Quantcast
Latest Stories

Rafé Totengco bags are back in Manila retail

By

RAFÉ Playa Jute carryall

Fledgling writers are told to write what they know, which requires them to draw from their own experiences as a starting point. Rafé Totengco may not be a writer, but he has continuously drawn from his experiences to design bags, clutches and minaudieres that many women want.

In his bag tags, one can read how his design philosophy is “rooted” in his personal experience. “I design accessories in the spirit of New York City: a melting pot of European, American and Asian cultures.”

The Filipino bag designer, who lives in New York, produces the brand Rafé New York. He was here recently to launch his latest collection for Resort 2013, now exclusively sold at Rustan’s Department Stores.

This is not the first time Totengco’s bags were made available locally. For a time, they were sold at Mix, the boutique owned by the couple Tina and Ricco Ocampo. When Greenbelt 5 opened, the Ocampos were instrumental in the simultaneous opening of the first Rafé New York store outside the US.

RAFÉ Dawn minaudiere

After a while, however, the store was closed; his clientele could get the bags only online and had them shipped directly or to a relative or friend in the US.

Fortunately, Rustan’s decided to bring the brand back.

At Rustan’s, Totengco has a corner showcasing his collection  of totes, clutches and minaudieres. Asked if there was enmity between him and the Ocampos—since Tina also began selling minaudieres using her given name Celestina—Totengco said there was none.

“Tina and Ricco are two of my favorite people. When they first thought of selling minaudieres, they showed me their prototypes. I was also the one who set up a meeting for them with Vogue,” Totengco said.  Celestina was then featured in Vogue.

“If women like my bags, that’s good. If other women like their bags, that’s fine as well. There’s really enough for everyone to go around. At the end of the day, it’s just a bag. We’re not saving lives,” he quipped.

Timeless silhouettes

RAFÉ CeliaWatersnake multicolor clutch

Still, Totengco is really proud of his designs that he describes as “timeless silhouettes with handcrafted influences.” This season he has included a “mixed media tech” clutch in pink and orange or blue that can hold an iPad and a smartphone in the separate pocket in front. At the launch, editors swooned over the genuine leather clutch that retailed for a little over P5,000.

“How can you sell this for only P5,000?” some of the more forward asked. “So you can buy more than one,” Totengco replied with a smile.

Totengco names his designs after muses. The Dawn minaudiere, with its Art Deco-inspired triangles and diamond shapes, is named after actress Dawn Zulueta; the rounded minaudiere with a striped design is Lizelle after stylist Liz Uy, and the roomy printed tote Tesa is named after model and host Teresa Herrera.

“I came up with the design of the Tesa tote after a trip to Portugal. When we got to our hotel, I fell in love with the tiles in the lobby so I spent several minutes aiming  my camera at the floor so I could take multiple pictures of the tiles.

RAFÉ SuzeMixed Media tall tote in blue

“At one point, the hotel manager came up to me. When he found out what I was doing, he said that tourists usually take photos of the buildings and the architecture, but here I was taking pictures of the tiles. What can I say, I rarely see a print I don’t love,” Totengco said.

Right after his Manila visit, the designer flew to Mactan to choose shells for an upcoming collection. Apparently his resin and shell minaudieres continue to sell so well, they can’t keep them in stock.

“I always tell people I’m a sponge, because you never know where you’re going to get your next inspiration—whether you’re in a restaurant or walking down the street, or traveling or reading. Everything to me is a potential source of inspiration,” Totengco said.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bags , Lifestyle , Rafé Totengco



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. World bids Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘Adios’
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  5. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  8. Garcia Marquez left unpublished manuscript
  9. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  10. Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  5. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  6. This is not just a farm
  7. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  8. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer

News

  • N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy
  • 16 CADPI sugar refinery workers now out of danger after toxic shower in Batangas
  • PNP denies Purisima’s involvement in questionable deal with courier firm
  • Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist hostage
  • UN heads say Syria aid needs ‘largely unanswered’
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Cha cha train to follow Obama visit?
    Marketplace