Celebrating his 20th year in the Philippine fashion industry, Francis Libiran makes everything extra special by orchestrating a spectacular musical gala.
In the dynamic, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it world of fashion, we all dream to make our mark and survive the long haul. It has and will always be a cut-throat industry wherein you’ll either make it or break it. But one of the talented designers who truly defied the odds is Francis Libiran.
Constantly surprising everyone with his collections, from the iconic World Class show to the Harbin Fashion Week in China, he remains ahead of his game. To top that off, he has also garbed several Hollywood stars such as Darren Chris, Mena Massoud, and Billy Porter.
So this year, as Francis Libiran celebrates his 20th anniversary aptly titled, “Dare to Dream,” he’ll be bringing together some of the country’s renowned singers: KZ Tandingan, Erik Santos, Iñigo Pascual, and Rachelle Ann Go. He shares with MEGA that he “picked artists who, at one point, dreamed about being big in the industry and now reap the fruits of success.”
The Dare to Dream Gala also sets the stage for Francis Libiran’s 2020 Collection, a 50-piece assemblage inspired by the natural wonders, culture, and craftsmanship of the Philippines. “You know for 20 years, I was trying to think of something different. People know me for doing linear architectural. So, it’s now time to do something different,” he explains.
“I looked at nature and saw what the Philippines has to offer. So, you’ll see details such as waves of patterns, splashes of water, and even corals under the sea,” Francis adds. Perhaps that’s why upon seeing some of the pieces in the collection he’ll be showcasing, you’ll notice that his mastery of layering and his ability to imbue a sense of unadulterated glamour in each of his creations was easily manifested. Come to think of it, change is always good.
Future of Fashion
To pay his 20-year success forward, he has involved the young, bright-eyed students from his alma mater, the Fashion Institute of the Philippines (FIP), who helped him create his 2020 collection. “I wanted to spark inspiration in each student’s imagination, to find a hook in their hearts and minds, so that they feel motivated in the challenging path of fashion they are pursuing,” he shares.
So, as Francis did the sketching, these graduating class of FIP did the pattern making. He would always visit them once a week for two months to check on their work. “It was so interesting to see how they evolved and listened, and they’re so eager and hungry for the information or how it works in the industry,” he happily reminisces.
“It’s nice to mentor them. These are very creative, talented students, and they are the future of Philippine fashion,” Francis adds. “Just imagine at that stage, they’re able to see how it works already. And I would always advise them: it’s not just being a good designer, you need to be a good businessman, too.”
At the end of the day, achieving that success in the world of fashion is definitely a collaborative effort. And for Francis, it was his business partner Arsi Baltazar, who helped him break the barriers of the ever-challenging sphere of the industry and made it to the international scene. In the words of Francis, “It’s not just a one-man show. It’s a group [effort] that’s working for your vision, and that will make your vision become a reality.”
“Francis Libiran’s Dare To Dream musical gala will be on December 2 at the City of Dreams Manila.”