IT’S now official! After several months of working under the radar, Noel Crisostomo and Stephanie Valdez formally debuted as creative directors of Collezione C2.
The two gave members of the media a sneak preview of their debut collection in a recent fashion show at the Rockwell Club featuring actor Jericho Rosales, the brand’s newest endorser.
Joey Qua, president of C2 Retail Stores Inc., decided to delay the formal introduction of Crisostomo and Valdez while the brand reassessed its direction and beefed up merchandize after former creative director Rhett Eala left the company early this year.
Founded in 1972, Collezione, a reputable but staid brand made primarily of pique, a knitted material composed of cotton and polyester, languished in the wake of competition until Eala revived its image and product offerings, including the introduction of the now iconic map shirt, when he joined the company a few years ago.
Crisostomo, who takes care of the brand’s men’s line, and Valdez, the ladies’ line, have agreed to downplay the Philippine map in favor of the brand’s equally iconic key logo.
“With this collection, we try to reinvent the pique,” said Crisostomo of his men’s wear pieces. “I tried to veer away from the typical polo shirt by putting more attention to details. The collars and closures, for instance, are a little different.”
Now that the brand has been firmly reestablished, the two designers want to appeal to a more discerning and upscale market.
For her part, Valdez came up with a more varied offering for women in the form of figure-hugging playsuits with peek-a-boos at the back.
Since not all women are comfortable wearing body-con dresses, she also designed figure-skimming numbers that downplay and even conceal problem areas such as the hips and tummy.
“I also designed a number of dresses with looser silhouettes made of stretch pique,” said Valdez. “I used a lot of bold colors combined with classic shades such as white, black and navy.”
In lieu of basic and shapeless shirtdresses, there would be more of tailored playsuits made of pique. Crisostomo has also introduced a line of pique shorts for men.
Before working for Collezione, the two didn’t know each other. Since they need to come up with a cohesive look, they make it a point to work together at Collezione’s Pasig office at least once or twice a week.
That they come from different worlds, as Valdez put it, has worked to their advantage. Instead of treating each other as rivals, they work together like partners. They’ve also collaborated together on a number of select pieces.
“Noel and I are really part of a team. When he, for instance, comes up with something I like, which would really work as a his-and-hers look, we discuss the possibility of doing it. We do things better together,” Valdez said.
It’s part of the Filipino culture for a good number of couples to wear matching outfits. Although it’s not a big market, it has a substantial presence that Collezione C2, under its new creative directors, feels is worth catering to.
“We also ventured into and sometimes created colors and combinations that weren’t usually used,” said Crisostomo. “And since we work as partners, we’re pretty transparent on what we’re working on. The other party needs to know.”
(For a full version of this story, read the September 28 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s lifestyle section.)