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How Tatah Costales is Making a Mark in Cebu’s Fashion Scene

Tatah Costales brings together ready-to-wear and custom-made designs in a new kind of retail that’s aptly called Alter to Enhance.

Tatah Costales is standing in front of the mirror with one of her store associates, trying to decide if the purple blouse she’d picked out for the shoot might be too long on her. “Can we try pinning it?” she asks, folding the hem to the length she wanted before laughing with a shrug. “You know what, just give me the scissors. I’ll cut it.”

The exchange isn’t something you’d usually hear inside a boutique—seriously, have you ever heard someone in a store offer to cut up something off the rack?—but that’s exactly why Tatah decided to put up her brand. A.T.E. by Tatah was created as an answer to frustrating shopping trips that involve finding a beautiful piece that doesn’t fit quite right. “I saw an unmet fashion need, and thought of a possible solution,” she shares. “I jumped into it, and the rest is history.”

A.T.E. stands for Alter to Enhance, which epitomizes the store’s main concept. “It’s neither a tailoring shop, nor a regular boutique. We are a combination of both,” she explains. “We make clothes—ready-to-wear that may be altered to a size smaller, shortened length, or tweaked to a style or preference.”

Preference is something of importance. “We didn’t use ‘alter to fit,’ because not everything that fits you, suits you,” Tatah says. The brand is also an acronym of her family’s first names—her only son AJ, herself Tatah, and her husband Edgar. More importantly, though, it also plays on the Filipino endearment for older sister, which gives the brand an almost intimate touch. “It connotes Filipino culture and respect, and the female gender, because we only do clothes for women,” she pauses, “for now.”

Of course, Tatah didn’t actually start up her career in fashion. She has a degree in hotel and restaurant management from the University of the Philippines-Cebu, and was an insurance agent for years. She’d gotten the idea to venture into clothing after selling to prospects in the textile and tailoring industries.

The drive to succeed was certainly there. In one night, she had learned the basics of dressmaking and looked to familial ties for marketing—she would make pieces for her mom Virginia, who would wear them when going out with friends and meet inquiries with the news that her daughter was going into the tailoring business.

From there, she took dress orders from family and friends, and eventually sent herself to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for a summer course on the business of fashion. To show how serious she was about her chosen path, she also took a course on styling in the University of the Arts in London. The opportunity also broadened up her horizons and gave her an in-depth look at Europe’s sophisticated style.

Her pursuits to learn definitely paid off—she soon opened a shop in Mabolo, followed by the one in Axis earlier this year. A.T.E. by Tatah has already gained a good number of fans for offering stylish silhouettes in the best possible fit. “Each A.T.E. piece gives an emotional connection with the customer,” she says, sharing that the best part of starting out her shop was the bright smiles of women coming from the fitting room.

Shopping at A.T.E. by Tatah is a completely different experience. Customers can look around the racks to find pieces that they like, and are encouraged to try them on. From there, an associate will discuss the different alterations they can do based on the preference and body type—Tatah understands that even just a slight shortening of sleeve length can do wonders for creating a better silhouette. After that, a team of sewers quickly work through the garment, which can be ready for pickup in as less as 15 minutes.

Cutting and styling is something that Tatah does almost inherently, and she admits that she doesn’t particularly enjoy sketching designs. “I work better when I have a dress in front of me, and a pair of scissors in my hand. I can just cut it up into the shape that I like,” she shares. She mostly goes with classic silhouettes for the rack, although if a classic piece doesn’t sell, she sits down and thinks about how to redo it to make it trendier, such as turning a plain shift dress into an asymmetrical top.

Considering the success she’s found with A.T.E., it’s easy to forget that Tatah is actually a late bloomer in the fashion industry, although that’s something she finds pride in. “I always remind myself that I can’t be reckless with the opportunity I’m given,” she says. “It’s not every day that one discovers a new skill at the age of 42.”

