things. For me, there's still Japan and Europe to see. I wonder if it's as electric as Seoul was, but from what I can tell you right now--the bar is set pretty high.

Comments on a post card, stole all my photos from Li since Glen has yet to upload. I'm out!
 
 
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Martin
13 November 2011 @ 05:20 pm
First things first.



Get your hands on the Garage Magazine November 2011 issue! The House of Laurel appears in the Office Confidential feature, hahaha it's quite comical. Anyway, get it!

Been meaning to update in the last four weeks, seriously I've been that busy with work. I can honestly admit that this is the first time in the past six months that I literally didn't have time to dilly-dally on the job--trust me, that's a good thing. Where to begin? As I've probably mentioned, the team has been hard at work at producing the Holiday 2011 collection for the House of Laurel. Starting a full month back, it's been a nonstop push uphill. Safe to say, yesterday was the crest; the full-blown launch of the collection.

Amid all our responsibilities with the back of the house (making sure the sewers, beaders etc. are on schedule), we prepared the first prototypes of each piece for a look book shoot early in the past month. Similar to what we did for Androgyny, we just shot inside my boss' office. But this time around, instead of utilizing the stark white wall and the gray floor, we brought in wood slat panels painted a rough dark brown. To bring the story together, we managed to pull the most beautiful of accessories from so many suppliers; namely we had neck pieces from Miadore, custom-made Delujo bags from Aranaz, jewelry from Alchemista, Aziza and Joyce Makitalo.

Days leading up to it, we spent every waking office hour either out on a pull or double-checking every last piece for the shoot. The name of the game was options, options, options. It was very Brad and Tay minus the crying.





In retrospect, this was no easy feat at the time--but compared to everything else we went through for this challenge launch, it was practically a cakewalk. Thanks to our awesome photographer BJ Pascual and make-up artist Gela Laurel, we managed to produce the most beautiful images for the collection. Our lovely models Fatima and Gonzalo, you guys rocked it out for that whole day shoot, god knows how many changes you had to go through. Honestly, I'm still in love with these pictures--I think our team did a fantastic job in capturing Rajo's full vision of a Russian fantasy.









See the full set (and the entire story) over at StyleBible.



Great job guys!

The next challenge was the store construction: every season, the House of Laurel takes the time to change the look and feel of the store by renovating it entirely. Transforming the space to realize the vision and feel of an entire collection--this season's Russia proved to be a little more than difficult. Our vision for the store was that of a gilded room in a palace. Where does one even begin? To the 3 days we usually spend having the store closed down, we spent a full 5 days pulling everything off--with a buzzer beater installation on the 6th day.





We utilized a metallic car paint to get the right finish on our walls, stenciled baroque patterns all over the walls and ceilings. Wrapped all our mannequins in velvet. Brought in furniture from Nix. Hammered in moldings for an extravagant feel and then the installation of the chandelier (with a beautiful stencil for an anchor) was the touch that tied it all together. It's a sight to behold, best to check it out in person.

We're more than happy with the results. Needless to say, a lot of thought (blood, sweat and tears!) went into the planning and sourcing--throughout the entire time I honestly felt like there was a noose on my neck that could snap my neck at any given moment. It was pretty terse, but fortunately, I really feel like we nailed it. All on our own.

Flash forward to yesterday's launch, cue the hallelujah chorus. I think it's safe to say, this was one of the best collections HOL has ever brought out yet. Every piece drips of luxury, capturing a sense of modern fantasy that hits all the right notes. We pleased our clients to no end, shot a fantastic look book and hopefully--will be able to bring enough buzz to carry over in our future collections. It was a lot of work, but I'm so proud to say we knocked 'em dead! It was a really difficult past couple of weeks (haven't hit the gym for most of it), so glad it's over.

In a nutshell, we can count our eggs--because they've hatched bitches. And guess what, we birthed dragons! Bow, now let me rest--this is the first off day I've had in weeks. Cheers!

P.S



Stolen from Maronne's blog, a picture of me and Cara during the Rajo + Parisian launch two days before our own launch. Couldn't have done any of it without you! Here's to future greatness, I've had enough of Holiday, it's high time we worked on ideas for Spring 2012! Can't wait. XO.
 
