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    Style Stories

    Sam

    Sam

    Fresh-faced beauty Sam Lewis had quite an early start in her modeling career at 16 years old.

    The statuesque British-Filipina made sure she finished her studies first (she’s a registered nurse) before diving into modeling full-time – and now she has produced an impressive body of work that spans almost 15 years. Her most recent projects include doing runway shows for fashion designer Vania Romoff and bridal designer Amir Sali and working with swimwear brand Coral Swimwear. Sam was also the perfect muse for our V Holiday collection, which features cubic zirconia and rose gold pieces.  

    Here, Sam shares with us her off-duty style and gets candid in front of the camera with her baby boy Lukas.

    On personal style: “I’d like to think my personal style is comfortable.”

    Sam wearing an olive green dress with (1) Verdana earrings

    “Being a new mom, I find myself looking at clothes and then thinking ‘Will I be able to breastfeed in this?’ so it’s basically my pre-baby style, which is a dress and sneakers, but just more breastfeeding-friendly. I have a lot more wrap dresses now or dresses that stretch so I can just easily drop down one side if I need to feed!”

    Sam in a maroon stretch dress and (2) Chroma beaded hoop earrings with 1-year old Lukas

    Sam's easy off-duty/ new mom style: dress + sneakers 

    White on: Sam's everyday sneakers beside baby Lukas' sandals

    “For accessories, I love wearing earrings. I actually have 6 piercings.”

    On what a typical day looks like: “Every day is different since I work freelance. On days that I am out without my son, I wear clothes that would be easy to pump in and easy to undress without ruining my hair and make-up before the show starts. It could be a dress or a top and skirt. I try not to wear pants especially during shows and fittings because they take more effort to put on and take off, sometimes more than once.”

    Sam wearing a robe by Coral Couture with (3) Damini earrings (4) Jairo mini hoop necklace (5) Hajari rod necklace and (6) Behira bangle all in rose gold

    Sam's everyday essentials and Lukas' favorite toys 

    On how she discovered her passion for modeling: “I started modeling when I was 16. I modeled for a hair styling and make-up show and that’s where it all started. I met more people after that and got booked to do more shows. I love modeling because you get to dress up and be made up and look different from how you would normally look. Aside from the pretty clothes, it’s also about the people I meet along the way.”

    Left photo: Sam wearing (7) Yalissa earrings (8) Aren chain necklace (9) Lanza chain necklace and (10) Nola snake chain necklace. Right photo: (11) Yalissa earrings (12) Hasina infinity necklace and (13) Behira bangle

    On her first fashion show experience: “I first walked for the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines’ 25th year fashion show. There was a short photo shoot before the show that later got published in the newspapers. I was wearing a Filipiniana and I was really nervous about walking.”

    Sam wearing a lace robe from Coral Couture with (14) Vanna earrings (15) Inara bar necklace and (16) Hajari rod necklace all in rose gold

    On what inspires her: “If I was asked this 2 or 3 years ago, my answer would be definitely different. We get older, things change, and now, everything I do, I do for my son. He is my strength and he is also my weakness.”

    On how she has evolved as a model: “I think there are a lot of things I haven’t done but I’m okay with that. I’m just very lucky that I still get to do this kind of work. I get to work and be with my son at the same time. I don’t think everyone has the privilege to do that.”

    Sam wearing (17) Agathi earrings and (18) Jaydra bracelet

    Her advice for aspiring models: “Don’t be scared to try modeling outside your comfort zone, especially trying modeling internationally. Start while you’re young. Be strong. It’s a cut-throat industry!”

    Sam wearing (19) Jaydra and (20) Sumitra bracelets with (21) Lucette earrings

    On what's next for her: “I put my son first before anything, so I am where it is best for him — even if it means moving back to London.”

