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Feature: Dissecting Design with Francis Libiran of Manila, The Philippines


 

Frances Libiran as donned by Filipina Supermodel Ria Bolivar

Frances Libiran embellished "Linear" dress as donned by Filipina Supermodel Ria Bolivar

 

Frances Libiran as donned by Filipina supermodel Ria Bolivar

Francis Libiran embellished "Linear" dress as donned by Filipina supermodel Ria Bolivar

 

Laws of Attraction

 

By: Hina P. Ansari

 

 

PLDT Canada Philippine Fashion Week had a couple of superstar moments which had everyone in the fashion & design community buzzing. One of them is noted fashion designer Francis Libiran who brought to fashion week an incredible array of couture gowns (almost 100!). With his architectural background, Libran’s famous for his “Linear dress” which drew rave reviews from supermodel and TV maven (and a Libiran fan), Tyra Banks herself. We had a quick chat about his place in the Filipino fashion world, the future of Filipino design and of course Tyra.

 

*Click here to check out Libiran’s entire collection as presented at CPFW’s Fashion Premiere Night at Roy Thomson Hall.

 

 

L-R: Arsi Baltazar of Advocate Fashion Inc., designers Francis Libiran and Nat M

L-R: Arsi Baltazar of Advocate Fashion Inc., designers Francis Libiran and Nat Manilag

 

 

What’s your personal style and what inspires you?

 

Well you know what my, my style is really classic. I’m trying to put a little bit of modernity to it. I love playing with details. As you can see in my collections, some of it are made of Mother of Pearls which is a good source from The Philippines. We did it as an embellishment.

 

 

What inspires you to create a collection. 

 

This October, I’ll be having my gala in The Philippines so I recently went to India. I went to Bangalore and then it inspired me a lot to play with patterns and lines and mix with everything. And I found some good [fabrics] there that I’ll be using in my next collection.

 

 

Exquisite pearl detailing with the structured capped sleeves

Exquisite pearl detailing with structured capped sleeves

 

Beautiful embroidery

Beautiful embroidery

 

As seen on stage at Fashion Premier Night at Roy Thomson Hall

As seen on stage at Fashion Premier Night at Roy Thomson Hall

 

 

Oh, that’s wonderful! So in the sense that you’re fashion vision is global.

 

It is global. I have an architecture background. I love playing with lines, patterns and stuff. I love experimenting like with old embroidery. So everyday, we get to try and to  inspire myself and challenge myself to do better things.

 

What’s your favorite/most productive part of the day?

 

I’m a morning person. I wake up at 6am and the best time for me to create is when I’m at the gym.

 

Really? So you are on a treadmill and thinking?

 

It’s on. It’s going.

 

So then are you the type that wake up at night to write an idea? Or the treadmill is the place?

 

The treadmill is the place. It’ s my new time. I really try to get [away from] distractions [during] that time. (Laughs)

 

 

A signature "Linear dress" as shown on stage at Fashion Premier Night at Roy Thomson Hall

A signature "Linear dress" as shown on stage at Fashion Premier Night at Roy Thomson Hall

 

A signature "Linear dress" as shown on stage at Fashion Premier Night at Roy Thomson Hall

A signature "Linear dress" as shown on stage at Fashion Premier Night at Roy Thomson Hall

 

 

What makes the Filipino designer so uniquely different from the other designers?

 

You know what, Filipino designers are really creative. Coming from a third world country, we learn how to improvise with things [using] all of our natural resources back home. We don’t have the most modern technology there but we try our best. Yes, that’s where the strength of Filipino designer goes.

 

 

Speaking of making a mark, I understand that Tyra Banks loves your style, so tell me about how that friendship, began.

 

A producer from the Tyra Bank’s show [America’s Next Top Model], a Filipino, Michael Carandang, called us to present a Hello Kitty collection, which is Tyra’s favorite character. So I created a look using Hello Kitty stuffed toys and lunch boxes. I was [asked] to create a couture piece. So we did  8 [pieces] “structures” made from Hello Kitty.  That’s definitely not my style but I [needed] to work on it.

 

Go beyond the comfort zone.

 

Yeah. It turned out to be really great. Tyra loved it.

 

The Hello Kitty couture created by Libiran for America's Next Top Model

The Hello Kitty couture created by Libiran for America's Next Top Model

 

The Hello Kitty  couture created by Libiran for America's Next Top Model

The Hello Kitty couture created by Libiran for America's Next Top Model

 

 

I understand that Tyra wore one of your gowns which  landed her The Best Dressed Award at a society function?

 

Arsi Baltazar (part of Francis Libiran’s business team): She wore one of the gowns that made her really shine at The Blossom Ball, held in April 2012.  She won Best Dressed!

 

 

Tyra Banks in a one-of-kind couture "Linear dress" -- a Libiran original

Tyra Banks in a one-of-kind couture "Linear dress" -- a Libiran original

Hello Kitty and Tyra Banks courtesy of Francis Libiran; Close up detail shots during fittings by Candice Kaye /CPFW; Runway photographs by Alan Flores/CPFW

 

 

 

 

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