By DOM GALEON
Images by NOEL PABALATE
Bikinis for the Christmas season? That was the first thing that popped into my head when I heard that Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez was launching a new swimsuit line. So when we got to Aura Athletica, the exclusive distributor of Tweetie’s bikinis, it was among the first things I asked her. Why release a swimwear during the holidays?
Her answer was both amusing and true. “For Pinoys, it’s always beachseason. It’s summer throughout the year in the Philippines,” she laughs. “Everyone goes on a holiday during Christmas anyway, and Filipinos love going to the beach.”
But the real reason Tweetie has launched a new line of swimsuits under her TdLG Designs brand, in partnership with The Shape Shop, is her love for the beach. And she has always dreamed of designing swimwear.
“This is my first ever swimwear line, which I have been dreaming of for a decade,” she says. And for a first-time swimsuit designer, Tweetie doesn’t disappoint. Her bikinis are classy and stylish, each accented with semi-precious stones, a nod to her background as an accessories and jewelry designer. Indeed, these designs will stay in trend well into summer next year.
“For this initial offering, I have six styles and each style has three different color waves. That’s 18 in total. And I also have two cover-up designs. So we’re talking about 20 styles. You can mix and match them because everything in the collection is interchangeable.”
Tweetie designed every single piece, a product of her creative mind and her love for the beach. Since it is her first venture into clothing, she has relied on The Shape Shop to turn her design dreams into actual products.
“It’s a collaboration between TdLG and The Shape Shop,” she explains. “They handled the manufacturing, I took care of the creatives. Working with the Shape Shop was a welcome treat for me. I have been designing jewelry but never garments. I needed to be guided through the kind of fabrics, with measurement and sizing. Since The Shape Shop produces active wear, they know a lot about this. Our production time, our design plan, was a well-oiled machine. Everything has been seamless—they had the right answers to my questions. The synergy was there. Working together didn’t require long months of wok, just a few.”
The Shape Shop is a local clothing design brand run by Patti Manuel Go and Ella Laxa-Pangilinan, whose clothes are among those distributed by Aura Athletica, owned and operated by Anne Arcenas Gonzalez.
“Ideas don’t always translate into good, well-fitting products,” Tweetie explains. To test her ideas, she had her daughter, Sabina, try them out. “I had a few adjustments to some of the designs. Fortunately my daughter was very willing. We were able to tweak the designs—thankfully nothing major. That’s how we were able to come up with well-fitting pieces.”
I asked Tweetie what her favorite was among all of the collection’s bikinis. “Oh, they’re all my favorites,” she laughs. “But what I have been wearing most of the time is the one-sided bandeau. I love the symmetry. Its silhouettes have a very classic look but there’s a surprise somewhere.”
Some might say that, for a woman like Tweetie who has maintained her youthful beauty throughout all these years, it’s easy to don a bikini. This is what she had to say about that:
“I have been dreaming of this for so long. My mindset was, ‘ok, it has to be this way, it has to be of a certain design that accentuates whatever women want to show and camouflages whatever women would like to conceal.’ It’s a design from the point of view of a woman.”
She adds, “To begin with, I’d like to tell women that there really are no rules. Wear what you want—it’s your body, it’s your concern—whatever makes you feel good. Other people’s eyes and concerns are not for you to worry about. However you want to prepare for summer, whether you cut back on food intake, you work out, or you really just want to be the way you are, it’s live and let live. It’s being happy with who you are.”
The TdLG x The Shape Shop swimwear collection is available at Aura Athletica at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati. | tdlgdesigns.com