Honorable Mention: These Global Pinoy Standouts Are Taking Over The World
2019-06-11 | by ANGELO DE CARTAGENA, FRANCESCA TESTA, LYN ALUMNO
NO STRANGERS TO THE GLOBAL STAGE, THESE MODERN-DAY PINOY HEROES STEP FURTHER INTO THE LIGHT, DISPLAYING UNDENIABLE TALENT AND TENACITY TO THRIVE IN THEIR RESPECTIVE FIELDS, PROVING TO THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT MORE THAN SWELLING SOURCES OF PRIDE, THEY ARE TRUE FORCES TO BE RECKONED WITH.
“Everything just started with a dream,” Francis Libiran recalls when asked about his current stature as one of the most sought-after designers not only in the local scene but also internationally as his network grows ever bigger. “A dream of me dressing up these people,” he adds. “Every time I would think of Hollywood, I would choose an actor that I really like and then I’m going to sketch. Without any expectations that they’d actually wear it.” That dream continues to flourish in real life with his recent clients including fellow Global Pinoy awardee Darren Criss, Aladdin’s Mena Massoud, and just recently, actor-singer Billy Porter.
With the grandeur that are present in all of Francis’ designs, it’s quite a surprise to meet soft spoken, warm, and humble person. There is something so calming about the way Libiran explains the intricacies of his designs. The delicacy of his work reflects with the overall process of creating a piece. He recalls that during Holy Week, Mena’s team has contacted him to design for the actor for its red carpet premiere. “Bakasyon na nun; wala nang magtatahi. We were on our way to have a vacation, but we really called everyone up and asked if they could do it. So, I sketched about ten designs and I think six got approved.”
The hustle is probably what Francis his team lives for. “It’s an opportunity for us; let’s go full blast,” he tells himself and his team whenever the chance to dress an international celebrity comes up. With his recent work with Billy Porter’s Posepremiere ensemble, Francis recalls having to do the signature Porter train in one day. “When everything was done already, I was looking at the mannequin and I was almost to send it na. Sabi ko: May kulang eh! It’s not Billy Porter without that train. So, sabi ko, ‘Give me one day and I’ll put that dream.” And thus the dream came true. Francis wouldn’t have known that an Instagram message to his favorite Pose cast members would lead him to actually garbing one.
Each of Francis’ designs, everything starts with a line. Having graduated from Architecture, the designer has always had a thing for structure and the science of creating a piece. To add a Filipino touch to it, Francis would often use local fabrics or intricate embroidery specific to our culture just like the Barong that he made for Darren Criss on his wedding. With the local industry thriving with the use of local textiles, Francis sees an opportunity to further improve our products. “I hope the textile industry can innovate the type of weaving that we have; I hope it’s softer. With the technology that we have, nothing is impossible.”—Francesca Testa