    Follow Sam on Instagram: @_samlewis

    Follow Coral Couture: @coralcouture

    Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)

    Make-up by @esteelauder Philippines

    Hair by @kikopedazajr of @jingmonissalon

    Shot on location at The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, 119 L. P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati (@thepicassomakati)

    Website: www.picassomakati.com

    ***

    Accessories:

    (1) Verdana earrings - coming soon

    (2) Chroma beaded hoop earrings - coming soon

    (3) Damini earrings

    (4) Jairo mini hoop necklace

    (5) and (16) Hajari rod necklace 

    (6) Behira bangle (rose gold)

    (7) and (11) Yalissa earrings

    (8) Aren chain necklace

    (9) Lanza chain necklace

    (10) Nola snake chain necklace

    (12) Hasina infinity necklace

    (13) Behira bangle (gold)

    (14) Vanna earrings

    (15) Inara bar necklace 

    (17) Agathi earrings

    (18) and (20) Jaydra bracelet

    (19) Sumitra bracelet

    (21) Lucette earrings

    Jacqe

    Jacqe

    Marketing maven Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez has made it her mission to make it easy for Filipinas to look beautiful without the high price tag. She left her corporate job in one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies (where she handled some of the most well-known global beauty brands) to become an entrepreneur so she can have more time for her family – and since then has built a beauty empire made up of products that Filipinas have come to love.  

    The CEO and co-founder of Happy Skin and BLK Cosmetics gives us a tour of her ‘second home’ and tells us more about the business of ‘uncomplicated beauty.’

    On personal style: “I really go for classic and simple. I’ll buy a few trendy clothes sometimes for a little fun but maybe 80% of my closet are made up of classic pieces like silks and linens. When I buy clothes, I usually get 5 colors of the same design. I don’t want to think so much about what to wear because I manage 3 businesses and I have 2 kids. ”

    “For colors, I like neutrals: beiges, light pinks, nudes, whites. For me, these colors bring happiness because they’re light on the eyes, it’s nice to look at, it’s easy to pair, and you always look fresh.”

    Jacqe wearing a blush-colored silk top and white pants with (1) Yanka disc necklace layered with (2) Karam chain necklace

    Jacqe's picks: (3) Yanka disc necklace, (4) Karam chain necklace, (5) Lyndall north star necklace, (6) Darissa charm necklace, (7) Nola snake chain, (8) Alix oval link chain and (9) Vafara lariat 

     

    Jacqe also sticks to classic shoes and bags in basic colors. Also seen here are some of BLK's products, which include the Hong Kong shade from the BLK Travels collection, Contour, Blush & Highlight Palette, Creamy Cheek Paint and All-Day Intense Matte Lipstick in Elegant 

    On what a typical day looks like: “Every day is different! Mondays and Wednesdays, I’m at the Happy Skin office while Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m at the BLK office. On Fridays, I do work for Seoul White. Saturdays and Sundays are devoted to my husband and my kids and we try to spend as much family time as possible. It’s very hectic but I really enjoy my job from the countless meetings to checking products, shoots, and everything you need to do to create a brand and sell a product. I’m fulfilled with what I do and what I’ve accomplished and I’m so grateful that the Philippines has given me the opportunity to create brands that they love.”

    Jacqe wearing navy coordinates with (10) Yalissa earrings and (11) Karas 2-layer  necklace

    On her journey from corporate marketer to beauty entrepreneur: “I was with Unilever Philippines for 9 years then I got expatriated so I did about 4 years abroad. When we were expatriated – my husband was based in Myanmar and my boss was based in Singapore – I had to travel all the time because I was handling Australia and Asia. We were newly married but we really didn’t have much time for each other. My job didn’t allow me to spend as much time as I wanted at home and we wanted to start a family already. At that point in our lives, I told myself maybe I can start my own business instead. And if I fail, I will just go back to a corporate job.”

    “Happy Skin was actually born in Myanmar. We really poured our hearts and souls into creating the brand and thank God that it was well-received. It’s the first homegrown brand that paved the way for a lot of other local brands right now in the market.”

    Two Happy Skin products that Jacqe keeps in her beauty kit: Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Lippie in Under The Sheets and Pinch Me Natural Lip & Cheek Stick 

    On the early days of Happy Skin: “I was really lucky because one of my partners is the owner of Plains and Prints. [Erickson Farillas] was the one who convinced me to get into business and he helped me navigate through the things I wasn’t familiar with. Creating a brand is easy, at least for me, because it’s something I’ve been doing and was trained for in my corporate career, but managing retailers and how to run a retail shop as well as fulfilling government requirements were all new to me."

