Minaudière designer Neil Felipp’s life in mini
“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.