 
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Wonder Girls - Be my baby
 
 
 
Martin
09 October 2011 @ 10:56 pm
Guess what, on the fifteenth of this month--I'm going to be six months at my current job! Wuhoo! I just can't say it enough, time flies real fast. Just six months ago, I couldn't have predicted I'd be where I am now, so it's still kind of surreal. In more ways than one, I can assure you. Looming on the not-so-distant-future is a stop to the non-regular jokes care of my crazy officemates, haha I kid.

Couple of things to discuss: our Holiday collection shoot is this Friday, the team is very busy prepping for that. From prototype fittings, to model castings; it is a lot to think about, not to mention our preparations for the actual launch on November 12. That's also considering store construction, with wall paper options and paint sampling in between. Can't say work isn't interesting, new challenges pop up each time. But more on this later.

First things first. Last weekend, I was part of the organizing committee for the White Rock Triathlon, and let me tell you--this year was very different for me and Extribe.



Here's a quick picture of me and Ken, the literal calm before the storm that was WRT. So much different from last year's extremely hot extravaganza. Full swim leg of TERROR recap, under this cutCollapse )

Like I said, the team is currently going through great lengths (some longer than others, let me tell you) in order to produce our Holiday 2011 look book. The theme is Russia (appropriately called the Russe collection). The process is typically this: our boss decides on a direction (taking inspiration from his travels, mostly) and then based on this, we take references from his huge library of books/magazines and online to aggregate our inspiration--be it colors, shapes, embellishments. We compile it onto a large mood board that looms over the office. Designs are drawn up and then we proceed to oversee production of the prototypes. When things are said and done (note: this happens at least half-way into the current collection and as early as six months before the next), we have a prototype fitting. Crunch time literally being this Friday, the other day we had two prototype fittings. Mostly for things in fabric to be tweaked, embellished or completely overhauled. It can be quite taxing, and I'm not even the one fitting the clothes hahaha. We must've gone through over 40 pieces, split between two brands though so you get the idea.



My boss and Cara, tweaking one of our pieces for Holiday 2011. It's a metallic moment, expect lots of that.



Typically in between fittings, our boss has to go out and assist fittings with his made-to-order clients, leaving us time to goof around with the fur and all. HAHAHA, okay this doesn't happen a lot but there was a window of time--and I couldn't pass up all the fur lying around.

All in all, we still have some last (and I mean last) minute adjustments for the pieces for Friday's shoot. For the menswear, I still have at least 4 jackets to realize and I'm just praying it's going to read on camera. We booked a currently hot and very talented young photographer for this season, stay tuned for that. No clear decision yet on the female model but we've already decided on the male model.

Based on the go-see (and okay, the actual set card) I was super wishing for the first model (namely Robson, here is his setcard), Brazilian with a very pretty face. Cute butt too but after everything, my boss decided to go with Gonzalo, half-Spanish half-Taiwanese model from Madrid. Very excited to see where things go, also for the female model and the clothes. Potentially, this could turn out very interestingly. We'll see what happens.

In other news, I'm working on consulting for a school-based enterprise right now. It's actually very exciting, I'm flattered they asked me and I'm hoping I can deliver for them. Not going to reveal too many details yet because I'm not sure if it's going to pan out (pretty sure, it will) but it definitely is fashion related. Just not the first thing you'd imagine I'd be involved with.

Secondly, we had an interesting day at work last week--a local magazine dropped by to shoot our "office work wear" for a feature. Hahaha, initially I really didn't want to take part but my boss "coerced" me into joining. It wasn't so bad, it was a group shot after all so pressure was off. And we got to wear pieces from the office so it was fine. Dreading the day it comes out though, I hope I don't look too stupid. Wish me luck?

And I guess that's it. Pretty long entry from me this time, I guess I'm making up for all the missed couple of weeks. I'll see you guys soon! Trip to Korea is coming up next month, and whatever else. Cheers!

P.S

On a fitness note, I'm happy to report that my lifts and running stamina are on an all-time high. Haven't been this active since my college rowing days (wow, time does fly) but I can't say the same about my poundage. I'm also at my heaviest since college--can't exactly say it's fat though, I keep track of my waist using measuring tape so I'm not too worried. The scale is deceiving after all. Not to say I don't need to work on my diet though, conversely, it needs A LOT of work. Wish me luck.
 
