Thursday, May 6



(photo grabbed from interviewee's fb acct)


RCXY: How's your preparation for Fashion Week coming?
John Paras: Well, its going very well. As of the moment I'm almost done with the shells/bases. Its just a matter of editing and placing embellishments. I'm really looking forward to having the fittings already
What should we be expecting from John paras this Holiday Season?

My inspiration this season is "Optimistic Opulence." I'm feeling the vibe of optimism. I mean, we have been too much in the duldrums (lately) and it's time to be happy. Our economy is getting better and there's a new administration, what more better way to show hapiness than in nice rich opulent clothes which will make women happy and beautiful again. My clothes this season are still very much "John Paras" classic 50's inspired pieces but done in a modern way or adjusted to fit the lifestyles of my clients.

Key pieces ?
Classic tweed blazers and full skirts with embellishments! I think my key pieces would definitely be my embellished jackets! It is also something that my clients are dying to see and usually the first things to sell after the show.
I'm doing whites,blacks,purples and khakis with pink french lace cutouts

Is this the first time will you ever be using French Lace? They are quite expensive
Yes, it will be my first time to use lace for a PFW (Philippine Fashion Week) collection. But I'm using it as accents lang or as tops. I think dresses with too much lace look too wedding-esque.
It sounded like an interesting exploration on your part when you mentioned it.
I've always been fascinated with lace. I think there's this demure and feminine quality about them and they work really well with tweed. It gives it a new depth/texture 
I agree. Tell us more about 'Optimistic Opulence.' Where is the aesthetic behind it coming from? How did you translate that idea into clothes?

I think, people now are really looking forward to the future with such optimism. Everyone is excited and looking forward to it. Women now want to feel beautiful, the recession is over and its appropriate to flaunt what you have. I like the idea that opulence brings beauty and inspires women. That mood inspired me to create a collection that has a positive feeling and clothes that will definately make women want my sutff more.
My clients want to set themselves apart from other women, that is why they want opulent clothes.

You used the word 'women' instead of 'girls'. You are one of the few designers whose style has been consistent yet evolving and you are so direct with your design which sets you apart from many young designers. How did you learn to that mindset?
Lets admit it, my clothes cater to a certain age bracket i cater to "women" not "girls." Women appreciate classic clothing because it works well with their lifestyle or careers while girls are trendy and are still exploring their fashion sense. 
I guess it was the environment that i was in that helped me develop my design aesthetic.The women i have met over the years (some have become really close friends of mine) helped me hone myself into what i am today.
 Most young designers are inspired by the current, while i am inspired by the past (art, former first ladies, etc.). It was the environment that I was in which helped me embrace whats in it and make it into something new.

Do you work with a mood board?
Yes, I work with a mood board.
Whose face is on  it right now?
Jackie O. and Carla Bruni. The past and the present.

Interesting! Carla Bruni-Sarkowski has a comic book which stars, well, herself. Have u seen the cover?
Not yet.  That, I have to see! That's the nice thing I love about Carla, she's changing the face of a first lady. She's still very intune with herself. People of a certain power want to have fun and she's not afraid to show it. It's that trait about her that inspired me, how can you be so chic yet so effortless. 
 I want to have fun, too, in making clothes. I was looking into my lola's cabinet and found some vintage buttons and i thought, "This would be nice as embellishments!"

Can you guess what she's wearing on the cover?
She's wearing her La Perla lingerie sleeping beside mr sarkovsky. Lol.

(RCXY shows this photo.)

Do you like it?

Yes. See how effortless that piece of fabric was draped into her? But still how chic she looks.

I must agree! Seems to me like she didn't even get her hair done.
Exactly! Its that quality about her that makes it so interesting.
It's not an imperfection but rather a statement of what a modern woman is: "I'm busy i have no time for everything, so i try to do as much as i can do"

If you are to dress her on that very first issue, which piece from your collection you'd lend her?

Definitely the tweed blazer with the silk organdy cut-outs! Classic yet fun and different. Plus, she can wear her jeans over it and still look chic
Honestly, at first, I thought that gown is bland for a French first lady but now that you've reiterated that 'efortless chic' idea, i think, 'Yeah, if i were Carla I'd wear the same...that blanket tucked on me OR that piece from your collection."
I think, that's what makes her different from other first ladies. She adds a sense of humor into her role. She's the only one who was confident enough to sell her nude photograph taken by (Karl) Lagerfeld for a charity While others kasi seem like it's so stiff. 

And the most expensive auctioned photo ever sold, I must add!
YES! And it's what's on my desktop for almost 3 months.
To close this interview, tell us, which direction the young designers of the Philippines are headed to?
I think, that after all these years, most of us have matured. Most of us have found our design niche and learned to embrace it. Most of us have made a brand in the local fashion industry and have realized the business side of it. I think the future looks bright for me and my colleagues as there has been a great interest in local fashion.

Funny, you've mentioned that word -matured. I noticed that designers describe themselves, other designers and their collections the same way lately. 'Wearable' used to be the favorite term. Why do you think there such a change in paradigm?
We realized that it's a business after all. We want to make things that sell- what our clients/target market want. It takes money to come up with a collection and you think of it as an investment. By the end of the day, you want an R.O.I. (Return Of Investment). I guess the term "maturity" comes with age. When you're young and starting, you experiment and make clothes, then you start catching the interest of other people and then your career starts. When that happens, you get to see the real world where you have bills to pay and things you want to buy. You definitely have to work hard for it. Its nice to reward yourself with nice things that you've worked hard for.

Smart thinking but where is the 'art' part fits in? Did you or should anyone sacrifice Creativity for R.O.I? How do you keep doing what you are doing and still afford to pay the bills?
The art comes in the design part. I have never sacrificed my creativity for anything because its actually what keeps me going. I'm very lucky to have clients wanting something different. That's where the art comes in- through fabric manipulation, treatments, making my beadwork patterns, etc. I still get that sense of fulfillment after I see something I made on a client or a dress form.
At the end of the day, all that effort is what the client wants to pay for and that's the part where you get your R.O.I. You make dreams into a reality. 

I'll raffle off invites for 5 courtesy of ...YOU for the first 5 interested readers. Game?
 Yes, go! Fashion Show and After-party invites.
John Paras is showing his collection on Premier A Collection on May 27, 6pm  SMX Convention Center.
After Party is at members only on may 28, open bar from 9 to 11PM. (by invitation only)

from the author
With the Philippine Fashion Week Holiday 2010 closely coming in, attempts to reach fashion insiders, observers, designers and enthusiasts to find out what's in their minds during pre-fashion week.
This series of Q&A's hopes to work with mutual benefits among the designers and the buyers and between the supporters and the industry. This also aims to help local designers to hype their own shows and find out what their audience expects from them.

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