The House of Laurel is always brimming with new designs, not only by the proprietor, Rajo Laurel, but by his discoveries as well. Yekky Balingit is one of those artisans collaborating with Laurel. His accessories have caught my eye last year for their “ethereal glamour,” crystals and unstructured knots in pastel and subdued hues.
A visual and graphic artist by day, Balingit teamed up with his photographer-friend, Melson Bolongaita, to produce a refreshing yet haute couture take to his wearable art.
Style Kit: What was on your mind when you shot this pictorial?
Yekky Balingit: The editorial “Second Skin” is my friend-photographer’s portfolio. He asked me if I can lend my accessories for the pictorial, not knowing it was (top model) Ria Bolivar that he asked to model. I did the layout and I was pleased to see everybody loving it. And since everybody now is going along with the trend color-blocking, we (the team) went across to a different lane. We wanted a very subdued and fresh editorial.
SK: What materials did you use and why?
YB: I used the same materials, German-Russian crystals with cut beads and this time around I tried to stay away from the fabric being the vital part of each piece. Raw and somewhat like rough and unrefined will always be my aesthetic, balanced by the glitz of each crystal.
SK: How long did it take you to make these?
YB: It took me two to three months to make the whole collection, and each piece can take up to three nights. I only do it in the evening as I am a visual and graphic artist by profession. I also make one piece per style.
SK: Why necklaces?
YB: It debuted in a year when statement jewelry and chunky accessories began to take centerstage with the likes of Vera Wang and Bea Valdes as inspirations... and I do love necklaces. It sums up your personality without even saying a word.
SK: Do you make them yourself or do you have a staff?
YB: Everything goes through me. From the sourcing of fabrics, buying of supplies, and down to the last stitch—it is by me. I wish to have a staff someday and hopefully soon.
SK: How is your work process like?
YB: It starts with a color palette. For House of Laurel, they give me a direction for the upcoming collections. Then, I source for beautiful fabrics and make a trip to my suppliers for the crystals and beading materials. From there, each color is assessed as to what style fits, then on to stitching each crystal.
SK: How did you get into House of Laurel?
YB: I got lucky. The end of 2009 was magical. Rajo Laurel and I met up at a bar in Manila and I was really surprised that he reads and adores my blog. Christmas came and I tried selling my first five pieces and, luckily, I sold one. It was a fulfilling day. As a blogger, I uploaded my experience and he loved it. He offered to sell my necklaces in his store... I was thrilled! I set up a meeting with him the next year, and, as they say, the rest is history.
SK: What did Rajo say about you and your work?
YB: As Rajo stated, “It is a paradox of the raw and the refined.” Rajo has been a friend and a mentor, I would say. He opened a very wide door of opportunity for me. He always reminds me how he loves my pieces and constantly encourages me to push through and try things out.
SK: Why the name ‘Miadore?’
YB: Miadore came from parents’ nicknames Mia and Ador. It is my homage to them. I named it after them because they’re my family and this venture is so special for me. Actually, my cousin just told me...The “E” can stand for my real name, which is Erik. Kind of unconscious I would say. It also sort of signifies the meaning “I adore” which is what I want my clients to feel for my pieces.
*For inquiries, call or text Yekky Balingit at 0915-8685958 and/or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his facebook page.
Photography: Melson Bolongaita
Assisted by: Roel Valesco
Model: Ria Bolivar
Styling by Kim delos Santos
Makeup by Kraig delos Santos
Hairstyling by Mong Amado
* Special thanks to House of Laurel, Mich Araullo, Rica Rico, Dookie Ducay