 
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: Brown Eyed Girls - Sixth Sense
 
 
 
Martin
15 September 2011 @ 11:58 pm
Hello, hello! How are you all doing on this fine Thursday night? It's Friday tomorrow, which means I still have another day of work on Saturday before I get my one day weekend. Hahaha bleak, but it's worth it. Times flies so fast, it's only a hundred days still Christmas. It's almost the end of 2011 and in exactly one month, I'm going to be 6 months at my new job--REGULAR. Couldn't be more psyched.







A few Sundays ago, the Borjas had lunch and visited Tita Grace (our aunt who passed away, a couple of years back) who just so happens to be interred at San Agustin Church, in Intramuros. Quite the historical place in Manila, the architecture was brought out by the perfect weather that day. It made for cute pictures. It was a great Sunday, spending time with the cousins is always fun--and our new niece Luna. I absolutely had fun and I'm looking forward to the idea that we might see them all again this Sunday in Alabang.

The past couple of weeks have been a steady blur of work, nothing fancy or out of the ordinary. I spend my one-day weekends with Howie and co. basically, chilling out and watching movies. As for work though, our Holiday collection is coming up in basically two months. We're currently working to develop our ideas for our pieces--on my end, I'm focusing again on the Kidswear and Menswear. Our collection is inspired by all things Russia--Faberge, the gilded monarchs, the Russian military etc. Our colors are a cross between the muted-brights of navy, red-wine, elephant and the metallics, such as gold and silver.

For the kids, we're sticking to our guns and developing ideas from our past Holiday collections. Tweaking shapes and fabrications, but mostly it's just going to be a huge princess moment for them. For the men, I'm taking it towards a military inspired direction--with epaulets, brass buttons and details like arm chevrons, and cording. It's all very Balmain meets Alexander McQueen. I feel that it is very ambitious, I have to tell you. I have a lot on my plate to think about.

I have to say, I'm a bit stressed out with the current state of our pieces--the pop isn't there yet. I'm going to spend the next couple of days trying to brainstorm on more ideas. More on how to bring our pieces to life. Frankly, I feel like last collection (mostly the kidswear) was such a good turn out that it's going to be a hard act to follow. We'll see where it goes. My boss just got back today from a wedding in Europe. I hope I can finally go and consult to see where I can take the designs. Wish me luck.

In other news, right now it's New York Fashion Week for Spring 2012. For the first time ever, I'm virtually up to date with all the designer showings via Style.com. Early favorites right now are Prabal Gurung, DKNY, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta and Tory Burch. That's a lot of favorites but to see my full list of favorite lewks from each major (in my humble opinion) collection, follow me on tumblr at thuperduper.tumblr.com.

In terms of fitness, it's a new 6 week challenge over at NerdFitness and I've signed up, looking to kick more butt from the sheer lack of exercise that was a few weeks ago. Shanghai and all, I feel like I'm putting in some excellent progress--both on my lifts and my cardio. I just need to work harder on my nutrition, it's definitely setting me back. My motto this time around is "you can't out train your diet." Definitely worth looking into.

I guess that's all for now! Nothing major coming up for me in the next few weeks, except I have to haul ass and figure out our Holiday collection for keeps. But at the end of this month, I'm not totally sure yet but I'm looking to go to White Rock Triathlon '11 to volunteer for the swim leg. I might be swim manager again (just like last year) so, we'll see how it goes.

Cheers.
 
 
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Current Music: Kara - Step
 
 
 
Martin
30 August 2011 @ 09:42 pm
Hey guys! Been a crazy past couple of weeks, I had a birthday (something changed about you... you gained weight? NO I JUST HAD A BIRTHDAY. Total fire sign HAHAHA) but that in itself was totally normal--just had a couple of dinners with my siblings and then went out with friends. But remember when I told you in the last entry that I might go to Shanghai for work? Whale, whale, whale--guess who went to China!





It was all sorts of amazing (and tiring), let me tell you. The two pictures above I stole from my boss' blog, read about his take on it there. The trip was largely bent on the fact that we needed to source fabric, notions and things for our Holiday collection--hence the t-shirt and shorts. It was a jungle out there.

