Monday, January 2, 2012

Michael Cinco Does Eco-couture for Tyra Banks and Dresses up Royals’ Pets

Michael Cinco, another Dubai-based Philippine Fashion designer, was featured twice on the popular America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) last year—as guest designer in Cycle 16 early in the year, and as finale designer in the last quarter’s Cycle 17 ANTM All-Stars. After about a decade in the Gulf, Samar-born Michael, a fine arts scholar of the University of the Philippines, is moving into the international limelight. He shares how he got on the ANTM show.
“One of the producers of ANTM Cycle 16 is a Filipino. His name is Michael Carandang, and he contacted me via Facebook. I submitted my designs and he showed them to Tyra Banks. My clothes were made out of recycled materials. [My episode was] shot in a landfill by Nigel Barker.” “Tyra Banks asked me to create haute couture pieces from recycled materials for ANTM. After that shoot, I found out that I could use things that we usually throw out as beautiful ornaments on couture dresses that look like expensive gemstones.” He has worked with recycled materials such as rubber bands, broken mirrors, and garbage bags. “I recycle them into fabulous haute couture pieces. I want people to be aware that they can create beautiful pieces from garbage,” he expressed.
Michael’s second ANTM episode was shot in Greece. It also featured the Filipino clothing brand Bench and international model, Georgina Wilson. “I was so happy when I learned that other Filipinos were in Greece for the shoot. The ANTM staff was in awe of Georgina Wilson’s beauty… It made me so proud to be a Filipino.” “To be chosen as the final runway designer like Roberto Cavalli and Vivienne Westwood is one of the biggest achievements in my career,” he added.
“I stayed for almost a month in Greece. We did the shoot last June. Aside from the final runway, I did the clothes for the motion editorials and the shoot with the remaining finalists directed by Tyra Banks.  They asked me to create the designs for the six remaining finalists. The clothes were done in two days… I was so inspired from the place that I made the designs for my collection in my Red Cross Show in Shangri-La Hotel Makati last October, my solo show, and Slim’s show in Philippine Fashion Week, also last October.”
Michael has been in the Middle East since 1997. “Dubai is a melting pot in the Middle East. You usually experience racial discrimination anywhere in this world. Most of my clients are women from the Gulf area. At first I had clients who had doubts about me because of my nationality. But the moment I am able to convince them with the beautiful creations I make for them, they become confident. “Women in Dubai love haute couture. I think the best flagship stores by the top designers in the world can be found here. They travel a lot and most of them are educated abroad so they are updated with the latest trends in fashion,” he commented.
 “My dream is to dress up Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett in a red carpet event,” he said when asked who his dream clients may be. Cinco is now the creative director of Michael Cinco Haute Couture in Dubai that specializes in wedding gowns and evening dresses. “It’s a dream come true,” he says. When asked about the Philippine fashion scene, he replies: “It’s going global.”
Cinco also designs other clothes apart from wedding or evening gowns. “I have clients from the royal family who love exotic animals as their pets. One princess asked me to dress up her leopard pet in animal print, another one asked me to make a cat suit for her python, and yet another client inquired if I could do crystallized clothes for a chimpanzee,” he reveals. “I don’t know if I’ll still be “normal” after that,” he jokes.

"Dream great dreams. Believe in yourself and in God. Believe that impalpable dreams do come true.” - Michael Cinco
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