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Fitness inspires Rajo Laurel's new collection


Fashion designer Rajo Laurel has a new passion: health and wellness. And his workout sessions brought sportswear to his attention that it wasn’t long before he married this new passion with his designs.   
Sports meets glam in Rajo Laurel's new Athletenique collection Photos courtesy of House of Laurel.
The result is Athletenique, Laurel’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection under the House of Laurel, which espouses the designer’s current philosophy—fitness is fashion. 
 
This jives with the current sportswear trend visible in the Spring/Summer 2012 collections of designers like Stella McCartney as shown on the international runways.
 
To make his sportswear-inspired collection current, Laurel used rich fabrics and vibrant prints, and projected luxury, making it all very Rajo.
 
“Athletenique” is a combination of the words “athletic” and “ethnic”. Laurel says it is “a fusion of the abstract aspects of ethnic prints and the spirit of sportswear. You will see sportswear-oriented pieces mixed with nuanced tribal influences coming from the patterns of the fabrics, plus a dose of modern tribal accessories adding the needed spice and spin to the collection.”
 
Rich fabrics and vibrant prints characterize Athletenique.
The materials for this collection range from the beloved jersey to an exquisite perforated leather suede. The collection showcases a multitude of prints, sporty cotton knits and high-quality nylons. Beautiful garters in different colors were used for straps and trims, including functional cargo buckles for closure. 
 
The colors featured this season are delicious shades of mint and pear, a vibrant orange and magenta, canary, sea blues and a bevy of yummy neutrals—basically shades that are very well-lit and joyous. 
 
“I'm sure the House of Laurel client will be very pleased,” the designer says.
 
And though Laurel joins the bandwagon of international designers banking on the sportswear trend, he assures that this collection still has elements that are undeniably Rajo. “The amalgamation of inspiration for this collection is a bit more off-tangent than usual, I'd have to admit, but the end result is distinctly our own,” the designer admits. 
 
The pieces promise to retain the elegance and chic that past collections of the House of Laurel have been known to deliver. The elements of sports and the vibrancy of print are brought together so seamlessly, the pieces lend itself a unique kind of appeal.
 
Athletenique is not only limited to the women’s line. Rajo Man, the fashion house’s men’s line, also carries the collection. 
Natural fabrics were used for the children's line to make the clothes child-friendly.
Rajo Man took more of the sportswear direction and is bringing chic nylon jackets to the fore with athletic mesh trims. They are more versatile and can lend themselves to both day and night, depending entirely on the styling. Their jackets also veer away from the usual neutrals and have carried on the play of colors, a very summer approach for the fashion-forward guy.
 
Rajito, the children’s line of the House of Laurel, also imbibed the Athletenique spirit in an age appropriate setting. Natural materials were used for Rajito which enable the clothes to breathe and be weather friendly for summer. 
 
The children’s collection boasts of lovely details like pleating, color blocking and print mixes. “We personally test drove the designs with my own nieces, and trust me when I say that my nieces take FASHION very seriously. We took note of what they liked and what they did not like, and also took into major consideration the comfort factor—meaning, they are child savvy and very child friendly,” Laurel revealed in his blog.
 
And to round out the Athletenique collection, Laurel used the same energy for his designs for Rags2Riches bags. Laurel is among Rags2Riches Inc.’s pioneer designers, creating eco-ethical fashion using scrap cloth, organic and indigenous materials that are then worked on by women from poor communities across the Philippines.
 
“This project is really meaningful as it helps so many people lead and live better lives,” Laurel says, referring to the 450 women that Rags2Riches has already empowered.
 
Recycled fabric gets a chic look in this clutch bag for Rags2Riches.
Totes and satchels were made from recycled fabric sporting the colors and look of Athletenique crafted with the philosophy of local social enterprise.
 
To complete the shopping experience, the Athletenique theme is also consistent in the interiors of Laurel's atelier. The designer transformed his studio into an atmosphere that highlights the vibrancy of the collection, adding sculptures and centerpieces that scream sports meets glam.
 
Laurel considers Athletenique one of his most memorable collections.
 
The collection is available the entire summer season at the House of Laurel. –KG, GMA News
 
House of Laurel is at 6013 Villena corner Manalac Streets, Poblacion, Makati City. For more info on Rags2Riches, visit www.rags2riches.ph.
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