by Maggie F. Francisco
“The Criselda woman is and will always be about quality, elegance, and style,” says esteemed Filipino design icon Criselda Lontok when asked about her 35th year in the fashion industry. With the ever-changing landscape of fashion, the model-turned-designer has remained true to her brand, Criselda. She shares, “If you continue to be a purveyor of quality and classy styles, you will never lose your way. This is what Criselda has done in the past 35 years.”
Last August 2, Criselda Lontok celebrated an important milestone in her career by staging a fashion show featuring her Holiday 2018 collection at The Peninsula Manila’s Rigodon Ballroom. Briefly describing her collection, Lontok says that it is “about reinvention and new directions. We have new structural designs combined with classic styles that would catch the fancy of most Gen X-ers and the Xennials.”
The collection was a breathtaking assembly of designs that included statement pieces—from Maria Clara-inspired tops with contemporary structures to evening
gowns that give a modern twist to traditional silhouettes. Each piece evoked oohs and aahs from the audience with its bright colors and beautiful prints. The timeless
collection was indeed made for the Criselda woman—a woman of beauty, style, and femininity. Some of the Criselda women who walked down the runway were Tessa Valdes, Audrey Tan-Zubiri, Dina Tantoco, Stepanie Zubiri-Crespi, Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, Mia Borromeo, Zelda Kienle, Frannie Jacinto, and Linda Ley.
Undoubtedly, the brand has evolved in the past 35 years and has held its own despite a very competitive and dynamic industry. Lontok recalls her work as Rustan’s in-house designer by offering classic ready-to-wear pieces. Working under the tutelage of Rustan’s matriarch and founder Gliceria Rustia-Tantoco, Lontok has widened her style, eventually integrating long gowns for various occasions. “I’m proud to say that it has continued to reap success through the years, perhaps because we have found our niche in the market,” she adds.
As she celebrates this milestone, Lontok boldly looks forward to the next generation of Criselda women. “We are starting to produce youthful styles that cater to the younger market, while maintaining the classic Criselda aesthetic,” she reveals. “It will be a very ambitious plan growing the brand but anything is possible, right?”
Now, the designer is proud and happy that her clientele already includes many Gen X-ers.
“The most precious lesson I learned all these years as a designer is that style and comfort should never be a paradox but a fusion. Customer satisfaction should be first and foremost together with the elegance and practicality of the designs,” she states.
Criselda Lontok Holiday 2018 collection available first week of September at Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-La Plaza, Alabang Town Center, Gateway Mall, and Ayala Center Cebu