Rajo Laurel is making me a jacket and I am very excited about it. I grew up watching Rajo’s designs steadily take over the Philippine entertainment industry. His striking, upbeat, and noticeably flattering dresses have revived many a falling star; he has since conquered American television, and is stocked worldwide. To have the talented Filipino couturier design me a jacket from scratch brings me so much honor; I can’t wait to share this collaboration with you. I wanted a light everyday spring jacket, with touches of a tribute to my Filipino heritage.
I wanted to try something that’ll be a loose take on the traditional Philippine garment, the barong Tagalog. Mine will be made out of black overdyed pineapple cloth (which I could most precisely describe as a more fibrous, more structured organza), with the vaguely chicken-scratch-esque embroidery in either black or cream, for higher contrast. I thought the single button and the pockets on the Jehee Sheen jacket would be functional; but we’ll be doing this jacket a little shorter for more punch. This one will take me quite easily from a day of shopping around the LES to dinner in Brooklyn.
The second, much dandier option, was inspired by the Philippine artist Juvenal Sansó. My parents own a few of his pieces, and I’ve always particularly liked his dreamy, distorted florals. I remember Rajo once did a ball skirt fully covered in the most vibrant Spanish roses in red, outlined in black, and I thought he could channel a bit of that into my jacket.
The jacket will be in a wool-silk blend, fully lined, and the embroidery will all be hand-done, with hand-painted accents. I love the way the belt bisects the floral embroidery, and though I staunchly resist color (I am considering having all the embroidery done in black), this casually belted bouquet of Juvenal Sansó cabbage-flowers in the deepest of jewel tones proves undeniably alluring.
I’m going to spend many a lunch hour mulling over which jacket option to pursue—a task inherently cruel. If only a boy could get all the custom-made jackets he could ever want.
Which one do you think I should get?