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Fashion

37 Years of High Fashion; Arcy Gayatin leaves a Legacy of Edginess and Elegance

Arcy Gayatin: A Legacy of Luxury in Fabrication

 

By:  Allain Dumon Fonte 

 

The brand Arcy Gayatin gave the Queen City of the South a distinct reputation in the fashion industry.  The fashion line of Arcy Gayatin sets the bar higher each year for clothing luxury and fabrication techniques.

 

April Duenas, Nikki Gayatin and Arielle Gayatin for Arcy Gayatin—Photos by John Paul Autor from Lifestyle Inquirer.net

 

Araceli “Arcy” Ancajas Gayatin is the daughter Galileo Ancajas and Remedios Zanoria Ancajas who founded Cebu’s home brand, Gal’s Bakery.  Arcy went to the University of San Carlos and studied Political Science.  And just like Dr. Muccia Prada, who completed her Ph.D. in Political Science and established the luxury line of Prada, Arcy also got in touch with her artistic side and started her own fashion line.  However, it was not Prada that influenced Arcy.  Arcy was introduced to fashion and tailoring at a very young age by her mother, Madame Remedios Anacajas whom they dearly call Mama Eme.  Mama Eme was running a tailoring business back then.  It was called Arabel; named after Arcy and her sister Belma.  Ara from Araceli and Bel from Belma.  In those years, Arcy was fascinated by fabrics and was intrigued by how to manipulate the fabrics to come up with fashion-forward designs without compromising comfort and taste.

 

Arcy Gayatin (photo grabbed from Space Philippines Blog Spot)

 

After 37 years of creating haute couture pieces for the most fashionable personalities in the Philippines, Arcy Gayatin is now laying down her sketchpads and pens to rest.  As she enjoys her retirement, may be on a cruise to the Bahamas or a holiday to the Swiss Alps, Arcy Gayatin has left the fashion industry a legacy of elegant and edgy clothing ensembles that understand and define the shape of women; without compromising comfort and good taste.

 

Arcy Gayatin’s Pink Flamingo collection                                               Arcy Gayatin’s Sketch on a Terno

 

To salute the lady who brought Cebu fashion to the world, a retrospective exhibition of Arcy’s incomparable masterpieces can be seen today at Ayala Center Cebu’s The Gallery; curated by fashion editor and writer, Clint Holton Potestas, and interior and fashion designer, Jul Oliva.

 

BALANCE.  Arcy Gayatin is known for her perfect symmetrical lines when fabricating.  She knows how to balance edginess and class; understanding well the strength and the finesse of a woman.

 

RHYTHM.  Arcy’s expertise in draping and fabric manipulation can be seen in how she achieves rhythm between architectural lines and soft fabrics like silk and cashmere.

 

TEXTURE.  With her thorough knowledge on fabrics, Arcy Gayatin has achieved the perfection of fabrication by working on different types of fabrics and creating a single piece of art out of them. 

 

HARMONY.  The simplicity of the silhouette plus the intricacy of the details create a wonderful harmony, making Arcy Gayatin’s design a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

           

The photos below show an up-close look at the intricacy and the exquisite craftsmanship of Arcy Gayatin’s fabrication techniques:

 

THE SPIDER WEB:  one of Arcy’s genius fabrication techniques.

 

MATCH and PATCH:  Arcy’s unique fabrication craft by patching layers of different types of lace and lace patterns

 

PLEATS: The perfection of symmetry in pleats on silk.

 

LA ROSE BLEUE:  U.P. student, Danielle Alessandra Deutsch, inspired by the artistry of Arcy Gayatin, designed this midnight blue dress.   The cabbage rose made from layers of silk organdy gave this evening ensemble a romantic appeal.

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Events

Cebuano Haute Couture Shines at 2021 Cebu Wedding Expo

Photography by Rene Amodia

Forever at Soltana

by Allain Dumon Fonte

Soltana Nature Residences host the grandest wedding destination expo for 2021. In their grandiose Events at Soltana venue, wedding suppliers, event coordinators, events stylists, fashion designers, and exhibitors gathered to showcase their best to excited couples and clients.  The grand expo was opened by the Chairperson of Lapu Lapu City’s Tourism Commission and first lady of this historic resort city, Madam Cynthia Cindy King Chan; she was with city counselor, Hon.  Queenie Malingin Amman; Taft Properties COO and Vice President, Myra Lynn Gilig; Taft Properties CFO, Feliz Tiukenhoy; and Mr. Justin Gaisano of Taft Properties. 

