EXCLUSIVE: Young Filipina Designer Rosenthal Tee Creates Ornate Bridal Dresses For The Strong, Feminine Woman
All eyes are on Rosenthal Tee, designer of the moment.
The young purple-haired artist worked hard to build a name for herself in the industry, defying millennial stereotypes. A proudly Filipino creative spirit, the 29-year-old rising star has become internationally known for her signature aesthetic: strongly feminine, two words that embody how women can’t be boxed by labels—they are limitless.
“I was a late bloomer,” the designer shared to Metro Society just last February. “I kind of was a wallflower until very late.” But that didn’t stop her from excelling. One might even add that she soared. The artist's education and experience are highly impressive—she graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Management Economics. Later on, she flew to London to study at the Istituto Marangoni, where she graduated with Distinction in MA in Fashion Design Womenswear in 2013. Continuing her passion, she took short courses at both Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion for Jewelry and Textile Print Design and Pattern and Cutting.
Posterity Shot // thank you so much @metromagph and the #MetrowearLuxe girls @sassajimenez @maureendisini @vaniaromoff @rosannaaranaz @charinasarte . It was a pleasure to open for you all! To EIC @sarah_meier and @eldzsmejia @charmlaconico @geolette, the Saga team lead by the amazing @robbycarmona and @ash_rye , thank you for the trust and help in fulfilling a shared vision of awesomeness! My family and #TeamRosenthalTee squad ??, thank you for coming out to see what I had been waiting to showcase! From showing away from home in 2014 under the Mercedes-Benz Stylo Asia Philippines contingent, it feels great to finally do a show that the people dearest to me can finally see and feel up close! I wouldn't have had it any other way! ????????
Her namesake label in Manila has tremendously grown through the years. On her roster of muses and loyal clientele are Metro Most Stylish Woman Lovi Poe, Siargao award-winning actress Jasmine Curtis, and Miss International Philippines 2018 Ma Ahtisa Manalo?—women who embody the brand’s soul and spirit: adventure.
Just a preview of my beautiful #RosenthalTeeBride muses — to my left, current Miss International Philippines @ahtisa , and to my right, celebrated actress and fashion maven @lovipoe ?????? Thank you so much @holamitchy_ and the #MarryMeAtMarriott team for this wonderful showcase! To Direk @robbycarmona for the great vision, mood and direction, and to the VIP clients, family and friends who came out to watch! #RosenthalTee #RosenthalTeeBridal #ahtisamanalo #lovipoe #bridal #wedding #altamoda #couture #hautecouture
In an exclusive interview with Metro.Style and Metro Society, the designer-on-the-rise shares her story of beginnings, her inspiration, and what’s in store for the next months. Keep scrolling!
How old were you when you wanted to become a designer?
It probably only really hit me when I was 22 years old. Fresh out of university, I was given an opportunity by my parents to pursue fashion design studies in London and so I went!
Who/what were your biggest influences in becoming a designer?
My grandmother and mother were the biggest influences in my career. I’ve been pretty fortunate to have a family that supports our creative streak while keeping us grounded.
What do you love most about your job?
I think the best reaction I get is from clients who aren’t really used to being pretty—and when they come in and pick up their gowns, they’re so elated that you produced something that kind of transforms them for a night or a day. That’s really the greatest happiness.
What has been one of the most memorable experiences in your career?
For me, it was still producing my first-ever wedding gown in the latter part of 2013, because I only had seven days to do that. The bride’s whole family went to me for their gowns, except for her, because she had already purchased a ready-to-wear one. One week to the wedding, she tells me she’s not so happy with how it was repaired, and she has no other choice—because who was gonna take her in for a gown just one week before? So I volunteered! That was my first wedding, actually, and it’s still the most memorable one.
Do you see yourself being more into bridal wear now?
Definitely. This is an industry I really hope to impact in the next few years.
Describe your style aesthetic. Has it changed through the years?
My style has always been strongly feminine. Aesthetically, my work has become a lot more curated and I would think that’s more or less due to experience.
Where do you get design inspiration from?
Everywhere! Beaches, strong women, pop culture.
What’s something not many people know about you?
I kind of present myself as is. Nearing my 30s made me realize that I should be more authentic, so I guess that’s it—I am in the pursuit of authenticity. I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve achieved what I’ve wanted to achieve so far, but I am also okay with not having to please everybody.
What can we look forward to in the next few months?
I’m exploring a very different collaboration next year. I am so excited and I want it to be the best of 2019.
Will you participate in NYFW again, or in any other international fashion weeks?
I can’t say just yet. I really want to take the right steps at the right time, [especially when] doing something as big as an international show. There were learnings that my team and I have internalized, and that is to better ourselves in the quality of garments we produce.
Do you have any favorite international designers?
I always look to Marchesa, Inbal Dror, and Naeem Khan.
What's a signature Rosenthal Tee piece?
Strong play in texture and shine with an origami bow, or feathers and fringes!
Lastly, do you have a secret skincare regimen that keeps you looking young?
I drink milk. I hate it, but every morning, I have a glass of milk—I don’t even want to taste it, I just down it!
View more of Rosenthal's ornate creations below.
Photos by Jinggo Montenejo
Additional text by Gaby Salud
Some parts of this article were originally published in Metro Society's February 2018 issue