Philippine Daily Inquirer

Maureen Disini, former Philippine Tatler fashion editor, has just designed her first collection.

Disini began her career in fashion almost a decade ago.

She was a fashion assistant in Mega magazine and then a stylist for MTV Philippines and the Inquirer.

She then became fashion editor of the Tatler for nearly four years.

“I think that shifting from fashion editor to designer was a natural progression,” she said.

Disini went to Milan’s Istituto Moda Burgo in 2009, where she earned a diploma in Stilista di Moda (Fashion Design and Patternmaking).

Living in Milan, surrounded daily by many of the world’s leading ready-to-wear brands, and spending countless hours people-watching by the Duomo and at the hip, shopping street, Via Montenapoleone, Disini learned things that she had not focused on during her years as an editor and stylist.

“I’m more discerning now. I look at different components of a design and have become more familiar with fabric, fit, cut and construction. I am also interested what lifestyle designers would like to create and what type of customers they are designing for.”

She also learned how to draw.

“I’ve learned how to use different mediums! Pencil, charcoal, markers and paint!”

Living in Milan, she says, “was a dream come true!”

“I was lucky to have interned in a showroom and work for various fashion houses as a dresser each season. It was a great experience dressing up all these models that I would see in the pages of Vogue and W!”

Disini, this year, went to Paris for a summer certificate course at the Fashion Business at the Istituto Marangoni.

“I learned so much during my short stay. My teachers in school gave me a true understanding on how to plan and develop a collection as well as how to communicate and sell it. It was an amazing summer, seeing exhibitions, visiting luxury and concept stores, vintage and flea markets, and attending couture shows on the side. It is something I would always want to look back at.”

While Disini follows both seasoned and up-and-coming designers, she looks up to three greats: Madame Gres, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent “for their sense of elegance and proportion. These designers, to me, have influenced fashion in so many ways.”

Her icons in Manila (who also have become her good friends) include Inno Sotto, Rhett Eala and Jun Escario.

“Inno is so humble and his approach is so inspiring! Rhett is extremely generous, and his drive and passion for fashion are unparalleled and Jun’s creativity and boundless energy really push me to take it to the next level!”

Disini describes her aesthetic as “classical. I design pieces that are simple, easy and feminine. I tend to embrace tradition and forego current trends.”

The fabrics she chooses for her ideal customer include power knits, jersey and silk chiffon that seem to work well with most body types.

“These are the fabrics that I usually play with because they are light and luxurious in feel. I can twist, wrap and maneuver materials any way I like."

Her first collection is now available in Jun Escario’s Greenbelt 5 store.

“To be honest, I had no idea how much more demanding it is to be a designer than to be a stylist. I thought it was all relative but there are more responsibilities as a designer. Not only do I have to be creative and innovative in this new endeavor, I have to constantly think of how my business will grow.”