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April 26, 2012

Rajo Laurel x The Dandy Project

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.

The Ivatan Jacket (clockwise): Rajo’s sketch, Philippine rockstar Rico Blanco in a black barong, sample Ivatan embroidery, and a Jehee Sheen jacket (images via Rajo Laurel and Rico Blanco)

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.

a collage of handiwork by the Filipino ethnic group, the Ivatan (via Rajo Laurel)

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 Sanso Jacket: Rajo’s sketch, paintings by Juvenal Sanso, Thomas in NYC (via Rajo Laurel, Naquem, and Stil in Berlin)

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.

the Juvenal Sansó painting in my parents’ living room

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.

Rajo Laurel at work at his studio (December 2010)

Which one do you think I should get?


  • clars
    April 26th, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Cool! Let us know what you end up choosing. Ako rin, i love my Rajo debut dresses. And they still fit! :p miss you, Izzy :)

  • kutik
    April 26th, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Both are gorgeous! I’m so excited to see which one will you pick, I’m eyeing on the first one though. I think the Ivatan’s Ethnic embroidery would make it stand out!

  • Danny
    April 26th, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Both designs look very interesting, I can’t seem to make up my mind on which one to pick!

  • Sophia S
    April 26th, 2012 at 11:34 am

    the second one, no doubt- there’s a family connection!

  • Huining
    May 4th, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Personally, I choose the first one because it shows more of traditional Filipino clothing feel with the modern twist. It’s something you can walk around casually, meetings, or even use for a dinner with friends or workmates. It’s a piece that you can actually work on day and night. Speak much about how a piece of clothing could be versatile. So I choose the first one for you, the Ivatan.

  • Chloe
    May 4th, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    floral embroidery all the way baby

Who Linked To This Post?

  1. Rajo Laurel x The Dandy Project (Part II) | The Dandy Project

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