Only a few days more and it’s August—it’s almost entirely useless writing about Jerome Lorico’s newly opened studio in Makati named after himself, one that the veteran fashion designer conceptualized as seasonal. Meaning, it’s a space that reveals only a collection for a limited time before another creative mind or brand comes in for a collaboration during a “hibernation” phase. It’s an idea the shy stylista has breathed out as innovative and, hopefully, inspiring.
Jerome, 32, boasts of 11 years in the business and counting with an internship at Alexander McQueen and a string of major male celebs like Piolo Pascual and Jericho Rosales for his clientele—but it’s only now that he built a physical studio for his name. He blames it on the “process”—as a designer of furniture and a scholar of the arts who’s been sent abroad sporadically, he first found this dream of a space a little hazy. Last year, thankfully, he started realizing it—at the sight of a sad, sad pawnshop along Salcedo Street in Makati.
Of course, Jerome had to be madly involved.
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“I wanted it to look raw, pero wala akong mahanap before,” he recalls. “Gusto ko yung feel nya is parang bodega or warehouse. But it was so difficult to find that kind of place here. Kasi pag nasa New York or Berlin ka, madaming ganun ang itsura kasi yun yung aesthetic nila. But here naman kasi, it’s completely different.”
While he preferred the location peaceful and the floor area relatively bigger compared to other store spaces in the building, Jerome then met another problem: the walls. It took some time to grind the “years and years of bad habit of repainting without stripping the paint” only to reveal a rough, textured pattern that he then left as is.
Jerome tweaked many old parts of the place and, the artist that he is, transformed it to something sensational. For one, he took out the grill windows that previously covered the pawnshop counter and made it into a bench that bystanders now can sit on outside the studio. He had the wall of the fitting area about to be smoothened until it also dawned on him that, As you were!
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Unsurprisingly, Jerome injected new trademark, meaning-bearing works for further decoration at LORICO. For example, two shoulder-wide framed knit works hang on the left wall upon entrance a la “sculpture,” harking back to his award-winning knitwear entry at the International Fashion Showcase in 2012. A table, a bench, and an armchair at the waiting area form an industrial-themed triumvirate welcoming guests, with metal and bricks (inspired from his walks at the Washington SyCip Park and Ayala Triangle) as the body. Two pillars find themselves in the middle of the room, a la stalagmites marking the cave-like nook.
LORICO’s inaugural line also adds to Jerome’s dream aesthetic for his studio-atelier. Mostly in blues, grays, and blacks, the 2019 collection shies away from Jerome’s signature avant-garde to achieve the same essence. The next one, he teases, takes a more philosophical approach to design. "Think Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being," he says.
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Photography by Kitty De Leon