Robbie Santos’ “Voyageur’ collection is where fashion meets art
After the chaos brought by the pandemic, Filipinos again are rediscovering the beautiful sites of the Philippines and the world. They call it the revenge travel, savoring beautiful horizons and the perpetual wind after being cooped up in their homes for years—observing safety precautions, of course. That idea of jet-setting is alive in the latest collaboration collection of homegrown fashion label Septième Rebelle and art museum Fundacion Sansó.
Following their first fashion showcase, the textile designs of master artist and Presidential Merit awardee Juvenal Sansó once again take the spotlight with the help of fashion designer Robbie Santos. Dubbed “Voyageur,” the collection is inspired by the revenge travel phenomenon, with Sansó’s prints translated onto fabric.
“It is all about self-expression,” the designer tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “We’ve all felt stifled, we cannot travel before. It was so constricting. To create something that you can bare skin with peekaboos details and having beadworks, this collection is an expression of freedom.”
Before becoming the renowned painter he is today, Sansó, much like Santos, is also a fashion creative. He became a textile print designer while he was a student at the École Nationale des Beaux Artes in Paris in the 1960s. His hand-painted textile designs depicted florals and foliage, as well as geometric shapes and abstract patterns so beautiful, that the premier House of Balenciaga became one of his biggest clients.
Sansó’s stint in fashion allowed him to expand his network. It was during this phase of his career that he met Elsa Schiaparelli. The iconic designer introduced Sansó to Galerie Lucie Weill, who gave him his first solo exhibition. In the end, his strategy of starting out in fashion paid off.
“Voyageur” echoes that part of Sansó’s life with deluxe resort pieces in ode of the 1950s and 1960s style. To make the collection, Santos also looked for other prints to complement the artist’s works. The result is something truly spectacular, a line that is filled with wonder, joy, and every bit of a chic getaway.
“Despite having a timelessly elegant approach, I wanted to offer something new—bra tops, tank tops, T-shirts for the young market,” Santos muses. “I also used an embroidery machine to sew ‘Sansó’ as a brand on the pants. This is my take on today’s logo-obsessed culture. The cuts on the pant leg are new—and so is the absence of belt loops! One has to fully examine a piece of clothing to see the details we have put in them.”
To mark its launch, a fashion show was held last June 15 at Art Lounge Manila’s flagship location at the Molito Lifestyle Center in Alabang. Apart from his designs walking down the runways, adorned with jewelry pieces by Riqueza, some of his works were artfully showcased in the space conceptualized by creative genius Vince Uy, with the textile designs on display curated by Cindel Tiausas of Art Lounge Manila.
“We really want to showcase all the different art forms like dance, music, theater, literature,” Tiausas says. “We aim to create experiences where one or more (or all) of these different art forms interact with one another in a way that breathes new life into each art form and really gives our clients and audiences a well-rounded experience of art and culture.”
“Art is such a great medium with which to communicate advocacies and promote charitable institutions,” Tiausas adds. “Art can not only make our individual lives better by bringing beauty and joy, but in this manner, it can also tangibly and significantly make a difference.”
“Voyageur” is on display at Art Lounge Manila at Molito Lifestyle Center in Alabang until June 28, 2022. Check out the exhibit below: