People flew in and drove great distances to the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood to experience the exquisite couture bowties and fashion collection of John Ablaza – the Philippines first Eco-Couture International Fashion Designer. What’s Eco-Couture? It’s where a product is created and produced with consideration to the environmental and social impact of the materials used, the design process and the sustainable production process. The designers core brand campaign is to create awareness and donate a percentage of sales of the a product to a charitable cause.
John Ablaza’s cause is the secluded, yet primordial and venerable, Mangyan Tribe in Mindoro, Philippines. For the past few years, John has helped train the men, women and children of the Mangyan Tribe to create beautiful gowns, suits and now bowties, all hand-made and at times using ancient methods of the Mangyans, including the creation of a special fabric out of tree bark, which John eventually shapes into leaves or flowers.
During our press interview, John revealed that his educational background was a degree in Agriculture and Horticulture. He eventually became the Manager of Aurora Gardens in the historic “Walled City” of Intramuros, in Manila, Philippines – a special project by then First Lady, Imelda Marcos. The First Family was so happy with his work that they appointed John to be the Head Buyer and Chief Florist of the Malacanang Palace Grounds. He was then sought after by major hotels and was introduced to the world of wardrobe styling and fashion design. He quickly became the fashion designer of choice by the ladies of high society, celebrities and royalty from all over the world!
He is highly inspired by the native environment that surrounds him and all the beautiful things nature has to offer… Earth friendly and organic elements – coconut shells, wood beads, plant seeds, tree barks, reed grass fibers, and sea shells to name a few. John collaborated with the matriarch of a very prominent Filipino family, Dona Bea Zobel de Ayala and they work together for the Mangyan Project. In order to educate and train the indigenous community, he mentored the tribal women and local artisans to hone their embroidery techniques. Each and every piece of the bowtie is delicately handmade and embellished by the Mangyan Tribe from Mindoro, with a promise to continue to bring them more work to help create livelihood.
John’s launch last night was truly remarkable! The evening started with friends, sponsors and supporters walking down and posing for photos on the red carpet as the members of the media and photographers took pictures and interviewed celebrities in attendance. John’s Hollywood Bowtie Couture Launch was fully supported by incredible sponsors – Just Andowitt of GMA TV Life/GMA Pinoy TV, Dr. Tess Mauricio of M Beauty by Dr. Tess, John Pham of MODXchange.com, MJ Racadio of BlogTalk with MJ Racadio, Noni Bellarmino of iDance Studio, Alex Tupaz, Alex Tupaz Photography, Jophel Morales, Jophel Morales Photography and Cristina Rosell who lovingly catered the food that evening. A huge congratulations to MJ Racadio for organizing and marketing this memorable show!
All the gorgeous models voluntarily donated hundreds of hours of practice, photo-shoots, runway modeling and socializing with the guests after the show. They were all there to support John’s cause for the Mangyans.
Another treat for the evening was a live auction of famed Filipino boxer, Manny Pacquiao! The “Manny Pacquiao Foundation” auctioned off priceless memorabilia signed by Manny Pacquiao himself, among them were pairs of gloves, training shorts, training shoes and a one of a kind limited edition perfume made just for Manny by Hollywood icon, Fred Segal. Thank you and congratulations to all who participated in the bidding and those who won the bids – Dr. Tess Mauricio, Mark Anthony Nicholas, Producer of CBS “The Talk”, Jules Barba, Founder of JB Diamonds and John Pham, Founder of MODXchange.com
The highlight of the evening was a surprise announcement by John Ablaza during the finale. Devon Spence, International Model and Actor, who flew in all the way from Miami to Los Angeles, walked down the runway in his pristine winter white suit wearing a cream bowtie that sparkled brightly in the light. It was then announced that Devon wore John’s dream – a $1.3 Million dollar bowtie with 19 carats of GIA certified diamonds, with the center diamond weighing 11.5 carats. John collaborated with Jules Barba, Founder of JB Diamonds in Newport Beach to design this bowtie.
It’s truly a dream come true for John, as now, his seemingly humble bowtie lovingly created by the Mangyan Tribe, gets to merge with luxurious diamonds to represent grander awareness about his cause. I am thrilled to have been a conduit to make this dream happen when I introduced John and Jules. What seemed like an impossible dream, happened within days! This dream was created with lots of love, passion and dedication by John and Jules – who worked on it all day, the day before Thanksgiving, 2 days before the show. A special thank you to Mary Antoinette “Anne” Ceniza ( aka Fides Spes Caritas on Facebook ) for driving an entire day with John to meet with us and get this project started and for being such a great friend and moral support for John. After the show, John told me that “Only Devon truly deserves to wear that diamond bowtie!” More on that statement during my upcoming video interview with John Ablaza.
Over 25 members of the press and the media graced John’s Hollywood launch and captured very special details and moments to be shared on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and social media. It truly is heartwarming to witness the outpour of love and support for such an awe-inspiring and talented man with a worthy cause.
After the show, guests went back to the red carpet to congratulate John, take more photos and catch up with each other. It was sooo wonderful to see so many of my friends there! It truly was an evening of couture and culture for a cause, not to mention celebrating connections. There were so many incredible people in attendance and I cherish each and every one of them!
Last night was like a glamorous reunion of friends! I even got to experience my own “miracle” – reuniting with my best friend from Kindergarten to 3rd Grade, whom I haven’t seen in 40+ years – Lea Josef-Singson! The story is so special, I have to write a separate blog post on that 😉
There will most certainly be a Part 2 on this post as there’s so much I want to write as there’s so much more to share about John Ablaza, his global vision and what’s in store for his advocacy in the next year.
For pictures of the event, please go to my Facebook Album “John Ablaza’s Hollywood Bowtie Couture Launch”.
Here’s the video of John Ablaza’s Press Conference prior to the show:
Until we connect…
Here’s To Your Success With Satisfaction and Significance!