In dedicating three decades of his life mastering the art of couture, top Filipino designer Frederick Peralta has rightfully earned his place in the local and international fashion worlds.
As the first Filipino designer to receive an international recognition, Peralta has rightfully garnered a strong following here and abroad with his innate talent and propensity to hard work. With his muses always comprising the country’s beauty queens, top models and iconic celebrities, the designer has even dressed the likes of the late King of Pop Michael Jackson when the latter visited the Philippines for a historic concert in 1996. Peralta was singled out to design the legendary artist’s for his two-night Manila stint.
In celebrating 30 years in the industry, friends, family and colleagues came together on October 28 to toast the well-loved and greatly admired designer, who in turn treated his audience to a retrospective of his stunning bridal creations.
Held at The Marriot Hotel in Newport City, Peralta’s anniversary show was aptly dubbed Marry Me at Marriot.
“The ‘Marry Me’ collection showcases my designs in retrospect but also highlights my past pieces that were ahead of their time. They were drawn from the ‘80s to the ‘90s and the early 2000s,” Peralta told The Manila Times in a one-on-one interview the day after his successful runway presentation.
In total, the collection featured 35 wedding gowns and 11 tuxedos.
Peralta’s bridal retrospective was all about glamour and intricacy, which have long been the designer’s trademarks. Dreamy wedding dresses, precious beadwork, and delicate patterns took to the runway, along with a number of mythical pieces with elaborate ornamentations.
“Some of my creations show how simple yet fine detailing can bring out elegance in a bridal gown,” Peralta related. “But there are some theatrical designs in the collection so the audience can visualize different looks for brides that depend on wedding themes.”
No less than the country’s top models had the privilege of wearing Peralta’s bridal collection, among them Wilma Doesnt, Rima Otswani, Ria Bolivar, and Jasmine Maierhofer, with close to 300 invited guests for an audience. Seen in the ballroom were influential fashion designers, renowned celebrities, and Manila’s social set.
A grand celebration indeed, The Marriot treated Peralta’s audience to a succulent 13-course lauriat, which was specially prepared by its new Executive Chef Law Wui Wing.
Incidentally, the talented chef will head the hotel’s upcoming Chinese restaurant, Man Ho, set to open in 2016. It was further announced at the occasion that The Marriott’s 4,000-squaremeter Grand Ballroom will be inaugurated in March 2015.
Rise to the top
From apprenticing with renowned fashion designers to doing his own beadwork for his very first clients, Peralta’s success story is proof that he has paid his dues.
“I went through a self-learning process. I learned the craft on my own, and enhanced my skills through self-study and of course with the help of my mentors,” recalled Peralta.
Without taking formal lessons in fashion design, Peralta started out his career through sheer work experience, first as an apprentice of designer Gregg Centeno, then as an employee of a jeans company. He then studied pattern making under Pempot Mortera before finally setting up his own atelier.
As the perfect time to look back, Peralta attributes the success of his first solo show in 1984 to another Filipino designer, Ogie Atmos who had believed in Peralta’s talent from the very beginning.
“I believe it was my destiny to become a fashion designer. It was as if things just fell in to place, with all the events in my life leading to a flourishing career in fashion design,” Peralta enthused. “If you ask me why I think I became a fashion designer, I would say it’s to create clothes for people that make them happy.”
Along his rise to the top, Peralta won the Asean Design Competition in Singapore in 1990, officially making him the first Filipino to win an international fashion award. Four years later, another recognition was given the talented designer when he bagged the Grand Prix at the Internationale Creatures de Jeunes de Mode (Young International Designers Competition) in Paris in 1994.
He was also chosen to represent the Philippines in the Unesco-funded book, High Fashion Around the World written by Algerian fashion journalist Dina Hajje. Highlighting innovative concept designs of fashion designers from different countries worldwide, the book was launched in Paris in 2001.
“It boosts my confidence in designing when I win these awards and when I am recognized. I feel they are confirmations of my value as designer,” Peralta shared.
Fashion on air
Peralta’s achievements in fashion design eventually landed him his very own radio program titled Fashion Radio, noted as the first of its kind to that hit the local airwaves. He also hosted a television show on PTV 4 titled, Moda Filipiniana.
Besides his forays into radio and TV, he also had for a time a fashion column for a national newspaper and a glossy magazine.
“I am happy that I have been able to share my experience and knowledge in fashion through these mediums. It’s one of the things that I want to continue doing in my career. Even it if isn’t through media, I impart the knowledge I have gained with my apprentices or even when dress up a client,” he related.
For Peralta, fashion is not just about designing clothes but also being able to communicate with his clients—a “true skill,” which he believes sets him apart from others designers.
“Fashion design is not all about creativity. More than that, it’s also the ability to listen to your clients, consider the personality of the wearer, and then express to them the inspiration you gather from these,” he explained. “Learning to communicate with my clients has helped me so much in my career because it made me open to criticisms and suggestions, which help me to better my craft continuously.”
In return, Peralta is rewarded by the trust of his clients who repeatedly come back to him, especially for the most memorable occasions of their lives.
“The idea of dressing up is to get noticed in an affair, to feel good about yourself, and to bring out your best,” he enumerated. “Every design I come up with is always an ornamentation that gives a woman or a man the confidence needed for that moment in the spotlight.”
Ever grateful for his success, another thing that sets Peralta apart from many other fashion designers is how he has remained grounded all these years. And so, as he begins a year anew in his remarkable career, it is no surprise that he wishes only to “continue living a simple life” and never to stop learning about his craft.