Even at the tender age of eight, when sketches of models and beautiful dresses filled notebooks meant for schoolwork, it was clear that fashion was in designer Francis Libiran’s blood. In conversation, he recalls having a childhood wardrobe filled with bespoke clothing tailored for various parties and events, thanks to his fashionable mother who instilled in her children the value of—and, in Libiran’s case, a love for—dressing well. This adherence and commitment to style would later serve to become the fundamental reason and inspiration for the designer’s future pursuit of fashion.
Though he is now best known for the intricate, ethereal designs that have graced countless red carpets, pageant stages, and fashion editorials, Libiran’s meticulous eye for detail and innate knowledge of what makes up visual beauty was first honed and utilized in the vastly different field of architecture. Drafting tables soon made way for the designer’s sketchbook, however, and though the licensed architect still turns to his first profession for inspiration, studying lines, interiors and blueprints, it is as a fashion designer that his talent and sense of aesthetics truly shines.
It has been more than 15 years since Libiran shifted from the pragmatism and rigorousness of architecture to the fluidity and expression of fashion design. Since then, he has laid claim to a place on the international stage, dressing supermodels, celebrities and beauty queens like Tyra Banks, Anne Curtis, and Megan Young.
“Whenever I design something, when I conceptualize, I think of long-term details, not just a specific piece. When people see something I’ve designed, I want people to know that it’s a Francis Libiran. When I want to develop a design, it evolves. It could be the color, the material used…. It needs to have a signature. I tend to exhaust details to maximize a design’s full potential.”
This year, Libiran’s considerable talent has been tapped by global brand Havaianas for a new collection that puts the Philippine artist firmly in the pantheon of international designers, brands and personalities, who have collaborated with the iconic footwear company for its sought-after limited edition releases.
Driven by its principles of melding fun, fashion and creativity, Havaianas is no stranger to artistic partnerships that result in some of the most successful collaborations in the industry. From the signature chevron of Missoni and theminimalism of Bassike, to the luxurious sophistication of Valentino and the urban edge of Michael Bastian, Havaianas has worked with artists across the globe resulting in a seemingly endless spectrum of creativity. Francis Libiran for Havaianas is the brand’s first full collaboration with a local fashion designer.
The collection’s limited-edition designs are all inspired by the Philippines and the designer’s Filipino backround as seen through the eyes of the artist himself, with Libiran’s signature aesthetics boldly incorporated into each piece. A self-confessed fan of the Havaianas brand, Libiran says, “I personally have to have my Havaianas every summer, so when they told me about the project, I was really excited. They’re number one in the world, so to have your name on Havaianas is something,” Libiran says. “Right after that meeting, I couldn’t sleep!”
He adds, “Flip-flops are ingrained in Philippine culture, so I could only imagine the statement my designs would make on them. Because people use them everyday, I thought some people would question why they would be so designed, because they’re just flip-flops, but for me, it’s about creating wearable pieces of art.”
“We are very excited to have worked with Francis, whose creative ideals embody the very ideals of the brand,” says Terry S.A. Managing Director Anne Gonzalez. “For this collection, each pair of Havaianas serves as a canvas for Francis’ artistic expression and aesthetics. He has translated his creative vision and his talents into something suggestive of the Filipino culture through a piece, which has become a fashion staple in our tropical country. Fans of his work will also be able to own something that isn’t a ball gown, which means they can use it everyday. He has helped us showcase Filipino talent and culture by creating beautiful but practical pieces.”
The Francis Libiran for Havaianas collection features three designs, each evocative of the different facets of Filipino culture: the City pair evokes hints of popular culture in the Philippines as expressed through one of the country’s most iconic symbols; the Festival pair embodies the vibrance of Philippines’ various festivals, celebrations, and color; and the Island pair is inspired by the fusion of various design elements pulled from the country’s multicultural background. Each pair will be available in specially-designed packaging, making them ideal for gifts.
All limited edition designs of the Francis Libiran for Havaianas collection will be available by December 2014 at all authorized Havaianas retailers nationwide.
Francis Libiran for Havaianas_City – PhP 1,195.00
Francis Libiran for Havaianas_Island – PhP 1,195.00
Francis Libiran for Havaianas_Festival – PhP 1,395.00
Text and photos courtesy of NewZilla GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications Inc.