Philip Rodriguez

To set the event’s mood, AD models Kevin Lahousse and Gingie Alducente acted as newlyweds joining the expo and leading the guests to the exhibitors’ booths.  Yet, the highlight of the event was the glamorous fashion show set in the world’s most visited wedding destinations, as the mannequins of AD models paraded the haute couture creations of Cebu’s A-list fashion designers.

Dexter Alazas

The show was opened by Miss Earth 2008, Karla Henry-Amman, wearing a bridal gown designed by Hanz Coquilla.  Her wedding mood was the historic streets and sceneries of Vigan, Philippines.  Coquilla created a Filipiniana-inspired bridal dress with perfectly constructed butterfly sleeves, exquisitely clean lines, and masterfully crafted bias skirt of balanced cones and flows.  Valerie Alvez showcased a bridal dress made of vintage Chantilly lace.  Alvez proved her skills in manipulating laces to be impeccable; the bow detail at the back added glamour to the dress, exuding luxury to the bride wearing Alvez’s masterpiece.  Wendell Quisido set her wedding theme to the dreamy beaches of Ipanema; and as her model glided on the runway, everyone in the audience dropped their jaws to the intricately detailed bridal dress that Quisido made. Quisido designed a bustier dress with well-balanced panels that wonderfully fitted the model’s figure; but what made Quisido’s dress jaw-dropping are the countless Swarovski crystals that covered the dress.  Dexter Alazas joined the fashion show with a 1920’s inspired wedding dress of vintage tulle and embroidered in the decade’s popular baroque patterns.  Alazas has shown the wonders of working with delicate fabrics and the opulence of vintage embroidery patterns.

Wendell Quisido

Valerie Alvez

The fashions show also brought us to the rich sceneries of Mallorca, Spain with Ren Manabat’s three-tiered wedding dress.  The labor-intensive layers upon layers of soft English tulle made Manabat’s artwork stand out, among others.  Another head turner is a dress that was carefully planned and architecturally constructed, the bridal gown designed by Protacio.  Protacio has obviously studied well which fabrics to use and how each fabric is sewn to the other to create an illusion of nudeness under layers of vintage Italian mesh. The dress was architecturally constructed like the Burj Khalifa where every piece sits perfectly with each other in harmony and balance.  Fashion connoisseur Marichu Tan-Geson created an extremely detailed bodice lined with Swarovski crystals, and a skirt made from layers of dotted soft English tulle.  Tan-Geson’s manipulation techniques on the soft tulle and how she delicately draped every layer of the tulle upon the other is interesting and intriguing.  With a work of art as beautiful as that, I could say that Tan-Geson is the Madame Gres of Cebu fashion.  The show ended with a groom and a bride wearing a 19th century English-inspired wedding ensemble by master couturier, Philip Rodriguez.  Rodriguez has proven once again his artistry and expertise in fashion by creating an empire-waist gown with ruffled sleeves made from dotted Italian mesh of 100% silk and vintage silk taffeta.  Rodriguez presented a truly elegant wedding dress; lesser on the intricacy but more on the richness of the materials being used.  The rarity of Rodriguez’s fabrics already makes his dress worthy to a MET gala exhibition. 

Ren Manabat

Protacio Empaces

Philip Rodriguez

The models wore the timeless and recherche jewelry collections from Royal Gem to match the bridal dresses of the featured designers.  Every jewelry piece is made to complement a woman who loves fashion and whose self-awareness dictates her own style.  From green sapphires to yellow diamonds, every jewelry piece is stunning.  No wonder why socialite and fashion icon, Heart Evangelista, loves and promotes Royal Gem. All models are wearing Shandar bridal footwear.

