Courage, Patriotism, and Soul: Designing J. Rey Soul's Philippine Terno
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Courage, Patriotism, and Soul: Designing J. Rey Soul’s Philippine Terno

Courage, Patriotism, and Soul: Designing J. Rey Soul’s Philippine Terno

Fashion | September 10, 2021
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Francis Libiran lets you in on the creative process behind designing J. Rey Soul’s outfit: a Philippine Terno in passionate red hues.

J. Rey Soul of the Black Eyed Peas sang “Lupang Hinirang,”—the Philippine National Anthem—at the Pacquiao-Ugas fight. Held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last August 21, she proudly wore a red Philippine Terno that I created exclusively for her.

Born and raised in the Philippines, J. Rey Soul is known as Jessica Reynos. Back then, she was a contestant of the talent search show The Voice Philippines, where she met Apl.De.Ap—one of the show’s judges. A member of the famous American group Black Eyed Peas and also a native Filipino, he became her mentor in the competition and both have since then worked together.

A Symbol of Resilience and Courage

When J. Rey asked me to design her gown, I instantly felt overwhelming joy and flattery. Manny Pacquiao’s fights, after all, were known all over the world and J. Rey Soul is also an international performer. With this opportunity, I could showcase the talent and artistry of Filipino fashion design

I immediately knew that I would not be dressing J. Rey in something traditional. With her strong and vibrant personality, she would look best in something that lets her stand out when she takes the stage. From there, I was thinking of revising the traditional butterfly sleeves of the Philippine Terno to make it compatible with her bold and versatile personality

I envisioned her singing “Lupang Hinirang” on stage and decided that a strong shade of red would be the perfect color for her. Known as the color of courage, patriotism, and soul, red perfectly describes not just J. Rey’s character, but also of the indominable Filipino spirit. We are, after all, known for resilience and chivalry

The Creative Process

Getting to work, I designed a multi-layered gown—accentuated with intricately-embroidered Swarovski crystals, combined with my signature art deco design patterns on the butterfly sleeves. On the other hand, the bodice is made of silk organdy and pleated tulle to make the dress lightweight

The emphasis was on creating a statement piece. So, from the patterns, down to the crystals, everything was decked out in red. Aside from the meaning behind the color, the gown would also look powerful onstage—commanding presence and authority. In addition, we wanted the art deco patterns to be really visible, so that the audience can appreciate the intricacy of the design.

On Making it Happen

It was actually very daunting to accomplish the task because we only had 7 days to create the gown. Nevertheless, we were very happy to take on the challenge because it would surely boost our country’s confidence—a much needed break from the pandemic. Thus, we assembled a whole team of embroiderers, beaders, sewers, and stylists to work on this project.

Along the way, another challenge we had to hurdle was the imposed Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, which lasted from August 6 to 20. Due to the lockdown, it was so difficult to purchase fabrics and materials because stores were closed. It was hard, but for the sake of the country’s pride, we were motivated to do it.

Somehow, things lined up for us perfectly, and we found solutions. We did fittings and took measurements via Zoom because J. Rey is based in Los Angeles. And the overall result was just stunning.

A Proud Moment for Filipinos

J. Rey Soul’s powerful rendition of the Philippine National Anthem, while wearing her Philippine Terno, was a proud moment for Filipinos throughout the world!

I am confidently looking forward to seeing more and more Filipino artists gracing the world stage! I am truly proud of both J. Rey Soul and our boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao, for representing the Philippines with confidence and valor. But most of all, I am honored to be part of their milestone and especially for being a Filipino.

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Francis is a Filipino architect and fashion designer. His love for travel, nature, architecture, and patterns is very apparent in his creations. Being in the business for more than two decades, Francis is considered as one of the Philippine’s premier fashion designers and his brand is dedicated to producing original, high quality, wearable art pieces which promote Filipino beauty, artistry, talent, and craftsmanship on the global arena. Francis Libiran’s international success, awe-inspiring designs and creations, and keen eye for detail opened the doors of opportunities to dress some of the biggest stars the world over.
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