DAYDREAMER

Min­audière de­signer Neil Felipp’s life in mini

Cebu Living - - Front Page - By DENISE DANIELLE AL­CAN­TARA Images by ER­WIN LIM

“My mom pur­chased a bag that I didn’t like so I told her that I’ll make her one,” says minaudiére de­signer Neil Felipp San Pe­dro. He first delved into de­sign al­most 10 years ago when he en­rolled at the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines- Cebu to take up in­dus­trial de­sign. There, he went through all the cour­ses re­quired to fin­ish his de­gree, from fash­ion ap­parel to fur­ni­ture de­sign and home accessories.

San Pe­dro is no stranger to crafts as his fam­ily owns Suarez and Sons, Inc., the lead­ing man­u­fac­turer and re­tailer of the renowned class rings and metal crafts in Cebu. He chose brass as his sig­na­ture ma­te­rial to work with, first for jew­elry and now for minaudiéres. A fash­ion ac­ces­sory that’s also of­ten con­sid­ered as a piece of jew­elry but with a more util­i­tar­ian func­tion, the minaudiére turned out to ap­peal to San Pe­dro more.

When he was still con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing his brand, his men­tor Ken­neth Cobon­pue asked San Pe­dro an im­por­tant ques­tion: “How do you see the world?” Now, he an­swers, “I see the world like a kid. I love to see the end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties, like in a con­stant trance of day­dream­ing.”

His first creation was called Siren, an homage to some of his first child­hood memories, such as the first time he watched the an­i­mated film The Lit­tle Mer­maid. “It’s easy to make or de­sign some­thing that you re­ally per­son­ally love,” he af­firms. Know­ing that his strength as a de­signer lies in his sto­ry­telling, he cre­ates ob­jects of fan­tasy and won­der, each one crafted in an el­e­gant man­ner. “It’s the story that is the soul of each bag. That’s where peo­ple [are able to] con­nect them­selves with, mak­ing them en­joy the item even more.”

He fur­ther pushed the bound­aries of his imag­i­na­tion by cre­at­ing new sto­ries out of Greek mythol­ogy, his­tory, and chil­dren’s books. His win­ning piece for the Look of Style Awards 2013 is ti­tled Me­dusa and Mi­das. “It’s a sur­real love story where Me­dusa and Mi­das meet and fall in love. Liv­ing with [their re­spec­tive] curses, they de­cided to come to­gether in a deadly em­brace. Though Me­dusa turns to gold while Mi­das turns to stone, their lips are for­ever in a kiss,” he ex­plains.

His cre­ations have caught the eye of a Sin­ga­porean nov­el­ist, whose world-fa­mous novel is set for a film adap­ta­tion; it is said that some of his minaudières will be used in the movie. Apart from this huge coup in his young ca­reer, the 27-year-old has worked double-time in launch­ing his lat­est col­lec­tion in Shangri-La Mac­tan last May.

Fur­ther col­lab­o­ra­tions with lo­cal brands and ex­plor­ing dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als are some plans that his clients can look for­ward to this year. “If we cre­ate suc­cess, we want to cre­ate in­clu­sive growth with our fel­low de­sign­ers and com­mu­ni­ties,” San Pe­dro says.

His brand Neil Felipp has grown into global brand in a mat­ter of seven years. As he still has more sto­ries to tell, San Pe­dro is poised to make his mark soon in glob­alNew York and Paris.

NEIL FELIPP SAN PE­DRO CULLS MOST OF HIS IN­SPI­RA­TIONS FROM LIT­ER­A­TURE. WHILE

THELITTLEMERMAID IS HIS MUSE FOR SIREN, AN­TOINETTE THE MAD IS REM­I­NIS­CENT OF

MARIE AN­TOINETTE (RIGHT) AND PERSEPHONE (EX­TREME RIGHT) TAKES CUES

FROM GREEK MYTHOL­OGY.

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