Last October 18, the designer welcomed guests to his new atelier and presented his 15th anniversary collection.
Anthony Ramirez’s new atelier is one of the first houses built in the village. It’s an charming old structure, he says, one that exuded a kind of eeriness when he first found it. He spent a part of last year wishing and praying for it, promising that if he got the abode, he would restore it to its glory days.
“The moment na nakuha ko yung place, alam ko diyan ako magshoshow,” [The moment that I got the place, I knew it was where I was going to show,”] the designer reveals. “And that would be my 15th anniversary.”
Titled Symphony of Feelings, Anthony’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection is a coalescence of his 15 years in the industry. Known for form-fitting ornamented gowns—one of which was worn by maiden issue cover star Chloe Magno to the Vogue Philippines launch gala—this 30-look assemblage was a renewed point of view of the designer’s signatures. “In this collection, ang challenge ko is to control my style.” [In this collection, my challenge is to control my style.”] He focused on translating a flurry of emotions and ideas into a contemporary point of view, all while maintaining the integrity of his brand, which favors embellishments and sensual cuts.
The collection is “a mastery of fit, drapes, and tailoring,” describes Vogue’s fashion associate Renee de Guzman, who was in attendance. “Focusing heavily on construction, [Anthony] is able to celebrate women and their figures through romantic and poetic executions as seen through the cut-outs, textile choices, and drapes.”
Most memorable for her was the steel blue tailored look with the integrated corset, which cinches at the waist but flows below the hips. The rest of the looks were similarly balanced interpretations of the brand’s old and new codes: the slender column dress with a neckline plunging low, a romantic lilac multi-ruched mini dress, and slinky sequined semi-sheer slip with an elongated scarf. Closing the show was a dramatic black skirt and simple long-sleeved white polo, its buttonless front left open to reveal a 20-million-peso diamond brassiere, crafted in collaboration with Viera Jewelry.
These garbs journeyed from inside the atelier to the garden of decades-old trees via a set of stark white steps. Then, models sauntered around the lawn’s centerpiece: a pond of water lilies.
The conceptualization for the setting began last year, simultaneous to the acquisition and renovation of the designer’s new studio. Inspired by a scene in the American romantic-fantasy film Meet Joe Black, Anthony sought to emulate a ’90s garden party, even situating arched entrances on the veranda atop the steps.
It’s a long way from where he began a decade and a half ago. I ask, what would you say to younger Anthony? “Oh,” he replies with a small smile, “hindi ko inexpect na ganun na, akala ko up and coming designer pa rin ako.” [“I didn’t expect that I was at that level already, I thought I was still an up and coming designer.”] He chuckles before giving an answer, but not before a momentary pause. “I made the right decision, sa lahat ng naging decision ko towards my business.” [“I made the right decision, in all my decisions towards my business.”]
If the first five years of his career was an expression of himself, his craft, and his art, the years he spent in the industry allowed him to realize that it’s not exactly like he imagined. What he created through this presentation, he says, is what he envisioned as a young designer. What’s different is that he has the means to carry it out this time, and he’s proud of it.
With confidence, Anthony shares, “It’s all my idea, from the house, to the interior, to the garden.” He’s quick to credit the execution to his “dream team”: Jackie Aquino, Perry Tabora, Jelly Eugenio, Anthea Bueno, Mark Qua, Paul Nebres, Renz Pangilinan, his atelier team, mananahi, and crew. He gently reminds me twice, verbally and in writing, to credit everyone involved—a sincere veneration for the village that built his collection, the orchestra that staged his symphony.
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