    Jacqe wearing a lace dress with (12) Karam chain necklace layered with (13) Darissa charm necklace and (14) Sundari earrings 

    "I think it’s very important that you have a proper mentor because you can’t do everything on your own. It’s always a team effort. Since Happy Skin is sourced from the beauty capitals of the world, the struggles during the first year included importation and customs and I had someone who taught me how to navigate those unfamiliar waters.”

    On how BLK came about: “I started BLK when Happy Skin was about 4 years old. BLK came about because I felt like there was an opportunity in that segment to play in. When Anne [Curtis] and I talked about the kind of brand we wanted, we realized we had the same vision and that was uncomplicated beauty." 

    Jacqe wearing a pink dress with (15) Makana 2-layer necklace

    "We wanted products that are very accessible to more people, especially to her fans, that are of very good quality and in a way curated so it’s trimmed down to the essentials. When we launched, we only had 5 products and these 5 products were the only things you would need to complete your face.” 

    Jacqe wearing the (16) Lucette earrings  

    On the design inspiration for the BLK office: “Just like BLK’s tag line of ‘uncomplicated beauty’, we wanted our office to look simple yet versatile. When we were talking to Crate and Barrel, they said they have a lot of furniture pieces that would work in an office."

     

    BLK's headquarters has a chic industrial feel done in neutral colors complemented with soft pink 

    "We really wanted our office to be our second home so that our employees will be relaxed and will be inspired to generate creative ideas. Crate and Barrel helped us create the design for the entire office and I think they were able to make one that feels like home but still looks professional. It’s very uncomplicated, it’s comfortable and yet so chic."

    On the latest BLK products: “BLK Travels was actually born out of real consumers. A lot of BLK fans take their BLK products to different parts of the world, take photos of them and then tag BLK or Anne [Curtis], and they were the ones who created the hashtag #BLKTravels. We realized a lot of people are proud to bring their products abroad so we came up with the idea of mini lipsticks so bringing them during trips would be more convenient then it eventually it evolved to naming them after countries and adding an illustration of different animals on the packaging. And because we’re a cruelty-free brand, we decided to take it further by partnering with WWF so that part of the proceeds of the sales of the collection will be donated to them. BLK is barely a year old and this is our way of sharing the blessings that we’ve received.

    The BLK Travels collection has 6 mini lipsticks in shades named after different countries 

    On the most important lessons she learned as an entrepreneur: “Number one is don’t be afraid to ask help. Don’t assume you know everything. My biggest learning is you must find the right partners to work with because your partners will help you create the brand and make it bigger than how you imagined it to be."

    "Two is don’t be afraid to experiment. Before, I would refer to my corporate experience when it came to what promos or products would work but every brand has different personality, every market has a different reception. Usually, blush comes in powder form so it was a risk to launch a liquid blush but we wanted to try it out. I only ordered 20,000 pieces and in one month it was sold out. If you know it’s a good product, it will work.”

    Follow Jacqe on Instagram: @jygutierrez

    Follow Happy Skin on Instagram: @happyskin_ph

    Follow BLK Cosmetics on Instagram: @blkcosmeticsph

    Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)

    ***

    Accessories: 

    (1) and (3) Yanka necklace

    (2) (4) and (12) Karam chain necklace

    (5) Lyndall necklace 

    (6) and (13) Darissa charm necklace

    (7) Nola snake chain

    (8) Alix oval link chain

    (9) and cover photo Vafara lariat  

     (10) Yalissa earrings

    (11) Karas 2-layer necklace

    (14) Sundari earrings 

    (15) Makana 2-layer necklace

    (16) Lucette earrings

    Lola Androgynous

    Lola Androgynous

    What does “dressing your age” really mean? Tessie Singson aka Lola Androgynous challenges the notion that fashion is only for the young and turns ‘advanced style’ to avant garde – with platform shoes to boot. The 65-year old fashion slayer shares with us how her Instagram blog started and her fashion philosophy that encourages personal expression.    

    On personal style: “My style is androgynous with a touch of kakikayan.” 

    “I wear mostly black and white with pops of bold and vivid colors. I also love wearing anything over-sized or loose-fitting so I don't feel restricted with my movements. I like anything minimalist and boyish paired with funky accessories like a statement necklace or over-sized earrings.”

