Exclusive photos for StarStudio.ph courtesy of Niceprint
Last August 3, there was the usual hustle and bustle around the business and commercial districts of Makati City. But inside one of the luxury hotels in the area, Discovery Primea, there was a tropical Havana-themed party going on.
LADY IN WAITING. The stunning debutante walked down the hallways of the party’s venue, Discovery Primea, just before making her grand entrance.
As soon as she heard the hashtag, #LivinLaVidaKira, popped up during a pre-event planning session, Kira was sold on the idea of not only using it but also its tropical Latino vibe.
“I didn’t choose that, but on the first try, I fell in love with it,” she says, noting the hashtag sounds happy. “Saka hindi siya ’yung usual na ‘Kira at 18.’ I’m living my best life right now, and everything I want to do with my life is just to be happy, to enjoy every moment, to enjoy every blessing God is giving me.”
Though Kira personally chose the party’s theme, the event organizing team of La Belle Fete Weddings and Events gave it a little twist.
PARTY-READY. Discovery Primea’s Cervantes/Shakespeare Hall was spruced up for the 'Tropical Havana' theme.
“She really wanted a 'Tropical Havana' theme, so we actually studied ’yung pegs niya,” says La Belle Fete Weddings and Events CEO and head planner Ycoy Sitchon. But they made a few changes like replacing the typical bold Latin colors to softer ladylike shades that represent the debutante.
TROPICAL GODDESS. Kira admired the greenery put together by the styling team of Amante Fleurs.
She’s soft, she’s very feminine, so we actually created something dainty for her. She really wants something na laidback. Ayaw niya ’yung sobrang stiff na debut,” Ycoy explains, adding that prep time took two months.
Kira’s pre-debut photo and video shoot likewise adopted her party idea. Nice Print Photography’s owner Charisse Tinio shares to StarStudio.ph the story behind their shoot.
MODEL DEBUTANTE. The Fil-British beauty sure knows how to strike a pose.
“We also came up with the concept of the shoot of Kira na parang iba-ibang looks per layout,” she says. “Tropical, parang do’n lumabas ’yung typical Havana or Cuban. Pero pa-surprise na parang sa party, ay, iba! Havana tayo, pero hindi ito ’yung makikita niyo sa party.”
The photos and videos came like they were shot in Cuba, specifically in that Latin American’s capital city of Havana, though the shoot took place in three different locations around Metro Manila.
SHOT IN CUBA-O! Kira didn’t shoot in Cuba but Cubao X, with its hipster-retro vibe, was close enough.
“We really wanted an authentic feel of Havana, the Cuban feel,” Charisse points out. “The first one was Intramuros, mainly because of the Spanish, historic feel. The walls are very rustic and very vintage, and that’s what we wanted to achieve. The second location was the newly renovated Rizal Hotel in Manila, primarily because it’s all white and clean. There are some elements there na parang very Havana feel, especially the foyer and the architecture of the hotel. Lastly, since Kira is very young and very vibrant, we wanted a colorful shoot that feels like you’re actually in the streets of Cuba. So, we had it in one of the streets in Cubao, where there are stores that are vintage.”
BE OUR GUEST. Written on the three-sheet leaf-shaped invitation was the birthday girl’s request for the attendees to come in their best Cuban look.
The beautiful party invitations, as provided by Print Divas, also carried the event’s theme, and they came in a three-sheet set cut into leaves and adorned with lush floral and tropical hues.
The party’s organizers couldn’t have chosen a better venue than Discovery Primea, which Jay Hega, its events manager says, is a popular choice for celebrating milestones like a wedding reception, bridal shower and birthday.
Before the 150 guests could enter Discovery Primea’s Cervantes and Shakespeare function rooms, where the party took place, they were treated to the inviting sight of couches, hammocks, and pink palm trees. They were then put on party mood by the neon lights put up by LST Lights and Sounds.
LAID-BACK ATTITUDE. Hammocks were set up right outside the party hall, which proved to be quite Instagrammable.
The party’s main area was spruced up by the event styling team of Amante Fleurs using a palette of pink, green, and blue. As mentioned in a post on Kira’s IG account, those colorful decorative pieces are called Birds of Paradise.
THE DEBUTANTE’S LOOK
Kira and her fashion stylist Drew Lacia chose three dresses for her big coming-out party: a Mark Bumgarner floral creation for her entrance and 18 Roses Dance, a Martin Bautista pink number for the rest of the program, and an Apartment 8 Clothing flowery outfit for the after-party.
JUST PERFECT. The stunning debutante wore a Mark Bumgarner gown that was she wanted: simple and elegant.
DRESSED FOR DANCING. Kira’s second outfit, a pink dainty dress by Martin Bautista, was perfect for moving around and for the “18 Candles” portion in the program.
THE AFTER-PARTY GETUP. Kira wore a floral creation by Apartment8 for the rest of the evening.
The debutante loved all the dresses, especially the gown by Mark Bumgarner, which she describes as “simple and elegant.” She elaborates: “I said that I wanted a little more laidback and chill-kind-of-dress. It’s still a ball gown, pero it’s not that big. And I also wanted to put details on it, like flowers.”
SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL. Kira is definitely one of the freshest and prettiest faces in showbiz today.
Kira looked even more radiant with the help of top makeup artist Justine del Rosario and hairstylist John Valle.
THE YUMMIES & GOODIES
Kira personally chose the event’s menu, which consisted of Spanish-inspired dishes. “I wanted to give the feel of [Havana in the] food as well,” she says. Just like the Philippines, Latin American countries like Cuba have strong Spanish influences in their culture, including the food.
OUT OF THE ORDINARY. The six-layer baby pink birthday cake had a glass box layer in the middle.
The birthday cake, created by Hearts and Bells Cakes and Family Recipes, earned raves from the debutante and her guests. It was a six-layer baby pink cake that has a glass layer in the middle.
Other sweet treats, which were adorned with pastel-colored palms, were laid out for guests before the program proper started.
SWEET SPREAD. The birthday girl smiling looked at the dessert buffet, which consisted of marshmallows, cake pops, candies, and other confectionery shaped into leaves flowers, and flamingos.
In appreciation of her guests’ attendance, Kira gave away jewelry bags with her name embossed on them and made by Arteegram. She also gifted them with feather-shaped bottle openers, provided by Knotville Favors, as her way of saying, “Gracias!”
At the after-party, while listening and grooving to DJ Toons’ music, the guests enjoyed the watermelon and margarita slushies concocted by Margarush Beverage, and couldn’t help cheering on the debutante: “Hola, Kira!”