THE MOST ACCLAIMED
Ramon Felix Totengco, who grew up in Bacolod City Philippines, is more popularly known as Rafé (pronoun-ced as in café) – a New York-based Fi-lipino fashion designer specializing in high-end women’s handbags, quality leather goods, men’s bags, shoes and other fashion accessories. Since the 1990s, Rafé has garnered a number of awards for his namesake designs and has parleyed his creative design out-puts through a string of collections at selected leading U.S. boutiques. His brand enjoys a strong and loyal following.
Skilled in balancing style and function, Rafé blends uptown sophistication with a downtown edge to create accessories that his loyal fans say never go out of style. As a sought-after designer he knows how to provide and meld quality, style, comfort and function. Every season the Rafé collection is fresh and exciting, always crafted using the finest materials and techniques under Rafé’s high standards and fierce attention to detail.
The Rafé brand has increased distribution to a wide range of fine outlets in-ternationally, and expanded into other accessory categories. Drawing on his unique talents, multicultural background, and eclectic inspirations, Rafé has become one of the most acclaimed of a new generation of Filipino-American international fashion designers. His success and fulfilment springs from his passion about people, and his desire to bring joy and satisfaction to each one of his customers as a valued friend. These days, Rafé is looked up to as a fashion designer to emulate by many young and aspiring fashion designers, which brings us to the next related topic.
NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE
In 1987, Nelson city sculptor Suzie Moncrieff, needed a concept to promote the William Higgins gallery in Wakefield. Suzie’s idea was to take art off the wall and have it adorn the human form. She envisioned artists and designers creating wearable art, and then exhibiting those interpretations on stage in a dramatic setting. This fresh idea had never been done before, and the result was more than a promotion; it was a mesmerizing, unforgettable performance. Thus was born what is today known as the World of WearableArt or WOW®.
Suzie’s journey is a story about a successful and creative Nelson business that just happens to stage an annual event in Wellington for the eighth year running – a business about to celebrate its 24th anniversary, and which has had undoubt-edly a huge economic impact for the region because there is nothing like it yet in the world. If there is anything close to describing it, we’d say it is a glorious rebellion against the mundane.
It is a spectacular visual event that brilliantly translates settings by use of superb music, specially-sequenced lighting and cleverly introduced elements of move-ment. Michael Peschardt, a BBC correspondent has observed, “I’ve seen major cultural and fashion shows around the world and this is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before.”
During performances, audiences truly appreciate the intricate detailing of some exquisite garments and other incredible creations. People who have experienced WoW shows come away amazed as they step away from a world where art and the human form combine, where music, dance and lighting tell a story of the body as a canvass, where lines of fashion and art magically blur and merge as one. It is an entertainment extravaganza.
Watch The Video
This video clip has been originally published in the website of World of WearableArt™ and is intellectual property that belongs to them which is used to promote their shows in the public domain and on the World Wide Web. By displaying a computer-generated copy on this web page it is acknowledged that all their rights as owners are reserved.
While cities around the world are competing to attract new businesses as well as the brightest of young professionals, winners of this race will be those commu-nities that offer an abundance of arts and cultural experience opportunities. As they flourish, so will creativity in design and innovation – the fuel that drives our national economy.
For many years, New Zealand has styled itself as a creative country and interest-ingly enough, the WOW audience has been maintained at around 40% from Wellington and 60% from other cities across the two main islands. It remains a strong draw-card for visitors in larger population centres because of the advan-tages that come when developing an event to the scale that WOW® shows have be-come.
Unlike most industries, cultural and arts organisations provide leverage for a signi-ficant amount of event-related spending by its audiences. For example, when pa-trons attend a cultural or arts-related event or activity, they may pay to park their car in a nearby parking lot or garage, purchase dinner at a restaurant before showing up, eat dessert somewhere afterwards, and pay a babysitter upon their return home. This spending gene-rates related commerce for local businesses.
Even with that said, people are often surprised when they hear WOW® events are still managed in Nelson City by World of WearableArt Ltd. The company normally maintains about 10 full-time and part-time staff in Nelson to work on the shows all year round and several more closer to show time.
A GRAND EXTRAVAGANZA
WOW® is now an annual global event on New Zealand soil and attracts de-signers, media and art aficionados every year from all over the world including the USA, UK, Australia, India, Japan, Thailand, Germany, The Netherlands, Israel, Fiji, Canada and New Zealand. Selected artists, along with 400 cast and crew collaborate to create a fresh spectacular every September. WOW® mini shows have also travelled to Dubai, Japan, India, Singapore, Thailand and Aus-tralia.
The success of WOW® has always been dependent on new designers partici-pating and a local pool of talent is growing as more and more people in other countries are discovering it. This is why Filipinos in Hamilton is featuring this story because, as a growing ethnic community of people with a long tradition for flair in fashion and design expressions, it represents an opportunity for our creative members to flourish in our adopted country and also gain international recognition.
To describe the Brancott Estate World of WearableArt™ Annual Awards Show as a costume competition doesn’t quite capture the experience of actually seeing the performance in person, but that’s what it is in essence, with prize money at stake. It is, after all, one of the most prestigious art and fashion competitions on the planet. The inspiring works of art are choreographed into an amazing stage show ﬁlled with music, dance, comedy, extraordinary sets and state-of-the-art lighting displays. This year’s show (from August 25 to September 10) features the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and a unique celebration of Kiwi icons.
An overview of the entry process and the benefits of entering the Brancott Estate World of WearableArt™ Awards Show can be accessed through this link. You can also browse through some pages of past years’ winners here. 2012 Entries open 1st of December 2011.