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It’s all in the details

Fashion  /   /  By Joy Rojas

Fringe top and accordion pleated palazzo pants, Jun Escario; golden South Sea pearl earrings set in 18k yellow gold with diamonds, Jewelmer Joaillerie

Besides being fashion designer to stars and socialites—Gretchen Barretto, Ruffa Gutierrez, KC Concepcion, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Kim Jones, and other celebrities have worn his glamorous and feminine creations—Jun Escario is also the couturier of choice of the Filipino-Chinese community, who seeks him out for weddings, social gatherings, black tie events, and ting hun (the formal announcement and celebration of an engagement).

“Approximately 70 percent of my clients are Filipino-Chinese,” says Escario, who’s based in Cebu and maintains boutiques in the Queen City of the South and Makati. “All ages, from brides-to-be to matrons. Most of my male clients are grooms, family members, and members of a groom’s entourage.”

Layered tulle dress with crystals, Jun Escario; Asymmetrical top and ruffled taffeta vest, Jun Escario; ‘La Mer en Majesté’ golden South Sea pearl earrings and ring set in white gold with diamonds, both Jewelmer Joaillerie

Not surprisingly, this particular market can be very traditional (they still avoid wearing black for special occasions). But it is also open to fresh and new ideas. “Fil-Chinese clients are more detailed,” he says. “They love to experiment with texture, shape, and color.”

Dusty rose, blush, shades of gray, nudes, navy, and midnight blue are among their preferred colors. In lieu of busy beadwork, which the designer assumed the Chinese market was into, lace and brocade lend attractive texture and detail to any dress. As for silhouette, that varies, depending on a client’s figure. “But I normally start with a basic column or princess cut, then I just go from there,” he says.

Fully beaded jumpsuit and skirt with feather trimmings, Jun Escario; golden South Sea pearl earrings, necklace, and bracelet set in 18k yellow gold with diamonds, all Jewelmer Joaillerie; Sequined shift dress with ostrich feathers, Jun Escario; golden South Sea pearl earrings and ring set in 18k yellow gold with diamonds, and golden South Sea pearl strand necklace, all Jewelmer Joaillerie

Designing since he was 19, first for a Cebu-based exporter of ready-to-wear apparel, then for a high-fashion house in Cebu before finally opening his own shop, Mario Eduardo “Jun” Escario would one day make Manila—and the world—sit up and take notice. One of five Filipinos to represent the country in 2001’s Concours International des Jeunes Createurs de Mode in Paris, he created a show-stopping piece using pleated paper, silk threads, shell beads, and copper medallions, and bagged the award for Best Philippine Designer.

Through the years, his creations have shifted from dramatic to dreamy, structured to soft, loud to low-key. It’s a testament to this designer’s ever-evolving aesthetic, a quality that keeps clients—from fashionistas and famous people to the Filipino-Chinese set—coming back for more.

Dress with rhinestones and godets, Jun Escario; golden South Sea pearl stud earrings and strand necklace, all Jewelmer Joaillerie

“I am very dynamic,” he once said. “I get bored easily, so as soon as I am done with a collection, I quickly move on to the next and think of what is new, tasteful, and exciting.”

For inquiries, visit Jun Escario’s boutique at 2nd floor, Greenbelt 5, 1 Esperanza St, Makati City or contact tel. no. 7729-9070.

Photographs by Gee Plamenco Jr.
Styling by Francesca de la Cruz
Makeup by Jorenz de Limos
Hairstyle by Mila Gulfan
Model: Daniella Melo (LVX Model Management)
Shot on location at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Quezon City

This article originally appeared on Asian Dragon’s June-July 2018 issue, available for order on Facebook and Lazada, or downloadable from Magzter.

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