First things first, it was my ~first~ time to actually go to China. I've never been to Hong Kong, nor have I ever set-foot in the mainland and at the beginning, this proved to be very problematic. Due to recent cases of drug-smuggling Filipinos, the Chinese embassy beefed up the requirements for first-time visa applicants--I had to get my NBI clearance for travel abroad validity. It was insane, I must've spent three whole days working on it (on my own for the first two days but with help from THE MAN for the last day); needless to say, I got it on time but not without a lot of difficulty.

On the onset, I didn't think much of Shanghai, the idea of Beijing was much more clear to me. People weren't wrong when they described it to me as very cosmopolitan and modern. It certainly reminded me of an Asian version of New York City. Not only in terms of the architecture, but also the fast-pace of life, the grime and the worldliness of it all. It was quite the eye-opener, only problem was not a lot of people could speak English. Really wished I could speak even a little bit of Mandarin, it totally would've gone a long way. Shanghai is a beautiful place, didn't hurt that we stayed at a 5-star hotel in the middle of the city. It was in this place called Yuyuan, the hotel was of the Renaissance/Marriott group; it was very pleasant, if I may say so myself--and breakfast was top-notch. That being said, I didn't really have time to fully explore the city--even though we were there for almost 6 days. We had a lot of buying to do, quite a lot in fact.



But for the first two days, we got to experience (not sure if that's the right word, elle-oh-elle) the nightlife in Shanghai. Our first night, we headed to this street in the French concession where there were a host of clubs right next to each other. Each place had its own draw but we ended up going to this place called Apartment. It was pretty nice and the crowd was like 90% foreigner, had a couple of drinks and called it a night. The atmosphere was electric however, I don't go out much at night here in Manila but the energy there felt different. But all in all, that was NOTHING compared to our next night. My boss came in that day (we were ahead) and he decided to take us out with his friends clubbing, of the more local variety. IT. WAS. INSANE.Collapse )



After a few days sourcing in the markets in Shanghai, we set out to this province north of the city. It was incredible, imagine a city built around this massive mall. Mall filled with stores of every single thing imaginable. I'm not exactly at liberty to talk about it here but just imagine this: you're in a corridor, stores lining the walls left and right. Think 168 in Divisoria but when you look straight through the hall (or even behind you) it just doesn't end. It was like a labyrinth, or the Matrix to some extent. It could've been either a dream or a nightmare--depending on how you look at it, you could seriously find anything and everything that there is to find. In its immensity, we spent a good day and a half there sourcing for things--according to our guide, we've barely even seen 1% of the entire place. Insanity. Luckily, we found a lot of awesome things to augment our Holiday 2011 collection. Quite excited yet nervous at the same time, the pressure's on! Hope we turn something out!

All in all, China was a very good experience(!). Who knew I would be going on business trips this early in my job (the thought still hasn't really sunk in yet). One thing's for sure though, it certainly got me thinking about enhancing my language skills--it kind of reminded me of the allure of my course back in university. I'm not totally keen on learning Mandarin but in terms of practicality, it's making me think. We'll see where it goes, there's still Korean (trip in November with Howie and Glen!) and maybe Japanese also to think about. A lot work, that's for sure.

That's all that's new with me, the trip was pretty major. One bad thing about it though was the fact that I pushed back my workout regimen, I think I took a few steps back in terms of progress. Yikes. Not to mention all the carbs I ate in Shanghai. Time to step it up this month. But in other news, I finally (re)learned how to drive! I'm still not an expert park-er but this is such a milestone for me! I'm no longer a slave to the availability of a driver, but in terms of going to work--I'm still going to choose to commute because it's way cheaper. Even though it takes 30 minutes longer, I can't beat the savings.

Guess that's it! See you in a few weeks.
 
 
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Infinite - Be mine
 
 
 
Martin
07 August 2011 @ 11:32 pm
First things first.



