For any new fashion designer, creating a grand collection for Red Charity Gala, one of the country’s biggest fashion gala for a cause, can be daunting. This is most especially true as , leading figures in society, fashion, business, and philanthropy come together
But for Manila’s master couturier Chito Vijandre—whose more than 30-year career has taken him from fashion to interior design—the task is anything but intimidating. In fact, Vijandre is preparing to showcase a 40-piece haute couture Filipiniana collection all for the benefit of Red Charity Gala’s two worthwhile beneficiaries, the Philippine Red Cross and the Assumption High School Batch 1981 Foundation.
As the honoree designer, Vijandre’s fresh capsule collection will be the gala’s pièce de résistance in accordance with Red Charity Gala’s tradition. He will be following the footsteps of equally talented and world-renowned previous honoree designers namely Dennis Lustico (2009), Furne One (2010), Michael Cinco (2011), Cary Santiago (2012), Ezra Santos (2013), Jojie Lloren (2014) and Lesley Mobo (2015).
From an early age, Chito Vijandre had already exhibited nascent artistic abilities, always going against the grain, gaining school recognition and awards in art competitions here and abroad, including participation in the Mexico Olympics where he represented the Philippines in its prestigious art forum.
He then parlayed his talents into the glamorous world of fashion, enrolling in the ’70s at the Slim’s Fashion and Art School founded by the inimitable Salvador Lim Higgins. His highly original and refined designs easily gained him recognition and acclaim from Manila’s fashionable set, where he dressed the most stylish and elegant women, including the likes of La Divina Chona Kasten Recto and Tingting Cojuangco. By the young age of 20, at a time when lunchtime fashion shows were all the rage, he already mounted his first one-man show at the famed La Concha at the Hyatt.
One of his collections that took the local fashion scene by storm—which up to this day draws accolades from those who remember—were his fully beaded flapper gowns, painstakingly made from glass beads from a Masai necklace.
In an almost natural progression, Chito would then channel his creative energies to interior design, designing homes, boutiques and restaurants. Together with his partner Ricky Toledo, he founded the landmark concept store Firma, purveyor of home accents, jewelry and objet d’art, and later, AC+632 which is located at Greenbelt 5.
The revelation of Vijandre’s reimagined and reconfigured Filipinianas at the Red Charity Gala is slated on October 8, 7 p.m. at the Shangri-La Hotel The Fort.