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Timeless Designs

Renowned designer Criselda Lontok mesmerizes with her mark of luxury and elegance in her holiday collection


By Alex Y. Vergara


  • Criselda Lontok celebrates her 34th year with an extravagant collection

  • April Tanhueco

  • Mia Borromeo

  • Dina Tantoco

  • Patricia Prieto

  • Erica Concepcion-Reyes

  • Marilu Batchelor

  • Paulette Quinto

  • Models walk the runway in Lontok’s elegant and whimsical “Life in Bloom” holiday collection

  • Models walk the runway in Lontok’s elegant and whimsical “Life in Bloom” holiday collection

  • Models walk the runway in Lontok’s elegant and whimsical “Life in Bloom” holiday collection

  • Models walk the runway in Lontok’s elegant and whimsical “Life in Bloom” holiday collection

  • Linda Ley

    For the first time since debuting as one of Rustan’s womenswear designers 34 years ago, Criselda Lontok is now offering clients dresses as small as size 6. If there’s one thing this development proves, the veteran designer’s clientele is getting either younger or slimmer, or both.

    Lontok, known for her soft, feminine dresses, gowns, and separates in bright colors, figure-friendly silhouettes, and floral embellishments and motifs, recently showed her 60-piece holiday collection at Rustan’s Makati.

    To prove that her designs work with slim, statuesque mannequins, as well as real women, the designer tapped both professional models and society muses to model her clothes. They included Mia Borromeo, Bettina Osmeña, Marivic Vasquez, Linda Ley, Toni Abad, Patricia Prieto, Marilu Batchelor, and Dina Tantoco.

    “I drew a great deal of inspiration from nature by incorporating such elements as ruffles that mimic waves,” said the ageless Lontok. “Of course, my signature element consisting of blooms in various shapes, sizes, colors, and interpretations is still very much present.”

    She relied heavily on materials such as Mikado silk, organza, and lace in colors like crimson, vibrant jewel tones, and various shades of deep pink, as well as neutrals like black and cream. Some were dusted with a sprinkle of sparkle, while others were enhanced with floral appliqués and embellishments.

    Her clothes, she said, are “basically classic looks and silhouettes” that she tries to tweak with new or seldom used elements. For her recent show, for example, Lontok resorted to various ways to use ruffles on sleeves and hems of blouses and dresses.

    She also did some layering in looks that put together basic tops with tailored and semi-printed jackets, and shift dresses with lacy swing coats. In another attempt to appeal to a younger clientele, she deliberately juxtaposed silhouettes and proportions. A number of uneven tops, for instance, were cropped in front.

    It has been no secret that Lontok is the go-to designer of more mature women who want timeless, figure-flattering looks that work from day to night. But through the decades, this hasn’t stopped younger women from trooping to Rustan’s to buy her clothes.

    “Yes, a lot of these looks could work for younger women,” she declared. “This collection, for instance, features a number of sleeveless and shoulder-baring dresses for younger women who can easily get away with it, as well as older women who take care of their bodies.”

    Apart from her versatility, the collection, which featured a number of long evening dresses, also showed the seasoned Lontok’s eye for detail and depth of experience. Whereas a newbie designer might channel influences from previous decades with obvious effort, Lontok was able to manage it seamlessly and with subtlety by borrowing various nuances—sometimes all at the same time—from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even 90s.

    This she did with a close eye on her market of women who want to look chic and timeless while celebrating their femininity.


    The Criselda Lontok Holiday 2017 collection is now available at Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-La Plaza, Alabang Town Center, Gateway Mall, and Ayala Center Cebu.

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