All Stars Came Together For Rajo Laurel's 25th Anniversary Show At The Red Charity Gala
The Red Charity Gala this year was a tremendous success, as it mounted a Rajo Laurel spectacle that celebrated his 25th year in the fashion business. More than just appreciating Rajo as a designer, the number of people who attended and acclaimed the presentation, were there as declarations of love, affection, & friendship; because that’s precisely the kind of relationship Rajo has engendered with his clients and those that surround him. In a sense, it was an extended ‘family’ gathering, and we were there to honour him & celebrate with him.
Days before the Gala, proof of this very special atmosphere came via social media posts from the likes of Tootsy Echauz-Angara and Christina Nieto-Lopez. Pictures of weddings, special occasions where Rajo outfits would figure, and nights out with the man himself, were all over Instagram and Facebook; showcasing how he was considered ‘family’ by so many. Mention was made of his singing prowess; but no Rajo, it certainly isn’t time to seek an alternative career and join Lea Salonga who gifted us with a special number. Your more than a hundred creations that made up this Gala show, highlighting both Ladies’ and Men’s fashion, showed us just how strong a fire still burns within you to create and dress the world!
Rajo and I met when we were both 6 years old, playing two of the King of Siam’s many children in The King and I. He was always a rambunctious, energetic kid, never able to stay still for too long. This photo was taken in 2003 for my Songs From Home concert. We have been collaborating for a gazillion years it seems with no sign of that (or our friendship) ending. This year, as I celebrated 40 years as a performer, we celebrate 40 plus years of knowing each other, and as one of his friends, I couldn’t be more proud of how he has grown and evolved as one of our foremost fashion designers. Love you, Rajo! Congratulations!!! #rajoxxv
The Archipelago motif that dominated this show was certainly a celebration of Filipino heritage and culture as interpreted by Rajo in fashion apparel. The first segment alone was worth the price of admission; as earth tones and material such as abaca and piña were transformed into architectural shapes and designs via pleating. This was native and indigenous made to look modern and contemporary. My favourite segment!
With the second section, colour and sparkle were brought into play, the fabric often having a magical sheen that accentuated the play on geometric shapes, on volume, and on silhouettes. A lot of movement here, as weaves and fringes were employed to create motion.
The third segment was Menswear; and while a lot of the colour didn’t stray far from neutrals, the play on texture, layers, and proportions was fascinating. There would be cropped jackets with long, tunic-type shirts, and cropped baggy pants. The overall feel was boxy yet structured, and there was something Japanese about the ensembles.
The final segment brought back Womenswear; and from Blacks & Whites, there would be jewel tones and feathers. Here, there was something more random happening; but you couldn’t fault the designs, as the audience loved a good number of the pieces as they were revealed.
Special shout out to Director Robby Carmona and Saga Events for creating a most unique runway, where despite the size of the Ballroom and length of the catwalk, strategic lighting and choreography were employed to give everyone in the room a truly wonderful view of the proceedings.
Kudos to Tessa Prieto-Valdes and Kaye Tinga, to Ben Chan, and of course to Rajo, for putting together a spectacle, and a memorable night.