'Rajo Man' for the new man

By Barry Cyrus R. Viloria, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Mar 25 2011 06:07 PM | Updated as of Mar 26 2011 05:42 PM

Rajo Laurel

MANILA, Philippines – Ralph Lauren once said, "I don't design clothes, I design dreams."

This also seems to be the peg for Rajo Laurel as he expands his creations to propel himself in becoming one of the country's top designers yet again.

At the launch party for his premiere men's line "Rajo Man" held at the House of Laurel in Makati City, Laurel revealed that his collections were inspired by the dreams of the people he lives everyday of his life with.

"My designs are really about my family," he told abs-cbnNEWS.com in an exclusive interview.

Laurel cited "Rajo Man" as his latest case in point—a project conceived after his 33-year-old brother John had asked for a line which will represent his culture and his generation.

"It just so happened that I've forgotten about my brother. He was sort of like, 'Kuya, how about me?' So this is really about his needs and the needs of the modern-day gentleman," he said.

From that take-off point, Laurel sensed the need to finally churn out "Rajo Man."

"I felt like we left out something in the market and that's men's wear. It's a very small market. But you will realize that it has evolved. It has a growing business and you'll see a lot of desire for that," he said.

Laurel addressed the need for "decent" pieces that will stand out from the public's growing interest in men's fashion.

"There's a difference between what we wear every day—we're always in jeans and T-shirt. There's this time where you'll need all this shirt and special garment," he said.

Old meets new

In designing "Rajo Man," Laurel had used the simple formula of mixing classic glam with a pinch of spunk.

He stressed these attributes make the line timeless when worn by men.

"We borrowed a lot of emphasis from tailoring from the past," he said. "Classic from where it began, and then we sort of like tweaked it into its modern day thing."

Laurel mostly tailored long-sleeved and collared shirts for "Rajo Man." The designer bragged about the shirts' modern feel despite its traditional button-down motif.

He even showed abs-cbnNEWS.com the inner linings of some of the garments which, he said, break the taken-for-granted feel of shirts in general.

Apart from the shirts, "Rajo Man" also consists of funky bow ties, glittery ties and fashion-forward belts.

Fabio Ide

'Rajo Man' unveiled

Later at the party, Laurel formally introduced "Rajo Man" to his guests.

The designer also presented the line's "ambassadors" -- businessmen, writers, and fashionistas alike.

Meanwhile, Laurel was also supported by friends and scenesters in the metro including Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Raymond Gutierrez, Carlos Concepcion, and Anna Canlas.

As the crowds mingled that night, abs-cbnNEWS.com chatted with renowned model Fabio Ide.

The Brazilian-Japanese, who was featured in the "Rajo Man" audio-visual presentation, expressed delight in suiting up free of charge for Laurel.

"I've worked with him before. He's a dear friend of mine," he said.

Ide, meantime, gave his first-hand feel when he wore the clothes earlier.

"[The shirts are] comfy... Very natural. People will find here very nice suits, [and] very nice shirts," he said.

Photos by Ela Marie Teodosio