Michael Cinco and His Paris Dream
By Lalaine Chu-Benitez
Photo courtesy of Couturissimo and Now Fashion
Nine years ago, before the red carpet dresses for Hollywood A-listers, before the million peso dresses became the talk of the fashion industry back home, before his Breakthrough Designer Award at the WGSN Global Fashion Award in New York, the standing ovations on the runways of Dubai, Manila, Australia, America’s Next Top Model and his induction to the Asian Couture Federation, the designer with the ‘impalpable dream’ (a phrase he coined and popularized), during our shoot for his first fashion editorial in Illustrado, enthusiastically shared his ultimate dream – that of having his very own show in Paris.
And as if the universe conspired, lo and behold, here comes Michael mounting his first show at the heart of haute couture. In partnership with the Asian Couture Federation (ACF), and with the support and assistance of the French Government, the designer presented to key fashion industry personalities at the Jardin Tuileries, on the 3rd of July 2016.
Michael who shed tears of joy during his landmark show gushed, “Paris is love. It is the realization of an impalpable dream. Every designer worth his salt, dreams to showcase his collection in Paris, the fashion capital of the world.”
He recalls, “My first venture in Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week was quite unique and unnerving. Through the ACF, I was asked to present two collections in one show – my ‘impalpable’ haute couture line and one for Couturissimo, the retail arm of ACF that aims to market my luxe couture-inspired line globally.” He proceeds to explain, “It was indeed challenging as I wanted a collection that is reflective of my Filipino heritage and yet transcending barriers and therefore, of strong global appeal.”
Indeed, Michael’s Paris debut wasn’t only a win for the himself and the rest of the Filipino design community, he also used the opportunity to put Philippine aesthetics to the fore utilizing the banig, barong, calado, solihiya, and terno as the basis for the design elements featured so lavishly, but delicately, on his pieces.
As the first Filipino to have a haute couture show in Paris, Michael appreciates how his achievement is a milestone that is shared with the rest of the Filipino design community, “It was both an exhilarating and a humbling experience to be at the forefront on behalf of all my compatriot designers, who equally work hard and dream big.” He is careful to add, “But it is a doable feat for as long as you have the dedication and the passion and the resolve to be on top of your game and work hard to prove it. This is just the beginning.”
Staying grounded, but always ambitious through the years, Michael shares of his success, “I owe whatever success I have to my faith in God, to my family who continually inspire me and to my hardworking and dedicated workforce.” He continues, “I am a work in progress. I constantly work at where I am and to where I intend to be. I believe one has to have an endless hunger for knowledge and an unquenchable quest for what is beautiful and inspiring. And for as long as I am happy with what I am doing, I am a success.”
The designer with the impalpable dream – now a dream realized, also has this to share with aspiring designers, “The glitz and glam of fashion is hollow if not altogether a myth. You have to be grounded, be humble, be on your toes and keep an open mind. And for one to be successful in this business, one has to be always inspired and see the world in all its dimensions and multi-colors. I always do, in my dark glasses.”
Editor-in-Chief “almost superwoman” Lalaine has been driving Illustrado’s mission to uplift Filipinos in the region for almost a decade now. A former corporate dynamo living in Dubai for over 20 years, her natural knack for marketing and mass communications makes her a formidable authority in any dialogue regarding the re-branding of the Filipino image on a global scale.