He crafted not just one but three collections for the girls
Singing catchy tunes and mastering dynamic choreography are some of the fundamental elements that turn regular singers into pop superstars. But what cements them in pop culture history is their flair for unique style. Think of Lady Gaga’s rule-breaking meat dress, Britney Spears’ sultry stone-encrusted “Toxic” bodysuit, and who could forget Madonna’s Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra. It’s about shedding the ordinary and to give people a visual fantasy to match what they are hearing.
Taking the same metamorphosis is local girl group BINI. A pop musical act composed of young Filipinas Aiah, Colet, Maloi, Gwen, Stacey, Mikha, Jhoanna, and Sheena, BINI aims to bring a different touch to local pop music with their artistry and charm. After their viral remake of “Da Coconut Nut,” the effervescent girl group is ready to fully embrace their pop music destiny with their “Born to Win” single. Not only are they showcasing new melodies, they are also taking their style game to another fiercer level with the help of local fashion creatives, one of which is the noted fashion designer Francis Libiran.
Francis is not new to dressing music royalties and international stars, even sports champions. And for BINI, he created not just one but three collections for their virtual debut show “BINI: The Launch.”
In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, Francis Libiran shares his inspiration for BINI’s looks, how he incorporated Filipino heritage in his creations, and the role fashion plays in a pop star’s life.
How was the experience working with BINI? As a rising pop group, what do you adore about them?
When I first saw the BINI girls, I instantly felt like they would soon grace the world stage. The girls have powerful personalities and are all talented, so it is such an honor working with them. In fact, they reminded me of how modern Filipinas are: demure but fierce, determined, and empowering. Working with them inspired me to do three collections: “Champions,” “Crown of Victory,” and “Breaking Records.”
What was your inspiration for the three collections you did for them?
The girls were the inspiration; particularly, their generation being modern Filipinas. It’s all about the sophistication, the comfort, and chasing your dreams and still being proud of your roots.
“Breaking Records” is the collection showcasing the efficiency and easement of clothes for teenagers to early ’20s. The youth nowadays prefer wearing hoodies, jogger pants, t-shirts; anything that resembles comfort in style. It’s basked with psychedelic tones which are striking yet pleasing to the eyes.
“Champions” collection is about how their generation loves getting dressed up to parties, such as attending debuts or prom. It also brought the sophisticated side of the girls. These gowns are layered so they look big, but are actually lightweight; they are comfortable and classy at the same time.
“Crown of Victory” collection is inspired by how great our heritage is as Filipinos. The dresses were inspired by our traditional Filipiniana, but with a twist. Hearing the word Filipiniana would make it seem like these are dated and are only worn during SONAs, but I tweaked the designs by applying gold and playing with the butterfly sleeves for a friendlier, more modern appeal.
What are the things you considered for the pieces you created for BINI?
When I met them, they had a powerful personality and huge promise as a group. I wanted to highlight their personalities into the dresses they would be wearing. So, during Zoom sessions, I try to get a sense of who they are individually and incorporate their character in their style. By means of highlighting their individual assets, they are now more powerful and impactful as a group.
Why is fashion important in the career of music superstars?
It is the first thing that people will see once new artists are launched. The style sets the tone for what kind of person they are? What can they do? What is their vibe? Fashion is the first thing the audience sees especially during launching. You know what they say: First impressions are lasting. So, it’s really important to highlight their beauty and finesse to leave a strong impression to their viewers.