Admit it, it's a cool picture, no? Kidding hahaha. Anyway, this was taken almost a full month ago during the Preview Best Dressed Ball. It's tradition for the House of Laurel to come in a theme for this event--this year we just debuted our Androgyny 2011 collection even though it didn't go too well with the 70's theme, please see: matching outfits. I followed the company when they wore all white for this one year, had Zorro mask make-up a la Margiela (lol my fave) for the McQueen tribute etc. It was kind of surreal, especially when my boss was choreographing the poses for the picture in the car hahaha! Anyway, I had fun--even though it felt like I was an outsider looking in (IN ALL THE GOOD WAYS, mind you) because anyone who's anyone (who is anyone) was there. Notmyscene.com but a first of sorts, nothing to get all huffed-up about but yeah, it was definitely fun.



Another picture I stole from Divine's (COUGH) blog. Reppin' our RajoMan androgyny shirts--that night I was wearing Jil Sander and Prada to boot (I dunno why but my boss was compelled to lend them to me, do my dress shoes suck that bad? Mental note HAHAHA) safe to say, that's the closest I'll ever get to designer things in this lifetime. Hopefully, not really.

Hahaha I don't know if it's correlation-al (who are we kidding, it is correlation-al) but ever since I got this job, my likeness has been popping up in various(!!!) corners of the internet. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thrilled about that but whatever--I can honestly say, I'm just happy to be here. Doing everything that I should be doing.



My officemate Cara(!) and I attended Shahani Gania's birthday party in Seventh High, it was the annual Evening Gown Competition for all the gay individuals in the fashion industry--caveat however, only those who don't normally do drag can enter the competition so it was twice as epic. It was hella fun, let the video explain why. Jujiin's Ows Tokyo?! captures the scene amazingly, if not glams it up to a whole new level. Great stuff, needless to say we're somewhere in that video HAHAHA. Shameless. The girls werqed it out and served up some beauty queen realness. Maybe I should do this next year?

I just realized, it's almost been a month since I last updated. Better late than never, right? General update: it's been a month since the launch of our Transition collection and we're pretty much doing well. I'm proud to announce that RajoMan features weekly, every Saturday, worn by THE Manny Pacquiao or Ang Pambansang Kamao on his show Manny Many Prizes. Thanks in large part to stylist Shahani, he wore the shirt I wore to Preview in the first episode. Exciting things. Also, I'm happy to report that the Rajito collection (please see below in the previous entry) is doing really well--because of the price points (and the buzz from various blogs), we've been getting a lot of walk-in clients! Can't help but take it as a testament to the design, if not, what else? Great job team.

In other news:





WeLovePost turned two this year! And as per tradition, they had a massive anniversary party and they literally went all-out this year. It was a fun night, invited my goyls--too bad I couldn't get drunk because I had work the next day. I'm over it (and then... I'm under it).

Guess that's about it! I'm fine, I'm great actually but my job isn't exactly a walk in the park (nor is it all glitz and glam) but right now, it's the best place for me and I'm so happy to be here. Well, that sounds familiar--but anyway. Like I've always said: creation can be one of the most fulfilling things in the world, I'm so happy to be part of the process and I'm here to learn everything I can.

My birthday's coming up next week, Saturday, not really doing anything. If you're reading this, surprise me.

Cheers.

P.S

We might go to China this month. For work. Wrap your head around that!
 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: f(x) - Hot summer
 
 
 
Martin
11 July 2011 @ 12:33 am
Hey guys! I'm back (so soon?) hahaha sigh, I could never really start these things off properly. I always have to make some lame joke about how little I write on here or how imagined my readers are to begin with. Ha-ha, I'm just kidding--I know you guys are there, all two of you reading this. Ha-ha, OKAY THAT'S ENOUGH. Onward with real things!

Yesterday was the launch of the House of Laurel's Androgyny (Transition 2011) collection and it was perfect. We transformed the store into a rough-hewn space with white-washed walls of wood paneling plus a huge mural of an androgynous man on the wall by the artist Meneer Marcelo. We steered the store into a more minimal direction (taking Margielic influences along the way), we wrapped our clothing hangers with muslin covers--and it really tied things up. For a better view of everything (I should really get my own camera), check out my boss's blog here. If you want to see our lookbook, check out StyleBible for everything. Posting two of my favorite looks here though:



