“It’s never too early to take care of one’s future” is something you would expect to hear from an entrepreneur or successful businessman. It’s not so common if actress and former beauty queen Charmaine “Ruffa” R. Gutierrez is the one who utters them.
The 38-year-old mother of two was talking about the collaboration between designer Rajo Laurel and her two daughters, Lorin and Venice who are nine and eight. Apparently, the designer came up with outfits for the two when they were still toddlers.
“I’m a single working mom and I work hard to send my daughters to the best schools. I want them to be hardworking individuals when they grow up and I want them to be empowered as well,” Gutierrez said in an interview with Inquirer Lifestyle earlier this week.
The two fashion-obsessed girls sketched a series of
dresses with their “Tito” (uncle) Rajo who either erased or penciled in a few details as he saw fit. The result—after several months of designing and collaborating—is a collection of 10 party frocks for young, preteen girls to be sold under the label Love Collection at the House of Laurel in Makati City.
When asked if she had to get permission from Yilmaz Bektas, her former husband and the father of the two girls, Gutierrez said she didn’t.
“I have sole custody of the kids. He’s not supporting them; I’m supporting them on my own. He can just buy if he wants. I should probably e-mail him, I haven’t talked to him in a while. I’ll tell him, ‘See, look what your daughters have been up to,’” she said.
Chic and comfortable
The designs from the Love Collection are quite chic and comfortable; there were no Peter Pan collars in sight or any scratchy fabrics. The collection includes a two-tone taffeta bias dress, a sleeveless drop waist dress with a pleated skirt, a sleeveless A-line dress and a party dress with a multilayered organza skirt.
Some of the details Laurel incorporated into the designs are oversized bows, patchwork, oval sequins and a smattering of beadwork.
“I told my daughters to come up with a list of their five closest girl friends and then we named the dresses after them. We purposely did not include any relatives because we probably have a thousand relatives,” Gutierrez said.
“We really wanted to keep it small, make it a luxury collection. If it becomes successful, then we can cater to the masses. That’s our goal: to branch out. I don’t know exactly where and how but that’s going to be easy,” she added.
Each design from the Love Collection will be available in sizes 1-9 (for girls one- to nine-years-old) and will be priced from P2,500 to P7,000 each.
Even before the launch this Saturday, 30 pieces of the 250 total had already been presold, Rajo’s sister Venisse Laurel-Hermano said.
Asked whether they would consider a second run should the dresses be all snapped up in the next few weeks, Laurel-Hermano said they might just do that “but the pieces will be slightly different in order to maintain that exclusivity.”
Never too early
At the moment, Lorin and Venice are enjoying their new-found “celebrity spawn” status, gamely mugging and posing for the camera. There is that possibility, however, that the novelty will wear off and they might become interested in something totally different. Their mother is unfazed.
“It’s never too early to take care of your future. If the collection is going to be successful [then] I can put aside some money for them,” Gutierrez said.
There will be two launches today, the first at 10 a.m. and the second at 3 p.m.
“We want to accommodate the serious buyers, not the ones who will only go to look around, have a snack but end up not buying anything.
“We’re nowhere near [the popularity of] Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (of the successful high-end clothing brand, The Row) but there’s always a place where you can start and make your dreams a reality,” Gutierrez said.
The House of Laurel is at 6060 Palma Street, Makati City. For inquiries, call tel. 8905623.