    Lola A wearing a black COS dress with (1) Elise earrings

    On accessories: “I love both contemporary and vintage custom jewelry. My son JP and I are particularly obsessed with statement earrings. We just can't get enough of them.”


    Lola A wearing a COS blouse and 5cm cropped pants with (2) Moor earrings and (3) Mayi earrings

    On what a typical day looks like: “I usually wake up early at 5AM. Then, I prepare breakfast for the family while tidying up our home. By 9AM, I usually go to our car accessories shop in Quezon City with my husband to do admin work. And then in the afternoon, JP and I work on @LolaACloset if he's here in Manila. We usually schedule shoots twice a week for OOTDs for my Instagram. 


    Lola A plays around with mismatched earrings and combines the (4) Moor earrings with the (5) Mayi earrings 

    On how she became 'Lola Androgynous': “Fashion was already a part of my life in my younger years thanks to my mom who started dressing me up at an early age since I was the only ‘rose’ among the ‘thorns.'

    Lola A wearing a white Uniqlo top with (6) Olive earrings 

    "My son coined the name Lola Androgynous since we wanted to use a catchy blogger name that has a good recall. I think both JP and I just enjoy fashion. We never really take it seriously.”

    Lola A expresses her fun fashion sense through distinct accessories like these specs from Australian brand Le Specs

    “I just want people to know that fashion has no age limit. I want to inspire women and even men to be themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. Dress to express, not to impress.”

    Lola A also loves the unexpected when it comes to bags. Pictured here are Louis Vuitton's Epi Kabuki Mask Alma BB with a Celine net bag  

    One of her favorite pairs of shoes includes these platform Mary Janes from MM6 by Maison Margiela

    On what inspires her: “My very supportive husband and family. And of course, my amazing and cool followers.”

    Lola A wearing a white dress and black cover-up from Uniqlo with (7) Zarin Earrings

    On what's next for her: “Working on a capsule collection with my son and a couple of emerging designers. Super excited with my upcoming projects!


    Follow Lola Androgynous on Instagram: @LolaAndrogynous

    Follow Lola A's Closet on Instagram: @LolaAcloset

    ***

    Accessories:

    (1) Elise earrings

    (2) and (4) Moor earrings 

    (3) and (5) Mayi earrings

    (6) Olive earrings

    (7) Zarin Earrings

    Rajo

    Rajo

    Rajo Laurel is undoubtedly one of Philippine fashion’s most iconic designers, whose name has become synonymous with luxury and outstanding craftsmanship. This year marks his 25th year in the industry and he fondly looks back on his journey with some treasured memories: from giving Barbie makeovers and being captivated by regal theater costumes to his very first fashion show.   

    In this special edition of Style Stories, Rajo gives us a peek into his day at the office and shares insightful tips for fashion entrepreneurs.  

    On how he discovered his passion for fashion design: “My first encounter with fashion was in the theater. I was a young stage actor for Repertory Philippines, which my grandmother founded, and I was one of the children in the play ‘The King and I.’ In that environment, you can really see how costumes play a very important role in the musical. I was mesmerized with all the costumes and I think that was my very first memory of what fashion could be.”

    On his younger years leading up to his first fashion show: “It’s my 25th year this year so I have lots of memories. When I was young, I would steal my sisters’ Barbie Dolls and give them a makeover, working at night and then secretly return them back. My sisters would wake up and cry because their dolls suddenly had a green mohawk, eyeliner and leatherette ensemble made from scraps. My other memories include making the prom dresses of my classmates - going to Divisoria then having my grandmother's seamstress make something for them."

    "While I was in college, I would organize fashion shows for our organizations and having mini fashion shows with friends. My very first fashion show was a baptismal of fire because it was the 10th year anniversary of PMAP and I was a very young designer, barely over 21 years old, and I had to come up with a collection of 200 pieces. These contributed to this wonderful journey and brought me to where I am today.”  

    On his fashion philosophy: “The guiding principle of being in fashion is to seek joy. Fashion is supposed to be fun. It’s not rocket science. We’re here to give a sense of happiness to whoever comes through our doors. What has also guided me is the quest for individualism and the respect that everybody has their own individual style and to be able to cultivate that with my clients and with myself.”

