With the fashion pendulum constantly swinging, one thing that you can count on is Francis Libiran's unerringly stylish sartorial sense. His impeccably intricate haute couture work has continuously earned the nods of fashion heavyweights. His pieces have been spotted in the international scene, donned by America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks, Miss World 2013 Megan Young, and Hollywood actress Nikki Reed. Local celebrities, like Anne Curtis, Kim Chiu, Bea Alonzo, Julia Montes, and Kathryn Bernardo, have also worn one of Francis' stunning creations.
With everything that Francis has accomplished, is there anything else that the talented designer is set to conquer?
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Francis is now bringing haute couture sensibilities into the retail world. Teaming up with Filipino fashion house Bayo, Francis is launching a ready-to-wear line in celebration of the brand's 25th anniversary. “I am excited about this collaboration because I’ve been toying around with the idea of a retail line for some time now,” Francis exclaims. “This would be a different avenue for me to express my designs.”
With all the international players in the retail market, Francis wanted to come up with designs that were groundbreaking yet still distinctively Filipino. "I wanted the collection to be a mesh between myself and the brand,” Francis relates. “I sat down and asked them: ‘What is the DNA of Bayo?’.” From there, the designer gained a deeper understanding of their line. “Their style was very basic, classic,” Francis noted. “This made it easier for me. The clothes was the perfect blank canvas to incorporate whatever details I want.”
To successfully marry the worlds of haute couture and RTW, it is all about striking the perfect balance between the two. But, how does one find harmony between Francis’ trademark intricate detailing and Bayo’s characteristic functionality? “I’m so used to beading and embroidery,” Francis admits. “How can I introduce this effectively into their aesthetic?”
The solution? Injecting new fashion nuances into classic pieces. Francis’ signature Art Deco geometrics were digitally rendered into fabric, essentially designing the textile framework that would make up the garments. From there, the patterns were thoughtfully positioned to best accentuate a woman’s body, resulting in a balance of pragmatic and sensual, elevating the classic ensembles beyond function, into the realm of art. “We had to study the lines of each garment, deciding where to put my patterns where it would be flattering to the woman who was wearing it.”
Francis’ keen attention to detail resulted in clothes that are distinctive, with precise monochromatic interplays of line patterns geometry registered in a graphic palette of cobalt blue, black, and white. Although predominantly linear, the pieces still retain a discreet sense of femininity with its demure silhouettes. There is an unfussy sense of grace that permeates each item, exuding whispers of glamour, perfect for every confident, stylish Filipina.
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The FL x Bayo collection will drop at selected Bayo stores nationwide and at www.styleshops.com.ph starting March 2017 / Photographs courtesy of Bayo