Proudly Pinoy arm candy inspired by Frank Gehry
The new bayong: S.C.Vizcarra’s Limited’s Nanna bags are hand-woven natural leather totes that are reversible and appear seamless.
Although a woman’s love for bags remains many a (straight) man’s mystery, this doesn’t deter a lot of us from cluttering our closet space with keep-alls and keep-(sm)alls. We change our bag when we change outfits, points of destination or even our moods. Bags can change an entire ensemble and, like a beautiful piece of art, can be a conversation starter, which can result in a gaggle of girls crowding around you, cooing over it like a freshly-bathed baby.
S.C. Vizcarra’s Rita Nazareno is no stranger to this phenomenon; in fact it was how I made her acquaintance during an art exhibit last year. Although surrounded by the provocative artworks of Schnabel, I was introduced to her and my eyes immediately zeroed in on her arm candy, a beautiful brown weave that looked as soft as butter and was of an unusual shape. Not realizing that she came from a family of designers (both her parents have their own lines of bags under the Vizcarra label), I asked in total ignorance where she bought it, and she replied, almost shyly, “I made it.” Within minutes, a small crowd had formed around us and her bag became the evening’s most talked-about piece.
Form and structure: The El Pez clutch inspired by the structure created by Frank Gehry.
Shortly after that evening, Nazareno returned to the UK to finish her MA in design management for the Fashion Industries at the London College of Design. Even while abroad, she already started working on her first line called Zacarias for S.C. Vizcarra, showing her first five pieces in October of 2010. She won the KATHA award (given by Manila FAME at CITEM) for fashion that same year. The bags included a woven leather bag based on Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao bag), a wicker clutch based on an Anish Kapoor sculpture (Marsupial clutch) and a recycled leather bag based on an Isa Genzken cement sculpture (Porthole bag). The Porthole bag was the very same one that got my attention the night that Nazareno and I met.
Weave the future: Bags are created using weaving techniques traditionally used in basketry.
Since returning to Manila, Nazareno has plunged wholeheartedly into design depths. One of her first projects was the re-design of S.C. Vizcarra’s Nanna bags, which were originally designed by Nazareno’s father, Butch Sales. “It took him and our development team a long time to come up with this new version, to perfect the weaving for this particular reversible Nanna bag. I’m still very impressed how the weaving was realized. This bag hides nothing really, if you look at it closely. And it comes with a great pouch for the inside as well,” she shares. The Nanna bags are fresh and fun, with stunning color combinations such as purple and pewter that will please even the most bipolar bag lover.
There are also additions to the Zacarias line, which is the El Pez clutch, inspired by Frank Gehry’s El Pez structure in Barcelona. “Even when viewed from the plane, that structure is quite fabulous, so much so that I just had to try to see how this massive, woven-looking sculpture could translate into a ti ny, handwoven bag,” says Nazareno. One can see the craftsmanship and attention to detail needed in the production of a bag. Most of them are made from natural materials (the Cruise Collection in particular) and weaving techniques traditionally used in basketry are applied. It is an intricate method with finer shapes, and there is an effort to meld luxury and fashion with artisan-crafted, handwoven objects. These make the bags challenging to produce; in fact some of the S.C. Vizcarra Limited bags are hand woven from a single piece of leather.
Even with all the work needed, the bags appear to be seamless, and have successfully married functionality with fashion. The Salcedo line, whose original version also won the Katha Award last April, is reinvented in a combination of materials, like woven jute and microfiber with a denim lining. All of the S.C.Vizcarra bags are produced in their workshop on Roxas Boulevard, and are not limited to just the designer’s imagination but to a team effort. “We also do bespoke products. We can customize a bag to one’s needs in terms of size, pockets, material and colors,” explains Nazareno, something which will definitely be sweet music to the ears of every bag lady out there. Imagine being able to choose from materials such as chaircane, wicker, water hyacinth and, of course, leather plus a rainbow of colors all woven into one beautiful seamless package.
Totable art: Zacarias by S.C.Vizcarra is named after designer Rita Nazareno’s grandfather, a sculptor. The designs in this line are based on contemporary art, architecture and design.
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Check out www. vizcarra1925.com.
SOUL TRAIN By Katrina A. Holigores (The Philippine Star) Updated July 08, 2011 12:00