22 January 2009

Jason who?

With the pomp and circumstance of the Inauguration past, I am able to concentrate less on the magnitude of the day and more on less important matters -- such as Michelle Obama's wardrobe.

Moments after stepping out in the limelight for her first dance with husband, President Barack Obama, the Internet was abuzz with comments on the First Lady's gown choice.

Her white, old-school Hollywood glam dress was designed by Jason Wu.

Jason who?

The relatively unknown designer became a household name within seconds.

The 26-year-old designer was born in Taipei.

Many are saying that Mrs. Obama's choice of Wu and Isabel Toledo on Inauguration Day inspires an overall ethnic diversity.

So that got me thinking: because the First Lady enjoys choosing pieces from American designers that hail from other countries, which Filipino designers could we soon see in her closet?

I recently became familiar with Parson's School of Design graduate Joanne Reyes. A southern California native, Reyes has said her Filipino background taught her to be a diligent worker. That hard work most likely led her to numerous design jobs, including one with fellow Filipina, Monique Lhuillier.

Monique Lhullier has designed bridal gowns for Britney Spears, Pink, and Christine Baumgartner (wife to Kevin Costner). But her talents far surpass wedding dresses. This Pinay has designed everything from ready-to-wear clothing to handbags to china and stemwear.

If not Reyes or Lhullier, maybe the First Lady could one day be donning a design done by Aries Lagat, the winner of Project Runway Philippines.

If Mrs. Obama is searching for the right accessories, she might consider pieces by Rafé Totengco. Rafé's career began in Manila before he moved to New York. His collection includes purses, shoes and leather goods. Rafé's line is carried in stores around the world.

And what we may not see the First Lady wearing is lingerie designed by Josie Natori. Natori also grew up in the Philippines before moving to the United States. Natori was an economist by trade. But her fashion career began with the help of a Bloomingdale's buyer. She is now the CEO of Natori. And to give back to her homeland, she opened a factory in the Philippines to handle half of the company’s production.

I never would have guessed there were so many Pinoy designers out there. And I am sure there are many more.

I hope Mrs. Obama's stylists are reading. I'm hoping we'll see the work of some fellow Filipinos in the White House soon!

Monina wishes she could dress her child in designer duds. But her daughter's fashion sense typically takes over. You can read more about their stylish mis-adventures at her blog, Being Mom2Amara.

photo credit: chefranden


Rafe T said...

I agree, I think Michelle should wear a Rafe bag too!

Mom2Amara said...

OMG I love Rafe bags and I'm tickled you commented on our blog!