HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRIPEVINE: OUR NEW ABNORMAL
Philip Cu Unjieng If we’re completely honest about it, when it comes to luxury merchandise and high-end goods, a strong vestige of colonial mentality remains in most of us; and we’ll immediately think of foreign global brands who have long made luxury their territory. Hermes, Harry Winston, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels – the list will go on and on; and that percentage of our population who lavish themselves with such gifts, will even use their global provenance as a way to enhance the status and value of their acquisitions.
And that’s why I love the formidable and challenging, but exciting, journey that our Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) has embarked on, in partnership with Duty Free Philippines Corporation, and with the initial creative direction of Budji Layug. As part of DTI’s Go Lokal! program, they’ve launched Marahuyo, as a repository and collective of specially curated Philippine fashion luxury brands.
Marahuyo is an ancient Filipino word that can be translated as “enchanting”; and it’s been used by writers, poets and artists when seeking to describe the sublime and superlative, and it’s also regarded as one of the more beautiful Filipino words in Philippine literature. As such, it’s a fitting moniker to be used for this collective of Filipino creativity, and artisan excellence.
At one level, it’s a premium retail showcase of the best in Filipino luxury fashion designer brands for the discriminating consumer and markets; and just as importantly, it’s founded on a design philosophy that seeks to highlight what’s 100 percent Filipino-made in terms of craftsmanship and materials, and seeks to enthrall and gratify the senses in the manner that’s world-class and hopefully, be recognized globally.
While the concept of a loose confederation of designers and artisans has been done numerous times in the past, in order to promote Filipino design; Marahuyo has the additional element of being given a strong and immediate retail presence. It’s now open at the Duty Free Luxe Mall at the Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. And I guarantee you, it’s really worth the visit.
Luxury pieces from Marahuyo’s line-up of Philippine designer brands represent elegance, borne out of the Filipinos’ deeply-rooted passion to create.
The designers who make up the exclusive Marahuyo circle of designers are the following, in alphabetical order:
Ann Ong, who’s an internationally acclaimed, and multi-awarded fashion jewelry designer, characterized by opulent, nature-inspired creations.
Aranaz, whose finely crafted handbags and accessories are resort-inspired, and speak of a vibrant lifestyle that reflects the scenes, colors, and mood of our tropical islands.
Arnel Papa, whose jewelry pieces are well-known for their boldness and exuberance, while displaying fine attention to exacting detail.
Beatriz Accessories, whose fashionable clutches even caught the eye of Oprah Winfrey, as she declared them the “perfect complement to a little black dress.”
Earl Gariando, and his ancient metal work technique, highlighted by the repoussé features, that give his metal pieces it’s unique and singular look.
Helena Alger’s Sculptural Jewelry, where the use of silver, precious metals, semi-precious stones and crystals, all coalesce into works of art.
Joanique, and how classic pieces are imbued with contemporary sensibilities, and where fashion becomes a form of self-expression.
Joyce Makitalo and her pieces that take the talismanic, ancient, and symbolic; and give them contemporary representation that bewitch and become personal.
At Marie Angelica Rare Finds, beauty and detail join forces to make old pieces become stunning embodiments of heritage, culture, and story-telling.
Mele + Marie, and how this tandem creative team, are known for their beautifully rendered miniaudiere pieces – enthralling must-have’s for the fashionable woman.
Quiddity, a brand of exquisite handmade leather goods; and by definition, speaks of the inherent nature, and distinctive features, of an object, it’s quiddities.
Versus Luxury Designs (Susanne Verallo) are a celebration of craftsmanship, with jewelry piece handcrafted in limited numbers, using traditional techniques and upcycled seashells.
Vesti Fashion blend artisanal traditions with modern structural silhouettes, firmly working with Mindanao weavers to create colorful, fashionable bags and accessories.
And yes, these designers and artisans do have their individual stores in malls and stand-alone addresses; but it’s really exhilarating to see them arrayed and displayed together, as a veritable treasure chest of what the Filipino designers are capable of, and have been creating. I can only laud the DTI for embarking on this initiative, and pray that it gets the support of the very people who should be proudest — us Filipinos!
It would be such a shame if we don’t actively support this initiative, and fail to recognize the world-class craftsmanship that these designers have been exhibiting for years now. Some are better known, better marketed than the others; and that is why it’s especially rewarding that this initiative, as curated by Budji, can help drum up recognition for those who’ve been operating with less of a spotlight. And kudos to Ms. Carol de Leon, Creative Director of the 1st Marahuyo Private Label Collection (Summer Collection).
For more information on Marahuyo, you can send inquiries to [email protected], or call +632 8751 3223.