Philip Rodriguez

Marichu Tan-Geson

Hanz Coquilla

The Grand Wedding Destination Expo at the Events at Soltana will run until the 24th of May 2021 with exciting activities:  a maquillage session with Jessie Glova, a bridal make-up competition and show, a financial literacy session for new couples, a talk on real estate investments, a session  with Rod Bautista and Eddie Jamin from the Centerpiece Weddings and Events about wedding destinations in Cebu and the new norms in wedding celebrations, and a whole lot more of raffle prizes from Plantation Bar Resort and Spa, Solea Mactan Resort, Savoy Hotel Mactan, and others.

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Fashion

CEBU’S GALLERY OF ROUGE: Mistress of Disinfo, Vixen of Vexation and the Duchess of Disorder

Ogle La La
By Alexandra Fortabat de Hermès

Cebu’s own Lady Whistledown is back after a long hiatus and talks about the naughty ones who comprise the initial #TroubleTrifecta, three ladies who you may or may not know…

It’s been eight years since someone’s picked up this particular (jewel-encrusted) quill so thought it rather apropos to begin sharpening those French-manicured talons and polishing our sardonic wits once again. After all — dear amigas — there is only so much Netflix one can watch, or peloton one can engage in, or caviar-topped foie to prepare, while we’ve all been locked down in our kubôs for well over a year!

To be sure the last twelve months have been a rollercoaster of emotions, a carousel of follies and a series of blunders that have reversed decades of growth resulting in historical levels of unemployment while a very few have been channeling  Winston Churchill’s adage of “never waste a good crisis” a bit too much. While we can go on and on about the bungled and disastrous government response, we will limit our political commentaries here as we have no interest – nor inclination — to open that rather voluminous Pandora’s box. 

The armoires that we will explore will belong to three types of our island’s “alta” sociedad who – in this last revolution around the sun – made us cringe and bust out many tubs of popcorn through their sheer audacity, lack of sensitivity, and overall dopiness.  This –  ladies (and lady wannabes) – is therefore the debut edition of the  #TroubleTrifecta.

The first is that amiga who, by choice or plain predilection, just cannot keep her facts straight.  Let’s call her Mistress of Disinfo coz one simply cannot trust what comes out of her well-lined lips or read from her often convoluted (and run-on) status updates. In this age of ubiquitous and nearly instantaneous information and the proliferation of fake news, the least one can do is check the veracity of what one puts out in the social media realm.  As with anything else, quality is key!

The next Vixen of Vexation is that overbearing arriviste who is desperate to bowdlerize her courtesanal past by plastering her obviously enhanced and Gluta-enabled mug on every surface (and platform) known to modern man.  This self-proclaimed Madame Multiverse is quick to brandish her (dubious) accomplishments, has an affinity for B (or C?) rated actors and milks her closeness to certain members of the Old Guard.   In her perpetual quest for legitimacy and acceptance by the upper echelons, perhaps this Señorita aspirant should heed the advice of  Malcolm Forbes when he declared: “How to Succeed: Try Hard Enough; How to Fail: Try Too Hard.”

Our last Duchess of Disorder is definitely NOT the least in this Gallery of Rouge and has actually been the source of not just consternation but of many a disruption – and not in a good way.  This Soaper Woman is so-called due to her propensity to air out all her filthy lavada to anyone who will listen or bother to read her IG stories. Besides giving any Grammar Nazi a massive coronary, this Fräulein of Fracas has been known to commit acts of arson, has no qualms of engaging in online character assassinations AND seems to have a never-ending bevy of skeletons that are constantly feasting in her many closets. 

Ladies, please!  While we have to admit that we derive a certain guilty pleasure from your virtual explosions and implosions, they do get very prosaic – very quickly.  Discretion, like intelligence and proper manners, truly never goes out of style.

So there you have it folks. These tumultuous times we live in certainly do not need any more brouhaha so  please remember to be precise, don’t try too hard and always maintain a  certain sense of delicadeza. Not only will your lives be simpler and more pleasurable but maybe, just maybe, you may finally crack that clique that you’ve been clawing your way to be a part of.  

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