LOOK! These Celebrities Star In CH Carolina Herrera's Insignia Campaign
The classic white shirt is synonymous to Carolina Herrera, evoking timelessness to the brand. And in an industry that continuously evolves and craves to be relevant, CH has stuck to its signature look without losing sight of the women and men of now.
On its 35th year in the industry, and celebrating its first anniversary in the Philippines, women and men pay homage to the iconic brand, and shed light to what mark they themselves would want to make.
All eyes are on Heart when she walks into the room, and it’s more than just because of her OOTD. Yes she always steps out impeccably dressed and runway ready, but the attention that she grabs is also with the easygoing nature that she radiates nowadays, one that she admits wasn’t always the case. “You know, for the past years, I’ve been pressured a lot, and I’ve pressured myself a lot, too. There are so many expectations on you. But the moment that I let all of that go, everything happened naturally, and all things fell into place,” she says with a smile. “Right now I’m living each day of my life to the fullest.”
Heart has been having a great year in fashion, jetting off to the different fashion weeks all over the globe, being dressed by her dream designers, and just immersing herself in the world she loves and truly enjoys. While others would see it to be as frivolous, it’s Heart’s way of being true to being herself—how she expresses herself, and she’s unapologetic about what she loves and who she is. “I’ve always been open about my life, my personal struggles, my art—I’m just me. How do I want to be remembered? I get that question all the time, and I don’t know—I don’t want to be pressured. I just want to be myself, whether that’s in the way I carry myself or how I dress. I think people pressure themselves so much on how they want to be remembered, but really—there’s just one you, so you’ll always be different from everyone else.”
Speaking of being different, Heart chose to make her own Carolina Herrera Insignia bag completely her own by creating her own artwork on it, marrying her own mark with the CH Insignia. A perfect fit.
Born with a famous last name and naturally drawn to the spotlight, starting young in an industry that forcefully molds you to fit what would “sell” was bound to happen—but she wasn’t having any of it. “I had this talk with someone recently, I remember having a problem with being myself,” says Lovi, “I was once told that ‘Lovi, in this industry, you can’t be yourself.’ I was like, why not? I was told to be prim and proper, and act a certain way, to be seen as or try to be a role model. But for me, I would like to see how you can be yourself, be authentic. In the industry of course it’s nice to be appreciated, but I would like to say that I’m not conventional—I’m not for everybody, maybe too much for some people, and that’s okay—people would like you for who you are.”
While perusing CH’s insignia collection and choosing the ciel handbag for herself, we were reminded of the emergence of Lovi into the world of fashion. It was not a calculated one, and neither was it due to please others. It came through time, and prodding from one of her closest friends, who she coincidentally tied at the top spot of Metro’s Most Stylish this year, Heart Evangelista Escudero. Lovi laughs as she recalls how Heart came into the dressing room and started ironing her hair. “We’ve been friends for quite some time, and I’ve been a fan of hers ever since I started. She’s been very generous about sharing what she knows about the industry. She was the one who started teaching me about fashion—wear a nice pair of jeans, a belt, an oversized polo or blouse. It’s nice to have someone look out for you, to support you. Having her around is a blessing.”
Even if Pam Quiñones is part of the personalities to be photographed and featured in the Carolina Herrera shoot, she was ever the professional—she ensured that all the others were styled and directed by her, even before she sat down to have her makeup done.
She’s used to the long hours and putting others in the spotlight, and she revels in it. In the fast paced world of the fashion industry where you need to keep up or be left behind, Pam has taken everything in stride, and has adapted to the changing of the guard. A fashion editor and editor-in-chief in the past, she has moved forward to focusing on several things. One, her styling studio which she has nurtured throughout the years, two, providing creative direction for brands, three, something mysterious that is along the line of fashion retail that propagates fashion sustainability, and a lot of talks. She shares, “A lot of people who attend such talks say that they get inspired by us, but I find that doing those talks and hearing their responses make us more inspired to do what we do—knowing we make an impact, and urges us to keep doing what we’re doing.”
