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Criselda Lontok knows what women want


THE FINALE; at right, Criselda’s new look–tunic over slim pants, the hard and soft of two opposing fabrics in a marriage made in couture heaven. PHOTO BY ALANAH TORRALBA

Celebrating 30 years in fashion design for Rustan’s, Criselda Lontok knows precisely how a woman of a certain age can wear figure-flattering, up-to-the-minute clothes.

TWEETIE de Leon Gonzalez in drop-dead glam ballgown. PHOTO BY ALANAH TORRALBA

Her signature shapes are short kaftans and mini ponchos in silk or georgette, laid over what hardcore clients claim are the best stretch leggings or flared pants that money can buy.

All numbers are age-appropriate and body type-flattering. Her summer and holiday collections at Rustan’s Makati are sure-fire bestsellers, year in and year out.

Criselda’s classic prints of oversized flowers and punchy geometric prints (yes, big prints will make you look slim) are snapped up the minute they hit the racks.

Lately, Lontok has been adding brocade and chiffon, beadwork and embroidery, creating a new resource when a woman has to dress formal. It takes only two weeks to have a long dress made to measure, its design taken from her line.

VIBRANT red shift underneath a halter coat train. PHOTO BY ALANAH TORRALBA

Other hallmarks are the impeccable tailoring and the hand-sewn appliques of organza or lamé.

Last Monday at Fairmont Hotel, a white ramp ran the length of the ballroom. The fashion show was Lontok’s homage to Gliceria “Glecy” Rustia Tantoco, who was the one who spotted Lontok’s potential and asked the designer to create her own label for Rustan’s.

Lontok’s first job under Tantoco’s tutelage was as merchandiser booking orders for fine ladies’ blouses from suppliers. Tantoco was the grand matriarch who built Rustan’s as a high-end store that catered to the buying needs of the middle- and upper-crust of Manila society.

Patty Betita in black sarong knotted on one shoulder and draped above the floor. Jewelry design by Carissa Cruz Evangelista. PHOTO BY ALANAH TORRALBA

Under Tantoco’s wing, Lontok was trained in sampling the best clothes here and abroad, studying the workmanship, the proportions, fabrications and most especially, the price points.

She knew right away what women wanted, what would and would not sell. Most important, she knew what they would come back for to the Makati flagship store again and again.

On this spread we see the timeless and seasonless apparel. Notice how the bias shapes and trapeze looks are perfect for hiding all body flaws. Flaring away from the body, they redirect the eye, making the proportions a perfect fit.

Enhancing the elegance are the vibrant color combinations, a youth serum in dressing, especially for older clientele.

One can see how you can mix and match the pieces. They are in easy-to-care-for stretch and viscose drape fabrics, which are wash-and-wear. You can layer the pieces and accessorize with bold statement necklaces from Carissa Cruz Evangelista. All suitable for our resort climate.

Here are the ramp shots of the beautiful clothes created by Criselda, a woman of extraordinary taste and smarts. Now showing at Rustan’s Makati.

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Tags: Carissa Cruz-Evangelista , Criselda Lontok , fashion , fashion design , Sunday Lifestyle

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