Filipino fashion designer Jessan Macatangay wins a L’Oreal Professionnel Womenswear Creative Award

Published May 4, 2022, 8:27 AM

by John Legaspi

He is the first Filipino to win the award

After his groundbreaking work during the pandemic, young designer Jessan Macatangay makes a new record by winning the L’Oreal Professionnel Womenswear Creative Award with his latest collection shown during the Central Saint Martins’ (CSM) MA Fashion Graduation Show, an award bestowed only to the school’s MA Fashion Class graduates with the best collection. This makes him the first Filipino to bring home the coveted honor, putting him with the likes of Kim Jones, Grace Wales Bonner, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Molly Goddard, and Craig Green who won the award in the past years.

“Sculptural Sensuality”

His winning collection, titled “Sculptural Sensuality,” is inspired by “women’s inability to express their sensual side due to cultural restraints.”

“In our country, where—even in 2022—85 percent of the population remains to be Roman Catholic, religion and tradition still play major roles in putting restraints on women, especially with how they dress,” Jessan says. “This is especially true in areas outside Metro Manila. I grew up in Batangas where the prevalent dress code is always modest and conservative. Batangenos are naturally religious people. So religious, in fact, that they allow their beliefs to heavily influence every aspect of their lives.”

“These outdated restrictions are not only thrown at regular women,” he continues. “From celebrities and influencers to models, Filipinas from all walks of life oftentimes find themselves being subjected to bashing, unnecessary judgment, and being told to cover up when they post photos of themselves wearing clothes that do not conform to conservative standards of generations past. In fact, growing up, I even saw women wear t-shirts over their bikinis while swimming just to cover up. This is where my project started—from the fear and discomfort of showing skin. Could there be a way to make women let go of this fear?”

Judging his work are British Vogue’s fashion director Julia Sarr-Jamois, WWD’s market editor Tianwei Zhang, and I-D’s fashion features director Osman Ahmed, among others. “Sculptural Sensuality” is an eight-piece (finalized to six) collection that highlights Jessan’s designs crafted by combining various types of jerseys that he stretched using wired frames to mimic a swimsuit’s outline. The result is something truly creative and contemporary, a feminine and avant-garde parade with clean lines and a color story that accentuates a woman’s body—making it a true work of art.

“This collection is about making society realize that a woman is more than her body,” the designer muses. “Clothes exist to accentuate the feminine figure and showcase it in its most lustrous light. I really want to create pieces for women who adore sensuality without fearing sexuality; and for women who long to relax on the beach with her swimsuit, legs and arms sun-kissed, and exposed for all the world to adore (not judge). She does not want to cover up with a t-shirt while on the beach. She wants to be free.”

CSM is the same art school that legendary designers Stella McCartney, John Galliano, and Alexander McQueen went to. This year, its MA Graduation show marks the much-awaited event’s return to the catwalk since the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out the “Sculptural Sensuality” collection below:

“Sculptural Sensuality”

“Sculptural Sensuality”

“Sculptural Sensuality”

To know more about Jessan, you may follow his Instagram account @jessanmacatangay or visit www.jessanmacatangay.com.

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