The mark that Pam has made in the industry literally shows in every person her styling studio has helped, and Pam appreciates the continued trust that she gets in the industry. However, the mark she hopes to make involves more introspection. “Every single day, for the styling team that I train and nurture, I would want people to understand and really appreciate the kind of training that we give them. I want the team to try to be the best styling studio there is. I’ve never really consciously thought of the legacy that I would want to have, but that is the closest thing that I’ve had to one.”
Her day-to-day dealings with the industry also reflect her chosen piece from the Insignia collection—a small Insignia bag in brown leather. “It has a slim belt, and it’s smaller than the other ones. You can use it as a sling bag, belt bag, or a clutch. I love the versatility of it.”
For model/host Mari Jasmine, the shift from the industry that she’s grown comfortable with to putting up a small business with a friend wasn’t difficult at all—it was more of shift in focus, and perspective. “We created multipurpose towels out of recycled bottles. It folds compact and light, and you can use it for everything, as a yoga towel, for the beach. I’ve had no life this year because that’s what I’ve been focusing on—launching that line.”
It sounds like it’s been a good year for Mari, and there are no indications that state otherwise. When asked on what mark she would want to leave in the industry that she belongs in, she gives a profound answer that is less about herself, and more of what everyone can apply to their life. “Well really, I would want to encourage others to live their best life, whatever that may be. Whether it’s taking care of your mental health, from what you eat, from not being afraid of who you are. That’s the best way to make your mark, to embrace and celebrate who you are.”
Perhaps that’s why CH resonates with Mari, finding herself drawn to its femininity, its classic pieces, and how there’s a style for everyone. “I’ve always gone for classic pieces—I’m not a trendy person. Instead of loud clothing, I go for something sophisticated or with a twist on it, like a ribbon, an interesting cut—classic with a twist. With Carolina Herrera, they’re known for the white shirt, and it caters towards different kinds of men and women. It celebrates all of us.”
Director and filmmaker Sam Lee makes no qualms about who she is—and don’t expect any apologies for it, either. Hungry to bring her films out to the public, she’s not out to get praise or recognition from it. Her hunger comes from the astonishment that she is finally able to create films that she herself would have loved to see when she was younger, looking for direction, or a film that she could relate to. And due to the lack of such a film, she sought to create those films herself. “They’re the kinds of films that I wanted to see when I was younger,” shares Sam, “I want to encourage young girls and young members of the LGBTQ+ community that it’s okay to be yourself, you should be proud of who you are, and there’s no need to hide behind society’s thinking of who she should be or who she should love, or what you should believe in.”
Sam’s most recent film, “Billie & Emma”, makes Sam prouder than ever of her work. “I got queer girls to play the queer roles. Growing up I never thought I would see someone out and proud starring in their own film—to make this happen is kind of cool, thinking that some young kid will see it and say, ‘Oh, that girl is out and proud to be who she is, and I don’t need to hide who I am.’ What I want to achieve with my films is for women to feel good about themselves, and I think that’s perhaps what Carolina Herrera and I might have in common—she makes women look and feel good, and that’s kind of what I want to achieve with my films.”
The chef is having a moment in the sun nowadays. The highly private, equally passionate professional has found his footing, seeing that beyond being exceptional in your craft, one must know the art of bringing yourself out there. Because at the end of the end, what good is being the best chef in town if no one knows who you are?
Chef Josh Boutwood is tiptoeing into the spotlight, but at his pace, on his own terms. He states, “I would like to make my mark in the industry by seeing my team grow and succeed, to continue to push boundaries. So much energy goes into pushing every one of them to the limits so they can see how far they themselves can go.”
Ken Samundio’s whimsical pieces have made its way to Hollywood celebrities and to the Upper East Side, and he’s just getting started. He says, “I want to be one of the local designers who’s able to make a name globally. I want to serve as a blueprint for younger generation of designers that there is so much more to conquer, and to discover outside our islands. For now, my career trajectory is outside, and I keep pushing my financial and creative limits to achieve my dreams of being a global brand.”
