Legacy – Christina Barrientos
Before Dubai became known as the fashion capital of the Middle East, before designers received adulation in the region and abroad, one Filipina established a respected atelier that made a stylish mark in the emirates.
Christina Barrientos founded The Mayflower in 1991 when the fashion landscape was dominated by western labels and only a handful of local houses. Specializing in elegant wedding gowns, The Mayflower was the toast of the Dubai elite during its time. In 1996, Christina also started off the trend of hat making for the Dubai World Cup Horse Races – where the most well-heeled of women would wear The Mayflower’s millinery with pride.
Christina was also the first to put forward Filipino faces and talents within the local mainstream industry, with her yearly catalogs shot by legendary Filipino photographer Jun de Leon featuring supermodels Abbygale Arenas and Betina Barrientos, with celebrated hair and make-up artists Fanny Serrano, Patrick Rosas, Henry Calayag and Lito Salvador conceptualizing each and every look. In 1999, they staged a charity fashion show attended by 800 Emirati and expat women for the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, at the renowned Sharjah Ladies Club.
By standing out in an industry untapped by Filipinos in the country back then, she has paved the way for other Filipinos, providing not only opportunities but, most importantly representation underlining the reputation of Filipinos as exceptional and world-class talents in the world of fashion.
“We are more than our circumstances,” she says. “We can achieve heights we have only dreamed of if we set our hearts and minds in the right direction.”