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What does it mean to be feminine?

By MARELLA RICKETTS Published Feb 18, 2022 5:00 am

Whether it is a tailored jacket in an unexpected, candy-colored hue or a sheer top that is both playful and elegant, D’elle Studios has always pushed for bold femininity.

Launched in 2018, the brand has always played with contrasts—bringing about an air of nostalgia with old-school elegance while being unquestionably modern at the same time. Designer Danielle Mangana wants to highlight that, while a woman can be many things, she should always be unapologetically herself.

YSTYLE: How did the idea for D’elle come about?

DANIELLE MANGANA: It started when I was very young, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time. Growing up with my mother’s hand-me-downs, I was always drawn to the timelessness of a piece. Over time, I also realized how amazing a piece could be when it is personally designed to your size. There is more longevity in the piece, and therefore, more value. Later on, when I was studying fashion, I saw the importance of quality craftsmanship. No matter how pretty a thing may look, it all comes down to its quality. These experiences in my life definitely shaped my approach in fashion design and my vision for the brand.

“What makes a dream girl is different for every woman, and I wanted the pieces to be versatile enough for this reality,” Danielle says of her latest collection’s muse.

What kinds of silhouettes, colors and materials are you drawn to when you visualize designs for the brand?

D’elle’s character is elegant, but also a breath of fresh air. I translate this to silhouettes that stand the test of time, while injecting fun through unique textiles or unusual colors. This could be a classic tailor-cut square jacket in lambskin chartreuse green with visible pink threads. It is classic, timeless, but also refreshing for the eyes.

What was the inspiration behind the current collection, “Dream Girl”?

“Dream Girl” came about after a year of introspection—an ideal version of ourselves, even in times of uncertainty and unexpected pause. What makes a dream girl is different for every woman, and I wanted the pieces to be versatile enough for this reality.

Hand-me-downs from her mother shaped Danielle Mangana’s pursuit of timelessness and excellent craftsmanship in her brand D’elle Studios.

Personally, a Dream Girl is someone who confidently goes for what she wants and what gives her life meaning. She can be many things, but she shines in her effortlessness and she doesn’t forget to have fun. She is unapologetically herself.

What kind of materials did you use in your latest collection and why?

I allowed myself to enjoy playing with contrasts. Think sheer, light materials against structured pieces. There is something about playing with contrasts that I find incredibly interesting—it’s more fun to play with your clothes this way, too! To give you a simple example, you can wear an oversized coat and it is only when it is removed or styled a certain way that people can see the contrast and thoughtfulness of the items worn underneath.

Did you have a particular person in mind when designing these pieces?

I imagine a woman moving at her own pace, doing her own things in her everyday life. The person I visualize is dynamic, unpredictable, and is always well-dressed wherever she goes. Icons like Kate Moss or Linda Evangelista, who, aside from being beautiful faces, are both very interesting women who are doing their own things. They are both curious and spontaneous, and they ooze confidence wherever they go, making their beauty and femininity radiate even more.

How has your approach to fashion design changed since the pandemic?

Having more time to sit still, observe and absorb what was happening around me, I thought about the ways the brand could improve and understand the needs of women more. As much as I love to experiment, at the end of the day, my designs should always be wearable and cater to the woman. Compared to when I first started designing, I don’t just think about what pieces would sell best, but how my creations can further contribute to the lives of the people wearing them.

What’s next for D’elle?

I am experimenting on more sustainable approaches and more locally-sourced raw materials. I want to showcase to the world a stronger Filipino mark in our craftsmanship.


Shop D’elle online at this link.