“I will be the quiet one,” London-based Filipino designer Lesley Mobo told me a few months ago when I asked about his collection for the Red Charity Gala 2019 fashion show.
Having a showdown with the other designers featured in the Gala—Dennis Lustico, Cary Santiago, Furne One, Michael Cinco, Ezra Santos, Jojie Loren, Joey Samson, Chito Vijandre and Rajo Laurel—was farthest from his mind, Mobo said.
“It’s a simple collection but I want to do something subtle. I want to show restraint,” he said.
Each of these designers presented an eight-piece collection at Shangri-La Fort in Taguig last Oct. 12.
Mobo said his collection was inspired by heroines of film noir, a movie genre best described as stylish Hollywood crime dramas from the 1940s to early 1950s.
“I looked at pictures of old Hollywood film noir actresses in films like ‘Leave her to Heaven’ and ‘Gilda’ with Rita Hayworth as starting references,” Mobo added. The focus was a slim silhouette, such that some of the dresses are cut in one piece and seamless on the sides.
Originally Mobo wanted to have an all-black collection but decided to add some colored pieces. “Film noir invented ways to add color in films, which was called Technicolor.”
The first Technicolor films, he explained, had a mix of colors—emerald green, ruby red and yellow. He added pieces of each color to his collection; instead of yellow, he designed gold pieces.
All of his beaded gowns, made of velvet with paillettes, gave the illusion of fluidity, just like water. The bias-cut construction accentuated the models’ hourglass figures.
“What you want is to mold the dress into the slimmest possible shape you can get out of one piece of fabric, with only one seam line at the back,” he said.
In the end, however, Mobo just wanted his pieces to be wearable.
Photography Josh Tolentino
Styling Luis Carlo San Juan
Makeup Theresa Padin using Bobbi Brown available at SM Beauty
Hairstyle JA Feliciano
Model Alaiza Malinao
Shot on location Baccarat Room and Bar, Solaire Resort and Casino