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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Fab Filipino Flavor

I am going to feature two Pinoy designers who have created innovations in terms of style and function in bag design. Amina Aranaz and Rafe Totengco have indeed made our country proud with their exquisite pieces.


Amina Aranaz is the lady behind ARANÁZ bags. Amina is based in Manila, Philippines and has been designing bags since 1998.

ARANÁZ bags are known for their precious native materials, fine detailing, first class craftsmanship and distinct style.

The "Look Ma, No Hands" Series from the Disco Queen Collection (October 2006)

Amulet Necklace Purse (price unavailable) and
Medallion Necklace Purse, 1,750Php (about US$36)

I am crazy about the "Look Ma, No Hands" Series. I'm definitely getting my hands on one very, very soon. The "disco bags," (created by Amina in collaboration with Jenni Epperson,) were created so that women wouldn't have to "worry about their purses all night." As Amina stated in her Multiply blog, "...I designed inventive embellished necklace bags that are just big (rather small) enough to fit a credit card and some bills (approx. 5inches in diameter.)"

Her new Summer 2007 collection was showcased at the Metrowear Summer Fashion Show last March 22, 2007 at the Hotel InterContinental Manila. On the left is a sketch of one of the bags from the collection, which, according to Amina, was inspired by Queen Amidala sunbathing on the moon.

On her blog, Amina describes the new collection as having a "space age vibe mixed with pure and natural elements." The bags range from small purses (similar to the amulet and medallion bags of the Disco Queen Collection) to big totes and satchels that are roomy enough for beach gear. Some of the materials Amina used for the collection are natural straw, clear plastic and silver. On her blog, she says, "this time it's all about showing off what's inside a woman's bag! And to help her keep her stuff organized, I will make complementary pouches that are equally as gorgeous that she'd be more than happy to expose!"
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Models show off Aranaz bags at the Metrowear Summer Fashion Show

Check out the ARANÁZ boutiques at Greenbelt 5 and the Power Plant Mall. Those outside the Philippines CAN buy online through Bamboo Closet, (although the styles available are limited.)

Rafē New York

Jessica Alba with the WEST FOURTH Milla Foldover Shoulder Tote in dark brown, $475.00 (about 23,000Php)
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Another Pinoy designer is Rafe (pronounced RAH-fee) Totengco who is now one of the most acclaimed designers in New York. He has made quite a splash abroad, with celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Eva Longoria and Lindsay Lohan sporting his bags.

Rafe designs luxury bags, as well as footwear and small leather goods that are, as described in his website, "relaxed chic." He has shops in New York and Japan and distribution at boutiques and department stores in other countries.

The problem is, I don't think online orders from the Philippines are accepted at (which is very puzzling.) I don't know if there are distributors in the Philippines already, but you can make inquiries through the website.

I LOVE the dark brown Milla Foldover Shoulder Tote (shown in the pictures above) because it can be worn in three ways -- as a hand bag, shoulder bag or body bag. At $475, (about 23,000Php,) I think it's worth the price.

COZUMEL Adriana Shoulder Basket in white, $395 (about 19,000Php) and
UNION SQUARE Brooke Wedge Sandal in white, $295 (about 14,200Php)
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GRACIE SQUARE Courtney 75MM Patent Wedge in black, $325.00 (about 15,700Php) and
WEST FOURTH Alexis Foldover Clutch in black, $275 (about 13,300Php)
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GRENADA Amanda Medium Satchel in white, $495 (about 24,000Php) and
UNION SQUARE Uma Strappy Sandal in white, $295 (about 14,200Php)
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I say Rafe should think about putting up shop in the Philippines. His bags and shoes may have hefty price tags, but with many Louis Vuitton-loving Pinoys, there is definitely a big possibility of him having a huge fan base here.

Kudos to Amina and Rafe for their excellent work! I hope to see more of them in the local fashion scene in the future.

The CityLifeStylist


queen of wishful thinking said...

Hi! My sister bought from Las Vegas our eldest a Rafe bag. At first, I didn't understand why my sis insisted on getting one when Rafe is just a Filipino designer. Why not just get from here, right? Or better yet, buy a Coach... But when I saw it, I realized that his creations are entirely in a higher level. It is so chic! Every pocket had a purpose and the materials are all of high quality! It is one bag that you would definitely take good care of, not only because it is expensive but most importantly because it is a work of art. It is a sin to just leave it anywhere!

The CityLifeStylist said...

That's why they should be available here in the Philippines!

Rafe bags truly represent the world-class Filipino. ^_^