    On how he has evolved as a designer: “It’s a constant fine-tuning of my design philosophy and vocabulary. I’ve always been a firm believer in romance and luxury. Those are the two words that are always on my mind when I create clothes and every opportunity to do so is a refinement of that mindset. Apart from that, I also believe in dualism or paradox. I like fusing two adverse elements together: dark and light, hard and soft, bitter and sweet. I believe that mixture creates something thought-provoking.”

    Pieces from Rajo's latest collection called "Eden"

    Models wearing Heyjow pieces exclusively made for The Rajo! Store, which match Eden's botanical theme

    Heyjow's exclusive collection for The Rajo! Store include earrings in organic shapes and natural elements like seashells

    Rajo's "Eden" Collection draws inspiration from the life of a horticulturist, interpreted in petal-like silhouettes

    On what a typical work day looks like: “I’m very process-oriented. I like systems, regiments and procedures. I’m actually a little bit obsessive-compulsive with how my day is laid out even to how my pencils are sharpened and my pins are arranged. I’m one of those people who thrive in order so I try to create a system. I’m a morning person so I try to wake up as early as I can then I try to be at the office by 8AM, start meeting clients by 9AM and every hour after until 6PM, exercise then be home for dinner or meet friends for a drink or two. I try to pack my days as much as I can.”

    “I’m also a firm believer of multi-tasking – I’m doing this interview in my office while I’m having 3 fittings just outside. I’ve trained myself to multi-task. It’s something people need to do nowadays. You have to be many things to survive and thrive.”

    Inside House of Laurel, Rajo's boutique located in Makati

    On finding inspiration: “Inspiration is not a finite recipe. I usually find inspiration when I’m out of my comfort zone. Travel is a huge source of inspiration. Meeting new people and interacting with them is always inspiring. I think it’s all about perspective. Inspiration is looking at one thing and seeing it from another angle. One of the tips I can give on how to stay creative is always surround yourself with young people or a diverse group of people. I read somewhere that if you’re the smartest person in the room then you should leave it.”

    On balancing creativity and business: "You cannot be one or the other. The quest is about being able to satiate both elements. You must be creative but still think about the bottom line. You must be practical and put yourself in the client’s shoes. I always ask my team ‘will you buy this? Will you be impressed if you saw this on our racks?’ In this day and age of fast fashion, everybody is competing with each other and there’s a lot of white noise. The goal is to rise above it by coming up with something pure and authentic and sustain that in a way that also feels real.

    What’s next for him: “I’m preparing for my 25th anniversary gala on October 27 and I’m doing a collection to celebrate my banner year. I’m also looking forward to coming up with another store soon. I’m also building my beach house, which has been a dream of mine and now it’s nearing completion.”

    Follow Rajo on Instagram: @rajolaurel

    Follow House of Laurel on Instagram: @houseoflaurel

    Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)

     

    Teresa

    Teresa

    She is a veteran in the fashion and entertainment industry, one who has graced countless local and international magazine covers and hosted shows such as Project Runway Philippines. After a decade and a half of being in front of the camera, Teresa Herrera Anthony went through a transition - one that brought her back to her first love: art. Here, she shares with us her journey back to the art world and her advice for multi-creatives like her.   

    On personal style: “I would describe it as easy with an edge.”

    Teresa pairs her short black dress with a hat finished off with (1) Gale 3-layer necklace 

    “I grew up in southern California and we don’t really have seasons like New York. You could pretty much wear summer clothes all year round. Being in LA was mostly about personal style and how you stand out. There are a lot of thrift stores in our neighborhood and I’ve been doing vintage shopping since I was 12 and it’s one of my favorite things to do when I go back there. I like finding cool and interesting pieces. I’m very casual and I like things that are relaxed, not too complicated.”

    “I’m a hat person, I wear hats all the time. I do wear a lot of black but I’m trying not to. It’s just hard because I was in fashion for a long time and everyone wears black. I’m trying to wear more color nowadays.”