Marita in one of our beaded tanks, worn with this beautiful skirt (constructed with horsehair) for an epic drape. Nathanael is wearing one of my favorite shirts (wore the white version of this to the Preview ball(!), more on that in a later entry); bondage-inspired satin polo. In love. Everything shot by the amazing Jujiin Samonte at The Boy Who Cried Chos. As a design assistant, I'm trying to develop the relationship between Rajo!Brand (the main womenswear brand) and RajoMan as a boyfriend/girlfriend dynamic. Similar to that of big houses like Dior and DiorHomme. For the womenswear, they took YSL and Yohji Yamamoto as their main direction. I opted to propose a more bondage-inspired direction with the men's line and the team ran with it. Can't be happier, to be honest--right now I'm treating this collection to how far we can push it with all the in-house brands. Our boss gives us quite the leeway to develop and innovate his ideas and mood for a creative interplay and I'm excited what we can bring to fore for our Holiday collection later this year. Very exciting stuff, stay tuned!





Some photos from our Rajito collection! Photography by Toto Labrador, and to see the whole set--check out StyleBible again. Man oh, man. I'm so happy with the outcome of our kids line! Our model Ariana looks super chic in the clothes, our direction for this was French Little Girl (FLG, if you will) and I'm happy to say we pulled it off. The vibe is so style icon Elle Fanning (she figures in our moodboard several times), I couldn't be happier. If you know anyone with daughters (OMG roshipotoshi) come down to the store, prices range from 1995-2995 with sizes from 1 to 9 years-old! Very excited to develop more looks for this collection for the next few deliveries.

In other news, I missed Kylie. Not too bummed about that, even though I know it's one of the best acts/performers to come to the country (I've seen the DVD) but what can I say. The stars didn't aligh (cough), but anyway. I'm more sad about the fact that one of my good friends is leaving for Switzerland. Exhibit A:



I'm going to miss your crazy, girl! Your own Drea brand of crazy! We had a despedida for her all-the way up in her house in Beverly Hills and it was really fun. I really missed these girls, haven't seen them in a few weeks (but before that, for months!) and we had a really good time, one last time without Drea--TEAR but she'll be back. I'm happy for her, go live life gurl. Update us.


The kaboom kids, complete with Pia this time but minus artista Janine (she arrived late)! Minus Jands in the States.




See you soon, love! We'll be waiting!

That's all for now! Come visit me at the House of Laurel during the week if you're in Rockwell with nothing to do, I'm there 6 days a week. Really enjoying myself right now, can't be in a better place. Being able to work, explore and learn all at the same time is a privilege.

Cheers.
 
 
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: T-ara - Roly poly
 
 
 
Martin
04 July 2011 @ 12:20 am
Hey guys! It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks, haven't been updating as much as I used to but at least we're still here right. Right. I finally got to watch Varekai in Manila, more thoughts on this later but let's just say: IT WAS EPIC.

Our Transition 2011 collection is shaping up already, good thing too because the launch is already this Saturday, July 9 at the House of Laurel. Come if you can make it, check out the stuff--I had a bigger hand in producing and conceptualizing the Men's and Children's line, it's going to be directional and super chic. The price points are 4k+ for a nice shirt for the guys (not bad, hey!) and 3k below for the party wear for the kids. I swear, I can't wait to show you guys the images. Come down to the store during the launch!

Speaking of images, we had a look book shoot the other day with Marita Ganse and Nathanael Keifer as our models (super professional! Pleasure working with them) and Jujiin of Boy Who Cried Chos fame as our photographer. He's super sweet in person, and we're both 2NE1 fans hahaha. Right smack in the middle of the shoot, we watched 2NE1's latest video. Check it out, they're reppin' the latest from Gareth Pugh for some pretty sick stagewear at the end. Last time it was Balmain, this time Gareth Pugh. Amazing, fashion transcends all cultures. At any rate, we also spent the past two days constructing the store--there's a huge mural of a man's face on one of our walls. We painted everything white and we're whipping up some coal hanger covers, the effect is absolutely Margielic. Can't wait to see everything come together. In other news:


Janine(!) and her non-showbiz friends.





The other week, we had a slumber party(!) at Kat's condo in Ortigas celebrating her return from the 6-month study program in Germany! It was hella fun, right in the middle of a work week--watch out for my friend Janine who just debuted in Party Pilipinas last Sunday! WUHOO #1 FAN RIGHT HERE! It's funny because, as of these pictures, I literally remember asking her "Janine, when are you going to be on TV?" and she answered her usual "Oh, I don't know" and then flash forward a week later, she was on Party Pilipinas! Nobody knew a thing! Now she's a Sunday regular (lol caught her today) so tune in. She's my real TEENAGE DREAM.


