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Jude Jowilson’s Fashion Line is a True New York Success Story

Jude Jowilson left behind an atelier and successful career in Cebu to pursue his fashion design dreams in the Big Apple–and it’s definitely paid off.

In 2005, Jude Jowilson Elardo was making a name for himself in the Cebuano fashion scene. His designs were head and shoulder above his contemporaries—fusing panels when everyone was doing beadwork, using teal when everyone was still doing fuchsia. Stylists took notice of his designs, eventually leading to features in glossies like this one. He soon became sought-after, with clients ranging from Chinese businesswomen to It girls, even before the term was coined.

So it came as a surprise to his colleagues and clients that one day, his studio along Jones Avenue appeared to be closed. Indefinitely. “After eight years, I realized there was something missing—I was a designer, but I didn’t know how to make a pattern or how to sew. I only knew how to sketch,” Jude admits. “At that time there was no fashion design school in Cebu, and I was hungry for knowledge. I wanted to learn more of the things I was passionate about.”

Jude left Cebu to continue his education in fashion design at the Parsons School of Design in New York. He learned the basics of pattern-making, draping and sewing. He also discovered cutting edge techniques that he wasn’t aware of while in Cebu.

Jude Jowilson gets his inspiration from Old Hollywood. SEATED Tallulah Dress in French Chantilly lace. STANDING FROM LEFT Harlow Dress with cape in French Chantilly lace; Olivia dress in Italian tulle soft a skirt and French Alencon Lace

More than a decade after, the decision to move to the Big Apple proved to be smart and rewarding. His New York bridal label Jude Jowilson has a steady stream of clients, mostly modern New York brides who appreciate his attention to detail and his choice of fabric, which is mostly 100% silk and lace sourced from Europe. He is inspired by good old Hollywood glamour, and actresses like Marlene Dietrich, Greer Garson and Rosalind Russel. His designs steer clear of cliches—the overly designed and heavily beaded wedding gowns—and lean more on the clasic and elegant.

The presence of Jude Jowilson’s designs continues to reach more stores each year, and can even be found as far as Korea. Through bridal website The Knot, and through social media and referrals from past clients, he is also in-demand for custom bridal gowns. He travels the country, doing trunk shows to personally meet potential brides in the stores that carry their dresses.

Their biggest break was joining New York Bridal Week at Pier 92 in the Spring of 2015. “We got a small spot, and were up against all the major bridal brands. It was scary and intimidating,” Jude recalls.

Their studio is in a 1920s building with the original tin ceiling intact.

“We were told by most exhibitors and the director of the show not to expect any buyers because it was our first show, and we were a new brand. We were lucky and got picked up by a few stores. We were happily surprised and grateful, since it was unexpected. After the show, we needed to find a small studio in Manhattan to be our sample room. We found one in the NoMad district. This Fall 2016 will be our fifth season, and we moved to a new larger studio earlier this year in the heart of Chelsea.

Similar to brands like The Row who produce domestically in an effort to resuscitate the city’s garment District, Jude Jowilson is proudly “Made in New York.” But unlike these massively funded brands, Jude swears you don’t need to break the bank to start a fashion label. “In 2013, I started building my first collection of 13 dresses all by myself—with no assistance, a one-man show. We started in the kitchen of our old apartment, and then used one of our spare small bedrooms for sewing.”

Part of the reason why his label is so successful is because of how involved Jude is in every aspect of production. The quality of craftsmanship is exceptional. His business partner and husband Larry shares, “He has a way about him that makes everyone feel comfortable, and there’s no denying his creations are beautiful works of art.”

Jude Jowilson Elardo has changed his brand to Jude Jowilson as a rebirth of sorts, a proverbial toast to new beginnings. This second act, it seems, is proving to be quite the New York success story.

For appointments, call +1 (917) 362-878 or email them at info@judejowilson.com. Visit their website here

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Events

BVLGARI in Cebu

May 10 – Cebu City  |  Step inside a world of opulence where gold shimmers and diamonds sparkle. BVLGARI, the renowned Italian luxury brand, is celebrated for its exquisite gemstone jewelry, thin watches, perfumes, and leather goods. With a legacy dating back to 1884, BVLGARI has become synonymous with elegance and craftsmanship. The newest BVLGARI boutique opened last week at the sparkling The Mall at Nustar Resort and Casino, fast becoming the shopping destination for discerning consumers.

Eva Gullas, Jeffrey Hang, Jaja Chiongbian-Rama and Butch Carungay

Jeffrey Hang, BVLGARI’s Regional Marketing Director for South East Asia, flew in from Singapore to welcome guests. “We are happy to unveil BVLGARI to the Cebu market. This is the company’s 140th year, and BVLGARI celebrates this landmark with the Aeterna High Jewelry Collection in Rome this coming May 20, attended by all our global ambassadors like Zendaya and Black Pink” Jeffrey shares with us. The collection will be available in SE Asia later in the year and in the Philippines at the end of the year.

Leading the ribbon cutting was Joseph Muñoz (commercial director of Bulgari Philippines, Jeffry Hang (regional marketing director of Bulgari South East Asian operations, Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey (Bulgari Ambasadress and Ms. Universe 2015), Allan Teo (chief operating officer of NUSTAR Resort and Casino and May Adolfo (mall director of NUSTAR Cebu).

Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey, BVLGARI’s local Ambasadress and Ms. Universe 2015

Sheila Osmeña-Go and Jaja Chiongbian-Rama

Spotted at the event was Joseph Muñoz, Commercial Director of Bulgari Philippines escorting Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey, BVLGARI’s local Ambasadress and Ms. Universe 2015, Allan Teo, Chief Operating Officer of NUSTAR Resort and Casino, Howard Go, Summit Media’s CEO and his wife, Cebuana Sheila Osmeña-Go as well as some of Cebu’s young fashionable set like Claudia Bezza Yeung, Marjay Ramirez, and Danessa Onglatco.

May Adolfo, Danessa Onglatco, Marjay Ramirez and Claudia Bezza-Yeung

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Fashion

The Qipao As Interpreted by Innovative Filipino Designers: PHILIP RODRIGUEZ

The Qipao, an iconic symbol of Chinese fashion, takes center stage as we celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon. This singular closely-fitted garment crafted from the most opulent silks originated in 1920’s Shanghai. ZEE fashion editor Oj Hofer, has sought the creative insights of some of the Philippines’ most innovative designers for their interpretation of the elegant Qipao, also known as Cheongsam.

Cebu’s esteemed designer, Philip Rodriguez, pays homage to imperial attire with this stunning yellow silk brocade qipao. While adhering to the traditional cheongsam silhouette, Rodriguez infuses a touch of sensuality by incorporating see-through silk tulle panels along the waistline. Known for his timeless designs and culturally respectful creations, Rodriguez’s attention to detail is unparalleled. His embellishments are intricate and exquisite, showcasing impeccable taste and luxurious design without veering into ostentation. Take, for instance, his cheongsam for the Year of the Dragon. While it may seem daring compared to traditional sensibilities, Rodriguez maintains elegance by delicately veiling the wearer’s skin with sheer tulle on the cutout side panels. The front slit of the dress is cautiously calculated to strike the perfect balance between modesty and allure “I design for women who possess sophistication beyond their years, “ Philip emphasizes. “My clothes are crafted to evoke a sense of beauty and allure, leaving her feeling exquisite and confident.” As a seasoned designer, Rodriguez consistently achieves harmony in his designs. His qipao for 2024 seamlessly blends elements of royalty and sensuality, luxury and practicality, reflecting his mastery of the craft and his ability to create pieces that are truly elegant and well-balance.

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Fashion

The Qipao As Interpreted by Innovative Filipino Designers: JC BUENDIA

The Qipao, an iconic symbol of Chinese fashion, takes center stage as we celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon. This singular closely-fitted garment crafted from the most opulent silks originated in 1920’s Shanghai. ZEE fashion editor Oj Hofer, has sought the creative insights of some of the Philippines’ most innovative designers for their interpretation of the elegant Qipao, also known as Cheongsam.

JC Buendia, celebrated for his ability to tell a million style stories through minimalist details, is a master of clean, chic lines in fashion. Eschewing frivolity and nonsensical embellishments, every element of his designs contributes to their overall elegance.

Inspired by cinematic portrayals of Chinoiserie, Buendia’s first fascination with the Qipao began with Gloria Romero’s iconic portrayal of a Chinese princess disguised as a ‘sampan’ girl in the 1957 film “Hong Kong Holiday.”

“This admiration for orientalalia only deepened as I watched films like “The Last Emperor” and “In The Mood For Love,” JC recalls.

Buendia’s latest creation is a testament to this cinematic influence. His interpretation of the Qipao for the Year of the Wood Dragon features a cropped top crafted from silk Dupioni, embellished with diamond brooches on the reverse closure for a touch of glamour. Paired with a tea-length bouffant skirt made from frothy layers of delicate tulle, the ensemble exudes sophistication and timeless elegance.

With meticulous attention to detail and a keen eye for design, JC Buendia’s Qipao captures the essence of cinematic glamour while offering a contemporary twist on a classic silhouette. It’s a tribute to the enduring allure of Chinoiserie and the timeless beauty of the Cheongsam.

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