Celebrity Style

Dolly De Leon Dons Custom Rajo Laurel At The BAFTAs

Photography by Mikey Sanchez

The sculptural gown made the actress feel truly “in her element.”

The Philippines has yet another historic moment at the 76th annual British Academy Film Awards, otherwise known as the BAFTAs. Just a month ago, Triangle of Sadness actress Dolly De Leon became the first Filipina ever to be nominated for the prestigious award. “I’m excited, I really am. Because the BAFTAs is a complete honor to me,” says De Leon, as she gets ready for the event. “It’s nothing I’ve ever dreamed of being a part of. I’m here, I feel very welcome… I’m looking forward to it.”

De Leon is nominated with Angela Bassett, Hong Chau, Kerry Condon, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Carey Mulligan. Tonight, in continuing with her show-stopping red carpet moments, the actress chose a custom gown by none other than renowned Filipino designer, Rajo Laurel.

Laurel, who has been a prominent name in the industry for nearly 30 years, has dressed generations of local and international celebrities, from Lea Salonga to Anne Curtis, and even supermodel and America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks.

According to her stylist LJ Perez, the sculptural dress was made out of abaca, also known as “Manila hemp,” a native material and “future fiber” closely tied to Filipino culture. “It was a custom look made for Dolly,” Perez tells Vogue Philippines. “I pushed envelopes and told Rajo I wanted a new offering. I wanted it to be an ode to the Philippines, but it not being the obvious choice, then Rajo came up with this Abaca look.”

Photography by Mikey Sanchez

The New York-based Filipino stylist has been behind many of Dolly’s recent headline-worthy red-carpet looks. Though he styled the actress remotely for this award show, he says De Leon has made it all easy. “She’s game to try anything! And if you can only see our chats and exchanges of fun fitting photos, you are all in for a treat.”

Photography by Mikey Sanchez

Perez tells us that for this look, the team decided to highlight the actress’ fluidity and femininity. “I want her to look like she’s levitating like some divine magic brought her to where she is now. We both think it’s a fun, playful contrast to what we did at the Golden Globes.”

Though the pair had options available from the most recent Paris Haute Couture shows, they decided to go with a look that made her feel comfortable and confident, while giving her a piece of home to wear on the global stage.

“I feel like I’m in my element. Even though if I’m a fire sign, water is my power element and I really feel fluid in this dress. I love it. I really feel like I’m in my true element.”

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