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Michael Cinco makes Paris Couture Week debut

Dubai-based Filipino designer showcases autumn-winter collection presented by Asian Couture Federation


Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco made his Paris Couture Week debut with a collection inspired by flowers and butterflies at the Tuileries Garden on Sunday.

The independent show, hosted by the Asian Couture Federation (ACF), was a dream come true, says the designer, who established his Michael Cinco Couture in the UAE in 2003.

“I was actually emotional during the show. To showcase my collection in Paris has always been my ultimate dream and I couldn’t believe that I was showing here. I was crying backstage,” the designer told Gulf News tabloid! via phone from Paris.

“15 years ago I was strolling along the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries and I was so in love with the place that I had a vision and a dream. I said to myself, ‘One day I’ll have my show in this stunning garden. So when the ACF approached me to have a show in Paris, I immediately begged them to hold it in Jardin des Tuileries,” he added.

Cinco is a member of the Singapore-headquartered ACF, founded in 2012 to help Asian designers showcase and develop their talents. It has organised shows in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. A show in Dubai is also being planned.

The ACF is endorsed by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, which organises the biannual couture week in Paris, and features shows by hallowed fashion houses such as Dior, Chanel and Givenchy, who are all members of the union.

Cinco presented two autumn-winter collections at this show, a 20-piece couture collection and an additional 25 looks for his ready-to-wear collection in association with Couturissimo, the retail arm of the ACF.

“The collection is all about the garden and is inspired by the beauty of nature that surrounds us. There are flowers and butterflies to match the softness in silhouettes and the dynamics of the collection,” he explained. “There is also the unmistakable Filipino influence in my collection to underline my Filipino heritage and, of course, to showcase it in the international market. I added Filipino-inspired touches like the solihiya [Filipino weave pattern] and calado, which is a very traditional Filipino embroidery technique.

“I also showed barong-inspired couture gowns,” he added, referring to the embroidered formal shirt, considered the Filipino national dress.

Bong Guerrero, the CEO and co-founder of the biannual Fashion Forward (FFWD) event in Dubai was at Cinco’s Paris show.

“I have watched Michael’s progression with great pride since his first visit to Dubai in the late ’90s, and will look on with anticipation of what is to come next,” Guerrero said over text message. “We at FFWD are delighted to witness his resounding success and congratulate him on his achievements so far.”

Cinco moved to the UAE from the Philippines 19 years ago and established his label catering mostly to wealthy Arabs. He has since made his mark internationally, with his clothes being worn by Hollywood celebrities including Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. He’s also featured as guest designer in the long-running reality show America’s Next Top Model, hosted by Tyra Banks.