Dolly de Leon might have been passed over for prestigious acting awards for her breakthrough performance in Triangle of Sadness, but she certainly stole the scene again in her winning look designed by Jude Macasinag.
The made-to-measure ensemble that De Leon wore to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards 2023 afterparty has been dubbed by its creator as "Artist’s kumot (blanket)."
Macasinag shared that De Leon's stylist LJ Perez mentioned how the actress easily gets cold, so he made her a couture version of a blanket in good humor.
An abstraction drawing from the iconic Sparrow blanket, which is a "nostalgic nod" to shared Filipino heritage, the fashion designer said they wanted to reinterpret the garment in a more everyday direction. This was accomplished by working with treated, patchworked, and handpainted denim.
PhilSTAR L!fe reached out to Macasinag to find out more about the haute coat-ure piece donned by De Leon.
'Nilalamig sa Baguio' realness
Prior to the BAFTA standout ensemble, Macasinag and Perez had already been in talks for a collaboration. In fact, he even lent some accessories for her to possibly wear at the Golden Globes, but this didn’t push through. The stylist then approached the designer towards January's end about working again with her for the BAFTAs, contemplating possible afterparty or luncheon looks.
All they knew at the time was they had the same goal of not wanting to do the "usual" red carpet and celebrity looks for such events.
"I immediately asked him for Dolly’s non-negotiables, things that Dolly definitely didn’t want in what she would wear. He mentioned that she gets cold easily, so out of humor I thought 'Why not make her a blanket instead?' I’ve already done a patchwork type of garment that you simply throw around the body before, so I thought it would be nice, and very cozy, to do the same for Dolly," Macasinag told L!fe.
Perez likewise mentioned that he loved a good cinch for Dolly, so Macasinag made sure to add a waist-cinching corset to be worn on top of De Leon's shirt and under her pants, but still comfortable enough for her to last the night.
Moreover, they wanted to play around with the codes of formality: "Spaces like awards shows and parties are imbued with so much codes and rules that it gave us such a good playground to mess around with. This is best seen in the fabrication of the garments: treated denim in contrast with very rich duchesse satin. The trousers also come from the idea of smoking trousers, another codified garment that’s initially in the world of menswear and is often made in wool and silk, but here we did it in the same denim with a satin band at the sides."
But how much did it cost? "Priceless," Macasinag joked. "Kidding aside, I’d prefer to be hush-hush with the price. If there are clients interested in my work or similar things such as Dolly’s look, however, they can ask me directly."
The process of making the elaborate ensemble was surprisingly "quite quick actually." Macasinag commended both De Leon and her stylist for being such a breeze to work with due to their professional trust in one another.
On his part, the fashion designer already knew what materials and techniques he wanted to work with, promptly sending the sketch to De Leon and Perez before executing the design together.
"Some time was spent though on finding techniques that make the Sparrow blanket motif more abstract, since we wanted the design to be more universally understood and to not just have an 'insider' perspective from the Philippines," Macasinag mused.
"BAFTAs or not, what’s important is that I valued that time in making this, because I made it in collaboration with such talented people. I love being able to work with creatives who love their own craft and excel at what they do. It’s so rewarding," he added.
De Leon got nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Triangle of Sadness at the BAFTA Film Awards 2023, alongside Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Hong Chau (The Whale), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All At Once), and Carey Mulligan (She Said). Condon ended up taking the award in the category.