Me and H<>wie (HAHA!) outside the Grand Chapiteau in Manila! Glen taking the picture.

So moving on to Varekai, just a few thoughts. Our performance schedule was June 28, a Thursday (and also it was the height of tropical storm Falcon). We missed the opening (Charivari) and aerial net of Mark Halasi, we got to the theater and it was already the intro to Water Meteors. I felt pretty bummed about that, I was really looking forward to the opening with Craig and Isa but alas, what can you do. Also during my show (public premiere), Icarian games did not perform but they were in costume.

A few notes: the Water Meteors kids were really green--they kept dropping the ball and they really looked forlorn throughout the whole number. Like their smiles were on cue for the most part, but still was pretty entertaining. No Icarian games, bummer. Solo on crutches was pretty emotional in person, it hits so much harder than on the DVD. Triple Trapeze was pretty much unchanged from the DVD (including the music), and I couldn't help but think that Stella was one of them. I checked Cirque Tribune database and it says there that she is still with the show, who knows. Body skating was pretty lackluster for me, but it went by without a hitch. The clowns were HILARIOUS--I think the girl is the same from the DVD. Aerial hoop was interesting to see in person, but comparing it to Quidam or to Kooza, it really seemed low-voltage to me.

As for Handbalancing on Canes--FUH-LAWLESS. Irina Naumenko is a master, her flexibility and grace were really amazing to behold in person (let alone in the first row). And then Aerial Straps, ooh boy--one of my favorite acts from the Varekai DVD. It pretty much returned back to the original choreography of the Atherons, none of the new tricks they developed 8 years into the show I think. It literally was the same, it was beautiful. I have to say though, the fact now that they aren't twins--it really HEAVILY emphasizes the homoerotic undertones of the act. Simply beautiful, the guys were so built. One of them in particular, I think it was Igor--he really dwarfed his partner with his size. Seriously considering spending more money just to see the show again.

Russian Swings was incredible, to say the least. No fumbles, a real crowd pleaser of an act. And the singing--no complaints here, Craig and Isa were really on point. Can't believe they're still here, 9 years since creation. Overall it was a beautiful show! I just felt bad for the artists in terms of the weather they're experiencing in this country. It was flooded in the streets, also the location of the Big Top is less than ideal. It's an old and ugly (UGLY) part of Manila. I sure hope they don't think this country is a cesspool, why couldn't they have staged it in The Fort? I'm sure ticket sales would've been better.

Oh and coming into this whole thing, I had doubts of whether Cirque would do well here or not. But I'm pleasantly surprised to hear that a lot of people have been going, certainly not full-houses but a good share of my friends have seen it and loved it. I recommend it to everyone, go see Varekai. It's a world-class production and if it goes well, Cirque du Soleil might just bring everybody else here during their Asian Tours. Not skip the Philippines like the past 15 years. Anyway there, my 50 cents worth.

Whew. That's all for now! It's going to be a busy week, working hard helping Rajo with his numerous collaborations, launch of the new collection this Saturday and possibly attending the Preview Ball this Friday (if Rajo requires us hahaha). We'll see, hope I can find something to wear if ever. Cheers y'all.
 
 
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: 2NE1 - I am the best
 
 
 
Martin
13 June 2011 @ 10:59 pm
Hey guys! Just checking in, nothing much to report. On June 15th, it's officially my two month mark at the House of Laurel. Things have been going smoothly I can say, I like what I'm doing and I'm learning a lot. We're roughly a month away from the launch of our Transition 2011 collection. The direction is Androgyny and I'm really excited for our main brand, the pieces are hella directional and I can't wait to see them on real girls. In between now and then (the launch is July 9th), we still have store construction and the photoshoot to contend with. Right now also, we're prioritizing the revamp of our website and newsletter, it's not as easy as it sounds (especially since none of us are legit graphic designers) but with enough time, I think we'll pull something out.

