Celebrating 30 illustrious years in the industry, prolific designer, Randy Ortiz, puts on a milestone of a show to encapsulate his tireless tenure, talent and tenacity in local fashion.
The first thing we notice is clinding bright orange suit being gussied on a Towering model. Even with his back turned against the light, the shade of orange is powerful, but not violating. In fact, it prods us to close in for a detailed inspection. Running our fingers along the well-fitted suit, we realize that this isn’t made of a typical blazer material like say, wool but rather a fine neoprene that has been layered together. Engrossed with this piece, we almost fail to notice the gleaming pair of eyes and a bright smile that is standing next to us, the man responsible for the piece himself, the indefatigable Randy Ortiz.
“I wanted to have fun!” he says with a burst of hearty laughter. “I was toying with the idea of showing the more classic side to my design, the one that everyone is familiar with but I thought, why not show a different side instead?” The result is a sprightly mix of signature prints, bright and rich colors and of course, the not-to- be-missed impeccable tailoring he is known for. “I want to show them that my aesthetic can be young and spirited but still classic,” he finishes.
In The Beginning
Randy Ortiz gained prominence in the early ‘90s when as a young designer his clothes were a fashion staple at local retail pioneer, Sari- Sari Store. With this venture into ladies wear, he became an instant hit with Manila’s stylish set flocking to him for dazzling and exciting pieces.
It comes to no wonder that a wide range of women find a kinship to this humble designer. With an admitted fascination for icons of understated glamour, Audrey Hepburn, Lady Diana and Jackie O. and his mother, there lies a quiet sense of power running through the threads of his designs.
However, it is with menswear that Randy Ortiz solidified his place in the industry. His mixture of prints and colors gave the traditional male a new way to dress, and at the time, it was what the men needed—atypical yet still masculine. He has since been the go-to designer for many would be wed couples (including this writer’s mother and father), politicians and celebrities.
Last year proved to be a very special year for Randy Ortiz as he added another milestone to his storied career—a tribute gala of his impressive 20 years in fashion. It was a reaffirmation of his uncontested mastery of fashion design in menswear, as well as womenswear. It was a triumphant turn on the runway, with the company of his most beloved clients, trusted friends and fans of his work.
“It’s very important to be reinventing, even at my age of 25,” jokes Randy. “But seriously,” he says, “I study the market. I observe how the men dress. They are pushing boundaries more, but it’s still very lalaki (masculine).” Recognizing that the current fashion landscape is very dynamic, competitive and creative, Randy still does his homework with a specific market in mind. This is why his clothes are very consistent yet exciting at the same time. “The design concept is still the same but it is how
it is translated for the times in terms of silhouette and detail,” he says. This constant evolution is the secret to his longevity as a designer.
And it is true; his older clients will find the same appreciation for the red zip-up jacket paired with a textured pair of trousers finished in red and gold as a younger man would. Other notable standouts include the deep green neoprene pullover with an embroidered butterfly across the chest. This isn’t to say that the classics that Randy is known for is lost in his Holiday collection. On the contrary, grounding his spirited prints and bold color choices are structured blazers in textured black and a long coat with a splash of muted block of deep green to break its monotony.
And then there is that orange coat. “It was one of the last ones I designed. This color might just give birth to more pieces. Who knows?” he says in passing. We are intrigued.
If this is any indication of the new direction for Randy Ortiz, then we are in for an even brighter future because clearly, he has set the standard.