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First Lady of Fashion


By Tina Hidalgo Jacinto

At the recent presentation of fashion’s first lady Criselda Lontok’s holiday 2017 collection, the stylish designer was lauded for her exquisitely feminine ensembles in eye-popping flowers, bold colors, ruffles, and feminine shapes. It’s a style Criselda has honed to perfection over the years, and her creations have given rise to a cult-like following.  Held at The Gallerie, 2nd level of Rustan’s Makati, the event drew a high profile and diverse crowd, led by Rustan’s top honchos, Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco, Nedy Tantoco, Marilen Tantoco, and Donnie Tantoco, as well as friends, mothers and daughters, and loyal customers.

The fashionable Criselda has dressed the crème de la crème of Philippine society. The ready-to-wear collection reflects her signature style and, as such, evokes timeless elegance. For decades, Criselda Lontok has been Rustan’s top seller and she continues to this day. Regarding her inspiration, she said: “My inspiration is derived from nature as a whole—the flowers, the sea, and the fresh air that we breathe. The pieces flounce and flow like a beautiful peacock. It is basically dominated by flowers and ruffles lantern sleeves that give the illusion of fluidity.”

  • Woman of the hour Criselda Lontok has stayed true to her exquisitely feminine aesthetics

  • From Criselda Lontok’s holiday 2017 collection

  • Criselda Lontok hands over the grand prize worth R115,000, a caviar spectaculaire unecreation of Baccarat – La Prairie to the author. With them were, from left, Allano Montelibano, Mia Borromeo, Marilu Batchelor (partly hidden) Marivic Vazquez, and Linda Ley.

  • Monina Arnaldo

  • Olga Martel

  • Chit Salud, Brenda Reyes, and Chit Dee

  • Baby Antonio and Carrie Bautista

  • Linda Panlilio, Boling Tuason, Mayda Prieto, and Menchu Concepcion

  • Marites Pineda and Letty Syquia

  • Connie Haw

  • Tina Carlos and Marga Ortigas

  • Ofie Recto, Nene Leonor, and Nini Licaros

  • Odette Ong, Ditas Lerma, and Maritess Lopez

  • Vicky Zubiri and Olivia Romulo

  • Mita Rufino, Consul Evie Costa, Hera Geriene, Glecy Mojares, and Carlo Rojas

  • Consul Fortune Ledesma and Nympha Valencia

  • Baby Yulo, Lita Revilla, Amy Pascual, and Dolly Galang

  • Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. and Nedy Tantoco, 4th and 3rd from left, with Paolo Tantoco, Marilen Tantoco, and Donnie Tantoco.

    Criselda’s charismatic persona and approachability have earned her legions of adoring fans. Her clothes are perfect for day to evening wear and are priced affordably. Her advice to designer Millennials: “Hard work, dedication, and passion. You have to study your clients and come out with styles not only in keeping with the trends, but also appeal to them.” She maintains an optimistic attitude saying that our fashion designers can now be compared to Hong Kong designers who are very good.  She says there is no way to go but forward.

    Cool and focused, the lady of the hour annotated her fashion show, describing each group of clothing, offering an array of visually dramatic uses of materials—the organza, Mikado, boucles, and brocade. She challenged the floral look by presenting lush images on feminine frocks, which yielded a striking, graphic effect. Ten guest models added to the show’s glamour. These models were Marivic Vasquez, Mia Borromeo, Linda Ley, Allana Montelibano, Dina Tantoco, Bettina Osmeña, Marilu Batchelor, Erica Concepcion Reyes, Patricia Prieto, and Toni Abad.

    After the fashion show, the celebrated designer announced a surprise grand raffle. The festivities were anything but ordinary, and I was exuberant to find out that my name was being called as the lucky winner of a caviar spectaculaire unecreation of Baccarat-La Prairie, Switzerland, a R115,000 Baccarat caviar crystal with a skin caviar luxe cream. Now, who doesn’t need age-defying treatment and a caviar crystal?

    Sponsors of the event were: La Prairie, Laura Mercier, and Nars and the occasion was for the benefit of Don Bosco Youth Center, Inc. Criselda Lontok is available at all Rustan’s stores, including Rustan’s Cebu. The delicious bites were from Millie Reyes of The Plaza.; Facebook/tinahidalgojacinto

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