Every girl needs a good designer, a no-fail fashion-y friend she can run to during any style emergency. If you are trying your best to work on your inner self, then it’s always good to know you have someone to go to when you need to pamper your outer self. I have had the good fortune of coming into contact with several designers who have generously dressed me for the bajillion events that I have to attend (both for work and for pleasure) and it does relieve a lot of the dress-stress. I had the pleasure of meeting Ronaldo Arnaldo when I was in the midst of preparing the production of a big fashion show (100 designers/one venue) about two years ago. I liked his calm, quiet manner and his creation was one of my favorites among the 100 presented; his lines were strong yet feminine (in other words, curve-friendly) and he had an eye for color. Fast forward to a fitting with him and I was amazed: he took my measurements once. The second time I went in for another fitting, the dress was practically perfect, and I took it home the next day after some final touches.
Over the years, I have seen Arnaldo’s star continue to rise with favorable review after favorable review of his collections both on the runway and in editorial spreads. Although he is still a favorite for bespoke creations, he has now decided to expand into the land of retail, with his first collection, “The New Filipiniana,” available at L Manila in Greenbelt 3.
After more than 13 years in the industry, what made him decide to expand? “Ready to wear is the future of fashion,” shares Arnaldo. “I’m not saying couture is dying but nowadays, it is limited to weddings and formal dresses. And I wanted to reach out to a wider audience in retail.”
Taupe cotton knit jacket with moss green silk damask swirls on the bodice
Arnaldo’s work is known for its wearability and comfort and this remains true for his initial pieces that consist of dresses and tops in neutral shades. “I wanted to do something that was modern and Filipino, using indigenous and organic fabrics such as piña, Philippine dupione, linens and Philippine silks,” remarks the designer. “For this first collection, I’m starting with natural colors of the fabrics such as ecru and beige but in the near future, I will be infusing colors. I’m going to be experimenting with dyes.” Variations from his runway collection will also be available soon, and will have a lot more hues and tones to choose from. The dresses are perfect for a day in the office and, when paired with bright accessories, can make the intelligent shift from work to play. The silhouettes are female-friendly, giving the figure a flattering look, and also allowing the body to move without constriction. Versatility is further exemplified with a Philippine dupione ecru overblouse trimmed with French Alencon lace, perfect for evenings when a touch of elegance is required without going too over-the-top formal. Perfect for people like me who sometimes get the lazy bug when getting ready for a big night out. Think about it: you have something you can throw over a LBD or even a tank and dark jeans, and off you go.
Arnaldo’s background is an interesting one. He actually graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technolgy but ended up taking a crash course in fashion design at the now-defunct Premiere Fashion Arts Center. For five years, he assisted senior designer Mike de La Rosa and pursued his craft by taking up basic, advanced and couture pattern-making at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines. His interest in fashion, though, came much earlier. “My grandmother was a seamstress and at a very young age. I found myself playing with threads and needles on scrap fabrics with dolls and handicrafts,” he chuckles. Nowadays, Arnaldo looks to international designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Lacroix, Doori Chung, Alexander Wang, Narciso Rodriguez and Proenza Schouler for inspiration. He also plans further studies in 3D pattern making at the Central St. Martins in London to upgrade his knowledge in cutting and construction.
Having a go-to designer is a godsend, especially when you find one who has figured out your figure, your style and, best of all, is within your budget. It’s also an extra perk if said designer has a line that you can just grab off the rack when you’re in a fashion pinch. To those who like to dress up, dress down or would rather have someone dress them, I wish you all find a fall-back fashion designer. In the meantime, check out what’s on the RTW menu of Ronaldo Arnaldo.
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For more info on Ronaldo Arnaldo, contact tel. 403-0507 / 252-4369