Michael Cinco inDubai: “InGod’s perfect time,weshall overcome.”
From 20 to 30, wedding gowns down to 4
Michael Cinco sees his Dubai stint as glass half-filled
Inquirer Lifestyle / 05:10 AM July 31, 2020
Like other Filipino fashion designers, Michael Cinco is trying to cope with the effects of the pandemic on couture. However, the designer based in Dubai doesn’t have it as bad as his counterparts here. His number of wedding gown orders, for instance, is down to four last week. Down from the normal 20 or 30 a month during the peak wedding months of March to June, October to December.
Also, the Dubai economy has reopened somewhat, so that social events are in a way back although in modest scale. Weddings continue to be held but in the privacy of huge homes.
The flamboyance of ball gowns has also gone down a notch or two, although still too drop-dead sumptuous for the times. Cinco has a staff of 115 pattern makers, dressmakers and artisans, some of them from Pakistan and India, and more than 20 from the Philippines.
While Cinco has felt the effect, he prefers to see his glass as half-full, instead of half-empty. But it is.
Lifestyle’s interview with him, via messaging, Cinco’s fashion in Dubai, in his own words:
“To be honest it has never been an exasperating experience dealing with the global situation, as it is now. We are an industry that requires constant interaction with people. And the new normal demands that we limit our movement and be individually responsible. I am very thankful that I have a seasoned team that is resilient and ready for work-related challenges.
“During the lockdown in Dubai, I never thought it was possible to work separately from my team. We started developing new tools and ways of working, we hold digital meetings and go through design documents collaboratively. “This challenging environment has taught us to be more organized and more creative in a relaxed environment.
“I became more active in brand marketing through social media where I get most of my clients abroad.
“Dubai is finally back to normal where most businesses are already open, except for big weddings, because the government doesn’t allow big gatherings. So most of my brides have to change venues, from huge halls to their houses where only 50 people can attend, mostly family.
“I have to adjust my design and prices for my couture evening gowns and wedding gowns since most parties are held at home now so most brides prefer simple and lighter wedding gowns and evening gowns. I used to make fully embroidered wedding gowns with 4- to 5-meter train and lots of crystals.
“I have to adjust the designs and details of each couture piece, like shorter and less-volume gowns without sacrificing the Michael Cinco aesthetics.
“Most of the clients who are in UAE (United Arab Emirtes) are open to come to my atelier now following strict regulations and social distancing. If they want to try the new collection, everything has to be sanitized from the dress to the fitting rooms.
“Arab women still want luxury in their dresses but now simpler silhouette and light beadwork or no bling at all.
“The future is not bleak. It’s really important to give people something to dream about. Getting dressed every day makes people feel human, and gives a feeling of purpose, even if we are going nowhere as our current norm.
“I think in an uncertain time such as this, fashion keeps us dreaming of the day when our regular lives of the past become a reality again. Everyone needs to still feel a sense of belonging and community, and the light that only fashion can bring to so many people.
“Dubai has very strict rules during lockdown no one can really go out. Now I think they finally slowly are trying to flatten the curve. All businesses are open now—restaurants, cinemas, spas, salons, hotels and the airport is open now for tourists from selected countries.
“I did also PPE (personal protective equipment) for the Dubai Health Authority for the front-liners.
“We are mostly affected because we are in luxury business. Now that the world is in crisis clients don’t want to spend a huge amount of money for a certain couture piece.
“So I have to go with the flow and adjust with the demands.
“However, some still want grand wedding gowns for their weddings early next year. When I asked them about the rule of social distancing, a bride told me that their huge house could allow that if there are still strict restrictions that time.“In God’s perfect time we shall overcome this crisis and be better versions of ourselves.” —Thelma San Juan