Doro Barandino's bags are named after men, for fashionable women | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

MINAUDIERE of white snakeskin with folded metal flap PHOTOS BY ALANAH TORRALBA

Cebuanos may have gotten first dibs on his designs, but Manileños finally got to score clutches and jewelry by Doro Barandino last weekend.


The designer held his first Manila trunk show in Makati, only the second time he had hosted such an event since he and his business partner, Ina Ronquillo, set up a showroom in Cebu last February.


Just as the launch of his eponymous label, D’Oro Barandino, the trunk show was almost hush-hush, but word got around and fashionistas and socialites trooped to his suite in Aruga Rockwell for the two-day event.


Barandino brought with him some of his now-signature geometric and architectural-shaped minaudiere styles, as well as some soft-leather clutches and gold-plated brass jewelry.


There’s the oval-shaped calfskin Enzo, its sides made of gold-plated brass, inspired by the folds on the sides of a paper bag. There’s a variation of the bean-shaped Xian, a minaudiere with industrial hardware for a clasp, but this time sporting a folded brass flap on stamped leather. A rectangular style with the same metal flap is called the Jake. The same folded metals also appear as chokers in his collection.


There’s also a slim black cowhide clutch with rounded edges, with just a hint of gloss in the form of its hand-beaten brass clasp.


His evening purses are all named after men because, well, “all other brands name them after women,” Barandino said with a laugh.


Soft clutches


He also had soft clutches of snakeskin with accents of carabao horn. More minimalist styles had rollover flaps à la brown paper bag.


There’s symmetry and clarity to a D’Oro Barandino design—it’s never overwrought, and each element is placed there for both aesthetics and functionality. These same qualities underscore his background in architecture and proof of his years creating award-winning furniture and home accessories, many of which were largely not credited to him, as he worked for various brands selling to the export market.


When we first met Barandino in Cebu in 2013, a common friend asked him to show images of his design prototypes. He was, however, reluctant to be written about since he had no production line and was still in the product development stage. He later found a partner in Ronquillo, and got a showroom early this year, “even before we actually had products to fill the space,” he said.


It was when Ronquillo’s Aboitiz clan had their grand reunion that the designer had his first real opportunity to show his wares, with 450 of the Aboitizes coming in from all over the world. Before that, he was selling exclusively to Cebu locals. He has had offers from boutiques, but he’s still testing the waters, he said. He plans to join trade shows next.


As a veteran of product design, Barandino is exacting in the execution of his ideas. “I’m very technical,” he said. “I make the sample myself.” It helps that the skills of Cebu craftsmen are at his disposal, he added, but “the specs come from me.”


He brings a notebook everywhere so he can sketch whenever an idea or inspiration hits him. Sometimes he doodles on the back of receipts and modifies them later. “I’m old school that way,” he said. A paper fastener inspired one of his new cuff designs, after a trip to the bookstore; his new chokers have fastenings patterned after a door hook.


The designer hopes to expand his range with skins and other materials not readily available locally. But for now, he makes do with available resources. “I don’t want to be distracted by the snags. Even if we’re not First World, you can find alternatives. You work your way,” he said.


And judging by the turnout at his event in Manila, he’s doing just fine.


Follow the author on Twitter and Instagram @missyrabul

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