    Aside from hats, Teresa's wardrobe essentials include strappy block-heel sandals and a trusty pair of shades  

    Teresa's picks: (2) Granite Bracelet Trio (3) Sandstone single necklace (4) Dovetail mismatched earrings and (5) Gale 3-layer necklace 

    On her journey from professional model to art advisor: “Before I got into fashion, I was planning to go to Parsons [School of Design] in New York as an artist for painting and sculpture. I came to the Philippines to visit my mom and that’s when I got discovered. My one-year break became 3 years then became a 10-year profession.”

    Teresa wearing an army green halter top and black denim pants with (6) Granite Bracelet Trio (7) Sandstone single necklace and (8) Dovetail mismatched earrings

    “I was in fashion for about 15 years and then I made the transition to art. Around 2008, when I was doing Project Runway Philippines, I had a lot of time on set and I was asking myself ‘What will my next 10 years going to look like? What do I really want to build?” My twenties were about traveling, discovering myself and my passions. I knew my thirties were going to be about building – building a business and a family. I started exploring the art world again, going to art shows in Miami, London and New York and met my mentor at a dinner. His name is Jeffrey Deitch and he became the museum director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA. It was good timing because he moved to LA from New York and after the show, I went back to LA full-time and he took me under his wing.”

    “I was studying, learning, and getting to know the art community in LA and then I was talking to my mentor, asking him if I should go back to the art world as an artist or if I should put up a gallery and he told me ‘You have a creative eye and your knowledge of art if quite deep. And even though you were in a different profession for the last 15 years, you’ve built yourself a network. I think you might be suited to do art advisory.’”

    “I took his advice and started putting myself out there. I put up Collective 88 and would reach out to anyone who needed art, who wanted to see a gallery whether in LA, Manila, anywhere. By 2011, I met an interior designer who was working on a project and I told her I can help her acquire art pieces and that project happened to be Solaire [Resort and Casino]. It put me on the map as a consultant on large-scale projects. Anything with 500 pieces or more, you go to someone like us because we help you buy the art as well as create, design, reproduce, acquire and even insure the pieces. We do everything from the time you think about a specific piece to the time it ends up on your wall.”

    On her passion for yoga: “Aside from art, I’m also very passionate about yoga and wellness. We started a charity event called Global Mala Project back in 2007 and this is our 11th year. The whole idea is using yoga as a platform for peace and action. Meanwhile, 100% of the proceeds is donated directly to charity. It’s our way to connect the local yoga community to the global community.” 

    On what keeps her inspired: “My kids.”

    Teresa looking regal in a white jumpsuit and (9) Nightfall earrings 

    On what’s next for her: “There are a few projects I’m currently working on. I’m the type of person who doesn’t look back. As soon as something is done, I’m always on to the next project. I’m still expanding into myself, still growing into myself and that journey is always exciting for me.”

    Her advice for multi-creatives: “It’s okay to be interested in a lot of different things. It means you have a very curious mind. I’m a Pisces and I tend to absorb everything around me and take it all in. But once you take in all that information, there’s some sort of formula that happens inside you and whatever comes out, you give back to the world. You have to discover what that is – what you love spending time on whether you get paid or not. I was teaching yoga for the first 5 years by donation, sometimes for free. I still do it for free. It’s about finding what you’re passionate about and then letting that come through you.”

    Teresa wearing the (10) Slate 2-layer necklace

    “Two of my favorite subjects in school were art and math – two opposite ends. But now I’m dealing with both. Who knew that that was going to be my path? I didn’t. Take it in, internalize it, and come up with something special to give back to the world. Whatever you get into, know your craft. Study all the rules and only then can you break it.” 

    Follow Teresa on Instagram: @teresaherrera27

    Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)

    Make-up by Drew Cultura (@iamdrewcultura) for Bobbi Brown Philippines

    Hair by Jerome Bustamante (@makeupbyjeromebustamante) for Bobbi Brown Philippines

    Shot on location at @coffeeprojectofficial (107 Salcedo Square, L.P. Leviste St., Makati)  

    *** 

    Accessories:

    (1)  and (5) Gale 3-layer necklace  

    (2) and (6) Granite Bracelet Trio

    (3) and (7) Sandstone necklace

    (4) and (8) Dovetail earrings

    (9) Nightfall earrings

    (10) Slate 2-layer necklace