Los Angeles is well known around the world as a hub of creativity, especially in the film industry (Hint: Hollywood) and LAFW.
Fashion though, is a new ball game for the West Coast with the second season of the Los Angeles Fashion Week. Aiming to make their mark as the NYFW of the West Coast, the Spring 2016 Runway shows brought out the best of the industry talent here in Los Angeles.
The first season saw celebrities like Rebel Wilson in the front row supporting Australian designers and this year, I witnessed the Hollywood version of Fashion Week. I also caught a glimpse of the real life Ken Barbie doll.
Nothing short of bursts of creativity, LA Fashion Week was held in a beautiful open space in Columbia Square on Sunset Boulevard. Guests would walk up a flight of stairs to see a variety of O’Gara luxury cars on display, and walked the red carpet towards a beautiful Vanity Fair inspired backdrop of green and white. As you walked into the main event, selfie lights seemed to be the theme of the evening, with guests surrounding the lights to take the perfect, well-lit selfie! I have to admit, I took a couple myself!
Bringing in designers from all over the world, there were a variety of looks and I think one similarity amongst all the designers was the LA vibe attached to the clothing. The designs were collectively very flowy, carefree, unique and if they were a couture collection, you could sense an influence of red carpet Hollywood glam infused in them.
Michael Sta. Maria – LAFW Showing Designer Interview
Stunning. If I had to describe Michael Sta. Maria’s collection down the runway in one word. Stunning.
It’s like every girl’s dream to be a Disney Princess, strutting down the stairs in an elaborate, intricate gown made from beautiful fabrics of vibrant colours. But there’s more than just physical beauty to his pieces, this designer hails from the Philippines and attaches his personal experience, whether it be joy, pain, determination and translates those feelings into clothing. I managed to sneak an interview with this talented man and I’ve only scratched the surface of picking his brains!
Tell me about your background as a designer and about your fashion label
I studied Fashion Design in Fashion Institute of the Philippines. I started to be an Avant Garde designer expressing my emotions and weirdness as an artist. However, taking into consideration the business side of fashion I shifted to becoming a bridal, evening wear, red carpet designer. My Fashion label is a modern take into couture that you wear in formal event and red carpet, and when you wear an MSM, all eyes will be on you.
Your designs scream Wedding Couture, would you describe it that way?
Yes, I love the feeling of doing something very intricately. Hand sewing, embellishment and beadworks, laces, embroideries – I see beauty when these come together into an ensemble. Most of all it is so much fulfilling when people appreciates your craft specially when you gave so much time and effort in each piece.
Have your designs been showcased at other Fashion Weeks?
Yeah, I have been joining fashion week here in our country and abroad. I recently showcased my Men’s collection in Philippines Men’s Fashion Week. Last year I represented our country in Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Scotland Fashion Showcase 2015 in United Kingdom.
Tell me about the collection that you’re showcasing at LAFW? What inspired the designs?
3 years ago I experienced a life changing accident, my car crashed into a 10-wheeler truck resulting to a severe bone fracture. I was bed ridden and wasn’t able to walk for more than a year. More than the physical challenges, I experienced so much pain and depression but continue to fight for survival. When I showcased my collection in Mercedes Benz Asia Fashion week, I showcased a collection that has been inspired by new beginnings, because it was just last year when I started walking again. Now, for LA Fashion week I wanted to show the world what had transpired before that new beginning, taking as an inspiration the darkness I experienced as I struggle for recuperation.
What goes through your mind during the design process?
I always draw inspiration from my emotions and feelings. For this collection what I really thought was that my audience would feel all the pain, anger, and depression I have felt during that downfall. I want to them to feel the drama and extreme passion I had during that struggle.
How do you select the fabrics and materials you use?
I used a lot of laces, embroideries, stones and crystals to translate my vision into this collection. A lot of hand skills and effort has been put into this collection.
Among the designers that also showcased were Rose Cottage, Phlemuns and George Styler – who we loved in Vancouver at VFW. Oh, and surprise appearance by legendary supermodel Veruschka at the Esther Perbandt runway show in collaboration with Goethe-Institut!
[Editor: Watch for further fashion week coverage – Eco Fashion Week and additional LAFW – coming soon!]