It is a dream that sounds much like how Carolina Herrera started out, pushing limits to become the global brand that it is today. Ken’s laser like focus on his dream of going global is steadily coming into fruition—he reveals that there’s a collaboration coming soon that he can’t wait to share. “It’s very exciting—it’s with a Parisian heritage brand. I’m also focusing on sustainability in my design even further for this coming year.” For Ken, the limit does not exist, and he will conquer the globe in no time.
It seemed like not so long ago when Christina Bartges, better known as DJ Badkiss, broke into the scene with music as edgy and different as her distinct look. She’s not here to conform to society’s cookie cutter mold of how a woman should look like, what industry she belongs in, and how she needs to compromise who she is in order to succeed. She says, “I think what I have proven in the last 15 years is that you can be successful in the entertainment industry without having to compromise who you are. The secret is really to be consistent in your choices, and strong in your convictions. You can’t please everyone, but you have to please yourself. Being exceptional at what you do helps a lot. My motto is ‘Be so good that nobody can deny you your place.’”
Her motto is one that resonates with the core of CH, with its namesake working decades to build a name for herself, until she was able to take her place in the industry. Badkiss’ pick from the Insignia collection is as unconventional as she is. “I choose the color green out of the collection, because it’s bright, young, and colorful.” She’s sure to pull it off.
Bruce Ricketts & Jae Pickrell
Although a celebrated chef and restaurateur, Bruce Ricketts has made it a point nowadays to take a step back from the spotlight—he doesn’t seek it, never sought it, and would rather focus on the craft. It’s just that exceptional food and professionalism brought the public to his restaurants, and for that, he is grateful. When asked about what type of mark he would wish to leave, he muses, “The kind of mark that many chefs before me and industry professionals have left: to inspire the next generation of cooks and chefs to do what they truly believe in and something that they are willing to do until they grow old. A dedication to craftsmanship, personal style, technique, and a mastery of the branches in their style of cooking. To see cooking as a way of life, not just a profession or job description. To create such a mark, you have to be willing to invest your whole life into whatever you believe in and gather enough like-minded people to work with to push for this cause.”
Nowadays, he is more than ever hard at work, now with wife Jae Pickrell by his side. He shares, “My relationship with my wife is one that gets better and better through time, through the days I spend with her to become even more excited about how much greater our relationship will be as the years go by. I still learn things about my wife, nuances that make me further attracted to her to this day.”
It’s the small things, the nuances, as Bruce states, that make the biggest mark on him. He says that it’s also reflective of his cooking style, and translates to his sense of style as well. “The shirt I picked to wear to the event is a classic, but has small details that make it different. It’s very reflective of my cooking style when it comes to a respect for tradition, but made different through key elements of personalization.”
Jae may have made the jump from fashion editor into the restaurant industry, but she admits that she has found the sweet spot between the two. Harnessing what she has learned to marry the two worlds. Jae says that she enjoys what she’s doing at the moment—especially since she gets to do so with her husband, Bruce Ricketts. She shares, “Our shared passion for food brought us together. Food was the topic of our first conversation, and that conversation really hasn’t stopped since. Eventually, it manifested into La Chinesca, and hopefully will manifest into more restaurants as we continue our lifelong conversation. As a former fashion magazine editor, the transition to the restaurant industry is quite a jarring one, but I’m lucky to have a partner who can teach me everything and hold my hand through it all. My role is to work alongside Bruce and make sure that his creative output is executed well from an operations standpoint. Much like working on a project as a magazine editor though, the spotlight isn’t on me, but on the talent or subject, Bruce; so I just have to harness our synergy and shared values so that our ideas and the mark that he wants to leave in this industry can come to life.”
She and Bruce are partners through and through, but Jae couldn’t resist the beckon of reveling in the industry that she clearly feels comfortable in—and it shows in her chosen CH piece. She states, “I would pick the classic white button-down with a knotted detail in front. The foundation is clearly a classic white shirt, made more interesting through an arresting design feature that makes it timeless yet current and unusual at the same time.”
The furniture designer is a legend in his own right. His pieces have brought worldwide recognition for its ingenuity and distinctiveness, and more importantly, it has showcased the best of Filipino creativity. “What’s my secret to success?” He says, repeating back the question asked of him, seemingly musing over it and wondering about it himself, “I think it’s always trying to come up with new designs, year after year, that are very different from each other. It’s being innovative in the world of design. I think that while a lot of people can make hits and good design, but it’s one thing to be consistent about it.”
