Pinoy designer makes a comeback in Europe

By Raquel Bernal-Crisostomo, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Dec 03 2010 11:36 AM | Updated as of Dec 03 2010 07:36 PM

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Paolo Luis Ulanday, popularly known as Noubikko to his clients, never thought that a few years after he decided to retire, he’ll be back in the world of fashion, this time in Europe.

Born in Pangasinan, Noubikko was hailed as one of the most celebrated fashion designers in San Francisco, California.

For almost 3 decades, his works were considered as “one of a kind garment” in the fashion industry. His collections are made of very rare garments which he gathers from different parts of the world. His materials are from sea turtles, pineapple, banana and vegetables.

In 2003, he announced his early retirement and has been living in Europe.

But in 2007, he surprised everyone with his comeback in the fashion scene when he became the official designer of the 12 finalists of 2008 Miss Czech Republic for the Miss Universe Pageant.

“In 2007, Miss Czech Republic found me on the web and so they invited me to design their gown. Fortunately, I was chosen by the pageant and so I thought I had to do it again this time. So I’m back to fashion designing,” Noubikko said.

Since then, he has become a household name among celebrities and politicians. In 2008, he was chosen again to design the gowns for Miss Hungary. Last year, he also did the 24 gowns of the finalists of Miss Poland for the Miss Universe Pageant.

He also introduced the Noubikko Pearl Collection with other famous jewelry designers such as Petra Mohylova.

Some of his clients are Ms. Czech Republic 2008 Eliska Buckova, Ms. Earth 2009 Hana Svodoba, TV moderator Jana Stefankova, Miss Poland for Miss Universe 2010 Maria Nowakowska and other beauty queens.

Simple but unique

Noubikko made it clear that his designs are simple yet unique.

“When I started Miss Czech Republic, I actually included piña to make the material very rare, and right after I announced that the material is made from pineapple, I was headline the next day in the newspaper stating that the Filipino designer is using vegetables, banana and pineapple for his gown. So I figured it out that when I use these materials, I will capture the European market,” he said.

He also noted that other Pinoy designers could make it in the European market.

“Most of our designers are very good, that I believe. Most of them, I actually admire, but we have this [issue] that Filipinos copy designs, and most good couture clients are afraid of this,” he said.

He said that despite the influence, it is vital for the Pinoy designers to maintain their individuality and originality to be able to stay in the mainstream.

Apart from his busy schedule, Noubikko is busy with Prague Art Support, an artist organization in Czech Republic which he organized.