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Sowing fashion’s fresh seeds

Fashion designer Rajo Laurel proves that despite the uncertain times, creativity and sheer will make it possible to present fashion in a brave new way.

Raye Sanchez



With the hectic and fast-paced environment of the fashion world and way before the pandemic crisis came about, eminent fashion designer Rajo Laurel already envisioned a still and peaceful life in his retreat house in Batangas. With his desire for peace and tranquility, he birthed his latest collection that is aptly named as “Hacienda.”

Since we are in the midst of a pandemic, “Hacienda” was showcased in a way that has never been done in Philippine fashion history — through an online, contactless runway fashion show on 19 May with anyone and everyone invited.

In an industry where everything is done through face-to-face communication and hands-on coordination, Rajo Runway Online opened a wider door to the reality that a new normal is achievable, that an online runway fashion show is viable.

Quiet confidence

The “Hacienda” collection features laid-back, neutral colors with hints of prints as well as olive and denim tones as well as relaxed and flounced silhouettes that perfectly correlate with the vibe of an haciendero or haciendera.

Just like how an hacienda is cool, easy going and peaceful, the collection oozed with hues and shades that relaxes the eyes from vibrant and heavy-looking colors that is usually seen everywhere. The silhouette and cuts of the pieces depicts chill vacation vibes with a plantation as your view.

Ruffles and pleats detailing some of the pieces promote a dressy feel amidst a down-sized lifestyle. The added prints of leaves and dainty flowers give a carefree ambiance.

Some of the pieces that stood out the most are the jumpsuits. The blue halter neck printed jumpsuit gives off a rich element that depicts how luxurious it would feel to walk around the marbled floors of a hacienda.

Meanwhile, the one-shoulder, draped sleeved, asymmetric neckline jumpsuit with animal print depicts what a madame or the owner of a hacienda would wear on the daily.

Floral tops and neutral pants are this summer’s go-to OOTD for him. Screencap from RAJO Runway Online.

Another is the floor length, sleeveless dress with a V neckline that perfectly accentuates the collar bones. The peaking animal print behind the zigzag pattern looks rich and fresh while the drop, skimmer silhouette makes it seem vibrant yet simple.

New beginnings

Rajo shared in an interview with Metro that Rajo Runway Online aims to “restart our beloved fashion community. A means to begin somehow, to jumpstart events and perhaps learn how to navigate ourselves into this brand new frontier.”

Rajo Runway Online pioneers the digital stage for Philippine fashion history. Being the first, glitches and technical difficulties were bound to happen.

RUFFES promote a dressy feel amidst a down-sized lifestyle. Screencap from RAJO Runway Online.

What sets the show apart was how people from all around the world were able to gaze at Rajo’s exquisite creations in the confines of their homes. Talk about the new normal coveted front row seats.

But it was not far from the long-established fashion shows. Models would walk as if they were on a runway — striking poses and showing off details of the outfits they were wearing. Since it was an online fashion show, viewers were able to see the details of the clothes more thoroughly because of the tight shots the person behind the camera was doing.

In collaboration with Saga Events director Robby Carmona, with the support of sister Gela Laurel-Stehmeier who came up with a makeup tutorial video for the off-site models and Jing Moris for the hairstyle, the show was not short on people who share the same vision — to plant the seed that would eventually bloom into something new and bigger than it ever was before the pandemic struck town.

GET comfortable and stay stylish in this long dress by designer Rajo Laurel. Screencap from RAJO Runway Online.

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