Consistency is key, Kenneth stresses, and also simplicity and timelessness—something that he can relate to with Carolina Herrera. “I aspire for those as well in design,” he adds. He is never not busy—during the shoot, he flew in from Cebu to unveil his latest collection with one of the biggest brands, which gave him the unprecedented privilege to co-brand his collection with the brand. It’s a testament to the weight that the Kenneth Cobonpue name carries. “I’d like to be able to inspire other young people to want to enter the creative industry. More important than my furniture or the work that I do is the legacy, to be able to show other young Filipinos that we can use resources we have, the skills we possess, and create something different and unique for the whole world to enjoy.”
Considering the busy few days the Cebuana has had in Manila, Candice being in high spirits is commendable. When she speaks about what fills her days, she lights up. “We are in the business of service. Our family businesses are into healthcare and education. We have hospitals and the largest university in the country, the University of Cebu. For both industries, we give hope and transform lives. It’s the mission of the school, and I hope we live up to that mission,” Candice adds that it’s become her life’s work to transform lives. “The students that come to us are usually from the lowest economic sector, where they come to us because they need jobs, and usually can only afford to put one child through school. When the child gets a degree and a job, he’s able to help with the family and their siblings, hopefully lifting them out of poverty. I hope the mark I make is to continue that work.”
Candice is all smiles and laughter during the photo shoot, and her happiness is contagious—and more importantly, it’s authentically so. “I’ve admired Carolina Herrera’s work for a long time,” she says, “I like the tailored look, the classic pieces. It’s amazing what she’s done, and the mark she’s made in the industry.”
Royal Pineda and Budji Layug
It was with the prodding of Budji Layug’s mother that Budji met Royal, and in 2002, they launched BUDJI+ROYAL, with the vision of being the Philippines’ lead advocate of Modern Filipino Architecture and Design. As the Principal Architect and CEO of the company, he states that his mission is simple: To define the modern Filipino through architecture and planning. Royal adds, “I would like to send a cohesive and clear message of what Modern Filipino sensibility is—and to free their mindset. I would also like to help them in expressing this sensibility, and making it more tangible in every project we do.
Royal does this mission in tandem with Budji, and all wait with bated breath to see the “Modern Philippine City” that will be kicked off with the new athletic stadium and aquatic center for the 30th Southeast Asian Games, where the Philippines is set to host. Royal says that he and Budji are like the left and right foot. “For two creative minds to agree, it is usually difficult. But our shared sensibilities and philosophies are very much aligned. This harmony in our relationship keeps evolving, and it reinforces and purifies our partnership.”
The Principal Designer and Chairman of BUDJI+ROYAL is one who hopes for a brighter future for Filipino design, one that is hinged on the hope that the younger generation will not only maintain the standard of excellence brought by their predecessors, but to elevate it. Budji says, “The kind of mark I would like to leave in the industry is to be able to promote and advance modern Filipino design, and sharing this with professionals and to those around the world. I would also like to continue being a mentor to students, to encourage the new generation to bring modern Filipino design to a higher level.”
Budji will be coming out with his book by next year, but for the meantime, it is a blessing to know him as the other half of BUDJI+ROYAL Architecture+Design. He says that a successful partnership relies on leaving the ego out the door. “When we formed the company in 2002, our creative and business partnership turned into a close collaboration of trust and respect. It’s a free flow of wonderful ideas, so we could continue to pursue our vision.”
(Tina Badkiss, Budji Layug, Royal Pineda, Josh Boutwood, Jae Pickrell, Bruce Ricketts) by RG Medestomas
(Heart Evangelista, Lovi Poe, Pam Quiñones, Mari Jasmine, Samantha Lee, Ken Samudio, Kenneth Cobonpue, Candice Gotienuy) by Artu Nepomuceno
Lilian Yeung, Franco Ferrer, and Angie Salud of Estée Lauder
Special thanks to JR Perea of CH Carolina Herrera