How could they be so tiny yet so detailed and elegant and gorgeous?
Thirteen exquisitely made gowns, mounted on 23-inch inch mannequins, recently dazzled the guests at the opening of Fora Mall, Filinvest’s latest commercial development in Tagaytay City.
The gowns are a vision of the artistic amplitudes and creative journey of internationally-renowned Filipino designer John Ablaza, who is known for his use of structured lines and patterns derived from nature in his designs.
Ablaza this year celebrated his three-decade run in the fashion industry with creations that come in small packages in a collection called Le Petite Couture.
Named after the women who have made a mark in Ablaza’s life as a fashion designer, each piece in the collection received as much thought and planning and detailing that Ablaza would give to a life-sized gown. Painstakingly handmade and carefully sewn, it took Ablaza 100 days to complete the 30-piece collection.
Josephine Gotianun-Yap, President and CEO of Filinvest Development Corp., acknowledges during the opening the lifestyle trends retail malls and commercial spaces are now embracing, and Fora Mall is leading the way.
“Gone are the days when the runways and boutiques are the only places for the creations of our local Filipino designers,” said Josephine Gotianun-Yap, President and CEO of Filinvest Development Corp. “Today, we envision Fora Mall as a venue to meet passions for the arts, fashion, trends, and most especially, upholding our most cherished values as a community. Hence, this collaboration with John Ablaza.”
Fresh from three separate exhibits in New York, the one-of-a-kind gowns from the collection are the perfect blend of sustainability and glamour, brought to life by Filipino craftsmanship and artistry.
From spirited and vibrant colors to muted neutrals and formal blacks, Le Petite is the ultimate showcase of couture and culture. Ablaza featured his take on the traditional Filipino clothing for women with the black terno and baro’t saya, both studded with glittering beads, sequins, and adorned with rhinestones.
The collection also sampled designs inspired by Zimbabwean fashion which Ablaza picked up from his time working with artisans and doing workshops for aspiring designers in the country under the invitation of the United States Embassy in Harare.
The petite collection also pushes forth Ablaza’s eco-fashion advocacy through natural and sustainable materials sourced from and made in collaboration with artisans from Manila, Cebu, Bohol, and Zimbabwe.
“I create my designs considering the environment in mind and try to use natural materials that we have in abundance,” said Ablaza, who first found his love for nature during his childhood years in his grandmother’s garden.
From sewing together sampaguita buds with his lola, Ablaza now uses coco beads, coco shells, tree barks, reed grass, and abaca fibers for his intricate handmade creations.
“I don’t think I have made my mark in terms of convincing people to go green in fashion but I am doing what I can to spread the word about sustainability while showcasing Filipino ingenuity through my shows and exhibit.”
More than making a positive impact on the environment, Ablaza also helps the communities by creating economic opportunities for the communities he collaborates with.
Working extensively with the Mangyan tribe in the Philippines, Ablaza comes up with new ideas to use native materials in his designs while the locals grow, carve, or polish the bits and pieces.“I like to believe that I am helping Mother Nature, at the same time, creating livelihood for the people,” he said.
Le Petite Couture will be at Fora Mall from Dec. 8 to 27 and will move to Filinvest’s Festival Mall in Alabang until Jan. 8.
The Fora Mall is a Filinvest Lifemall and part of the Fora Tagaytay mixed-use development by Filinvest, which will be composed of three main districts. Aside from the newly opened commercial block, there will be two eight-story condominiums and two 10-storey condotels with a shared infinity pool, trade hall, and meeting rooms, to be operated by Filinvest Hotels Inc. through the Quest Hotel brand. The development will also feature a forest-themed garden around the amphitheater, making it an ideal location for special events like weddings and parties.