Apart from micro-managing the brands (that basically means checking up on production, researching for the mood board, conceptualizing new prototypes), I've also been helping out my boss with his collaborations. Two big things are coming up before the Holiday season, it could turn out really cool. The brands are THE brands to contend with in their respective lines, just goes to show who's on top in the Philippine fashion scene--and the fact that I'm lucky to be here!

On that note, I'm really excited for the production of our Men's line. Out of all the brands, I've had a bigger hand in the development of this collection for Rajo!Man. The inspiration for the main line is basically YSL meets Japanese Androgyny--cool theme but it isn't exactly ideal for our male clientele. In my head, I'm taking the approach of Dior/Dior Homme that is two completely separate lines, but in the end have a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship in terms of the clothes. They just have to compliment each other. WELL, we'll see where it goes. I'm pretty excited, especially the more directional pieces we're developing. It has more of a bondage feel, can't wait for the final look. In other news, have some pictures from Malaysia:


Me with Alcine and Gianna! Had an awesome time with their family and friends in Malaysia!


The parentals! Thanks Tita Ichi for everything.


The river in Putrajaya! The site of all our Malaysian regattas, seriously got me quite nostalgic.






The joy that was Uniqlo.


Adopted sibling shot.

In other news, I've stepped up my training regimen again. For keeps this time, I'm hoping. I'm still part of the 6 week challenges over at Nerd Fitness and it's going well. This is the start of week 3 if I'm not mistaken. As of the present, I'm heavier than ever but my running endurance is slowly coming back. Been focusing on more cardio but still keeping it heavy with the weights. I'm not depending on the scale anymore for feedback, took some measurements (and lol, posted half naked pictures of myself on the forum) so we'll see where it goes.

All for now!

P.S

Currently reading Sarah Monette's Mélusine, it's pretty convoluted but I'm liking it so far. I just finished her Companion to Wolves, written with Elizabeth Bear and it was awesome! My kind of fantasy, if you know what I mean. Cheers.
 
 
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: Beast - Fiction
 
 
 
Martin
25 May 2011 @ 09:58 pm
Right. I just got back from my trip to Malaysia with Alcine's family. It was fun, did a hell of a lot of shopping but more on that later when I get to steal pictures. Just a simple update of weeks past.


Celebrated Luna's 1st birthday!


Me and Miguel in Tali.


The day my Mom went back to the states! Sniff, hope I get to visit her at the end of this year.

So anyway, I got to fix my schedule that I was alluding to in the last entry! I get to be home a little before 7pm which gives me more than enough time to hit the gym. Only problem is I've been away the past couple of days so I haven't really hit my stride yet. Seriously, I need to get my ass in gear. If I just had a 5 peso coin for every time I've lamented about this, I'd be 1000 pesos richer.

As for the job, I'm loving it so far. I'm excited to see the Transition 2011 collection pan-out. Can't wait to see my little contributions come to fruition here and there. It isn't without difficulty however, rest assured but I'm confident that we will get this show on the road.

In a nutshell, I'm in a very good place right now. Just imagine, a little over a few months ago, I was just dreaming to myself that I can work in the fashion industry. Be it designer, pattern-maker, studio assistant or brand assistant--whatever. Lesson to be learned here is this: dreams are what you make it. I essentially quit my job, packed-up my stuff to learn pattern drafting with my Grandmother, applied to a few jobs and eventually got lucky. Twice!

I'm super very thankful for all the opportunities (given and not given, wink) but I still have a long way to go. At this very moment, I don't think I have the creativity to become a designer. Someday, maybe--but right now I just don't have the vision for it. I'm perfectly content to map out the next few years (or more) with my current company--I have so much more to learn and to develop in myself, I can feel it. I just need to take the time and grasp everything before it's too late. This is coming from reading Alexander Mcqueen's Savage Beauty book; it documents the late designer's work in the MET Costume Institute in New York. His genius is undeniable, and I got inspired by his path to become who he eventually became. Poignant, the stuff of legend.

At any rate, I realize I'm not much of a writer when so much ideas are in my head and I can't really articulate them here all that well. The gist of it is: I feel the need to grow, the desire to develop my skills, to expand my references, to sublimate some kind of point of view--I'm just not quite sure where I should begin.

Cheers.
 
 
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Bond - Strange paradise