Thursday, April 7, 2011


In November of 2010, I got a call from YUE SAI KAN,  (China’s Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, Estee Lauder rolled into one) who asked me for a Filipino designer to compete in the International Fashion Designer Award Category of China Fashion Awards.  This prestigious event gives awards to outstanding personalities in various categories.  Yue Sai Kan received the Lifetime Achievement Award a few years ago. Past awardees in the Fashion Design category included some high powered designers like Diane von Furstenburg, Vera Wang, Anna Sui to name a few.

I watched Cary Santiago’s Aviary and Bridal Collection  and I was impressed by it.   I sent his Profile and his collection to the powers that be in Shanghai and a week later I received a call to bring the collection to Shanghai. 

Part of Cary Santiago’s impressive collection which was shown in Shanghai

We were a party of six that arrived in Shanghai shortly before lunch. We had 40 pieces of luggage- Santiago’s collection with matching shoes and accessories plus our own personal pieces.  We were billeted at the Radisson Pudong, a modern hotel that is close to the Himalayas Center, the venue of the show.  

At 3 PM, Tun Tun, our 17 year old interpreter, tour guide, and assistant, was taking us to the Himalayas Center, a behemoth RMB 2.4 Billion development by the Zendai Group.  The Himalayas Center is called the “archisculptural” icon for 21st Century China as it will house two luxury hotels, a shopping mall, a theater, an auditorium, an art museum and office spaces.  The huge auditorium which has a capacity of 1600 seats was the site of the Awards Night the next day. Young Channel was airing it all over China.  This day was general rehearsals day. 

Cecile Infatado and I pose in the Radisson’s ultra modern Chinese restaurant with a scenic view of the city.

The group enjoying a Chinese lunch in Radisson Pudong. Tun Tun, in a baseball cap, is a 17 year old boy who can speak English, assigned to accompany us as our interpreter and tour guide.

The Young Channel belongs to the SMG (Shanghai Media group) which has 15 TV channels, 11 radio channels and some newspapers and magazines under their banner.

The whole afternoon was spent fitting the 30 statuesque models and teaching them how to model Santiago’s creations. The general rehearsal of the entire show lasted till midnight.  

Fitting the models and training them to walk in Cary’s creations took most of Day 1 

Santiago, Ian, Wendell and Doro experiment on this headdress 

Exquisite creations on statuesque models

We were all nerves on the day of the show even if we had a lot of helpers backstage. The TV station gave us 20 yayas to help dress up the 30 models.  The show went on without a hitch and all that hard work paid off when Cary Santiago was announced the winner of the International Designer of the Year. He walked on stage accompanied by two of his supermodels while I was choking with emotion trying to ward off tears that were rolling down my cheeks.  More power to Cary Santiago, he did his country proud!  

An emotional Santiago clasps his crystal trophy for Outstanding  Fashion Designer of the Year Award 

Backstage-- The winning team, Ian Kintanar, Cecile Infantado, Cary Santiago, Doro Barandino and Wendell Quisido pose with Karolina Korkova who was awarded Outstanding International Supermodel of the year award. 

Cecile Infantado and I pose with KK, who towers over us.  She complimented my red cape which was done by classic haute couture Filipino designer, Auggie Cordero

from right to left- China’s biggest Star of them all, Yue Sai Kan, poses with lovely actress Fan Bing Bing, international super model winner Karolina Korkova, and executives of Shanghai Media Group. 

China’s Supermodel in one of the most intricate collection numbers

The artistry of Santiago’s details is truly haute couture; the pleats on this gown are all hand sewn and have no seams on the side

LIHONG,  Young Channel TV Executive celebrated with us after the show in the cocktail lounge of our hotel 

Well deserved Celebration after the show at Radisson Hotel’s cocktail lounge


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