Not only was internationally renowned fashion designer Francis Libiran (along with his business partner Arsi Baltazar and colleague Victor Harry) one of the first few people to see Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (and her crown) during her homecoming weekend, he is also one of Pia’s chosen designers to dress her during her reign. The two advocates of Filipino design discussed the events and engagements Pia will be attending as Miss Universe, with Francis coming up with several designs he will be making for the beauty queen. “I asked her what she likes to wear and gave her some suggestions. Even before leaving for the competition, Pia was very vocal about her intent to wear Filipino designers if ever she'll get the crown,” shares Francis.
But their efforts to take Filipino design ahead on the world stage doesn’t just stop at producing exquisite pieces—Francis will bring to life some of his beautiful designs using Filipino fabrics. “Just like Pia, it is also my goal to showcase the beauty and talent of Filipinos all around the world. I want Pia to wear pieces that will evoke hints of Philippine artistry and craftsmanship with the use of local Philippine fibers,” he notes. Francis has created notable gowns for Pia on countless occasions even before she went to compete in the international pageant, so for sure their collaboration—with his excellent creative vision and design skills and her eye for all things beautiful—is something to watch for.
Think you don’t have as much power as Pia and Francis to advocate Filipino design? You actually do: You, too, can support the growth of the Philippines as a design hub by simply buying Pinoy. Instead of splurging on international brands, why not have your next outfit made by Francis or other designers in our country’s long list of talented creatives? Need an outfit in an instant? You’ll find chic RTW pieces at homegrown retail store Myth in Greenbelt 5 and online on ava.ph, and for casual and street wear, we have an extensive roster of top quality brands from the Bench group, to the Penshoppe group, to Plains & Prints, and even budding designers and brands who have set up shop online—stop being a snob in your own home: Love local in every sense of the word.
By the way, we also got to chat with Francis, Arsi, and Harry regarding his visit with Pia, read on for their royal experience:
On how Pia is now as Miss Universe: “She shared very memorable stories about her win and her fun experiences as Miss Universe in the US. She is still the good, old Pia that we know: Hilarious, adorable, humble, and very natural. Never a dull moment with her! We also got the chance to tell her how proud we are and that from the very start we already knew that she would win not just because of her beauty but also because of her determination and perseverance. Pia also shared to us some of her plans during her reign and we told her that we will support her all the way.”
On seeing the billion-dollar bejeweled crown: “It was surreal, of course! The crown was encased in a special container and she asked us if we wanted to see it. She showed us the beautiful crown and made us carry it. It was quite heavy, then she said she'd wear it so that we can have photos with her—selfies, at that. We know how Pia worked hard to get that crown for the Philippines. And now that she already has it, she is still the same humble person that we know. Pia is such a grounded person. She is a true queen!”
ALSO READ: Style Speak: Why You Should Let Your Personal Style Shine in Every Outfit of Yours
Photographs from Instagram.com/francislibiran8, Instagram.com/arsibaltazar, and Instagram.com/xtraordinaryharry