Quick Tour: House of Laurel (Plus Rajo! For Parisian)

7:00 PM

Not unless you're a client who's willing to shell out thousands of pesos for a designer creation, or probably a close friend, then I'm assuming it's not usual for most people to get access to the personal work space of renowned Filipino designer Rajo Laurel.

A week before the launching of Rajo! For SM Parisian collection, I had the opportunity of visiting the House of Laurel  (thanks to work) to check out Rajo's exclusive sketches and designs for The King and I. He was also nice enough to hand us a personal invite to his Rajo! For SM Parisian Fashion Show (which I missed to attend due to work as well, ugh) and he graciously shared with us a sneak peek of his entire shoe collection which is in collaboration with a department store empire, even before its official release.

To those who haven't been to House of Laurel, here let me show you around first. 

The designer studio is filled with solid and bright colored pieces.
All the clothes were arranged neatly according to color and style.
Short, cocktail chic dresses were also separated from long formals.
The studio also has a kids' wear section and carries a men's line comprised of suits and button-ups.
I love the metal belt on the mannequin (right)!

If you're seeing the place for the first time, well I'm on the same boat with you. Unlike established fashion stylists who probably have been here quite a couple of times, I haven't stepped foot in here because I haven't tried to request for clothes yet whenever I style Solenn Heussaff. Let's face it, I'm not a "big name" (yet? haha) in the styling world and so, I find it a bit intimidating to do some pull-outs and I'm honestly still really shy about it. 

Looking around, it's pretty evident that the interior design of his studio is simple and follows a minimalist tradition. Its roughly painted walls and high ceiling give it that industrial and unfinished (but polished) look. Most of the apparels that you see on display are from his RTW (ready-to-wear) line. Everything is organized well and is very pleasing to look at.  

Upon entering his office, I noticed that Rajo Laurel seems to have a penchant for contemporary art pieces. I saw interesting paintings, an odd wired (or was that metal?) chair in one corner, sculptures on the table and some mixed material graphic artworks. I wonder, how much more does he have in his own home?

His work space, where all his ideas are conceived and executed, isn't all that fancy. Like the studio, it is very simple yet functional. He has one giant glass table with all his documents, files and colorful pens put together in such an orderly manner -- no clutter whatsoever.

Here, he passionately talked about one of his dream projects -- costume designing for the lead characters of a local musical called The King and I. This play is the Philippine version of a 1944 novel by Margaret Landon, which tells the story of Anna, an English school teacher and her life in a foreign land as the tutor to the many children of the King of Siam. Its story arc showcases a classic tale of love and the clash of western and eastern cultures.

I consider it an honor and a privilege to see Rajo's actual sketches!

For Rajo Laurel, this is not only a dream project but something very close to his heart. Theatrical productions were a huge part of his childhood. When he was seven years old, he used to play the role of one of the King's children in the Repertory Philippines production together with Leah Salonga and Raymond Lauchengo among others. Because of the play's sentimental value to him, it was obviously an easy YES. According to him, all throughout the design and construction process, he was ecstatic and dedicated because the whole experience made him feel as if he has come full circle from being the kid who loved theater and its amazing costumes many years ago, to the designer that he is now.  

Since the Phantom of the Opera has finally closed its curtains here in the Philippines, I guess it's about time for us to watch something locally produced such as the grand production of The King and I in Resorts World Manila!   

To cap off everything, my visit to House of Laurel was such a treat. Rajo even shared the product brief of his of Rajo! For SM Parisian and Rajo! For SM Milanos collection (a week before everyone else did). It's like an icing on a cake! Of course during that time, he specified that the files are confidential until the day of the launching so I didn't even dare to take photos out of respect. I'm sure a lot of you fashion enthusiasts have heard or seen this (launched last month). If not for work, I wouldn't have missed it! Word-of-mouth is, the show was one big WOW!

I'm getting a pair for sure! :)

After a highly successful collaboration with SM Parisian last year, Rajo makes an explosive comeback. This time, all his designs resonate his fascination for Japanese culture, art and street fashion.

With all these achievements, it's so hard to imagine what's next for Rajo Laurel. I guess he'll just surprise us with his upcoming endeavors.

I hope you all enjoyed this post! For me, na-starstruck ako mga teh, haha. I've seen him in past blogger events but I never got as close (and a little personal) as this. It was a delight to hear his stories. Truly, it was such an overwhelming experience to meet someone as inspiring and as accomplished as him.

All of us are capable of great things. To achieve what Rajo Laurel has attained so far isn't impossible at all.

Pahabol "outfit" shot, haha!
Top and accessories F-STOP | Shorts Wardrobe Check | Flats Michaela

Believe. Work hard. Dream. 


See you at the Super Sale Bazaar this October 19 - 21 at the Wall Trade Center Hall D!
Excited to sell my thrifted treasures! Please support me by liking my flier here.

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  1. ive never seen that big canvas in his office in person yet~ but it's so beautiful! and i agree, rajo is such a wonderful person. nakakastarstruck na, nakakainspire pa.

  2. You're so lucky, Melai! I'm also excited with the local production of The King and I!

  3. I love all of these colors and textures. So gorgeous.

    <3 Melissa

  4. you have a great blog Melai ! I am following you via your networks :-)

    xoxo Keke



I appreciate anything you have to say. Thanks for dropping by. It means so much to me. Love, Melai

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