The Reluctant Stylista

Stylists don’t always act as the creative director, nor is it a given that we conceptualize shoots.  That often falls to an editor or your client’s marketing department.  Sometimes, though, the concepts come from other creatives as well, like the photographer. For the Enchanting Escape editorial we shot for Metro Weddings June 2015 issue, the main concept came from fashion photographer Mj Suayan.  My job here as a stylist was to craft a cohesive story based on his idea and to plan a consistent line up of looks.

Jessica Yang in Joel Escober styled by Alex Lapa shot by Mj Suayan

Model Jessica Yang wearing Joel Escober

When he presented me his ideas, we agreed the lighting should be a little moody (but still romantic) and the overall look should have a sort of rustic charm. I looked for wedding gowns that had flowing lines and relaxed silhouettes. I asked Dino of Bluebarn Flowers for bouquets that looked as if they were picked off “talahib, pero bongga“. I’ve been friends with Dino since college, so thankfully, he knew that I meant wildflowers that didn’t look contrived and too art-directed but still looked special. In fact, when designer Joe San Antonio saw the sample shots, she remarked on the same thing. “I’ve always wanted bouquets that looked like these, but other florists don’t get that effortless chic wildflower arrangement!”

Jessica Yang in Joe San Antonio styled by Alex Lapa

White, ivory and cream aren’t the only options for the color of a wedding gown. A soft dove gray like this gown by Joe San Antonio is unique, but still on the neutral side. The vibrant colors of the wildflowers look striking against it, too.

Ombre lips by Gery Penaso

Photo by Gery Penaso

At the time, I was obsessed with ombre lips. I wanted a very minimalist look for this editorial, and I don’t normally style with jewelry, either. Similar to the last bridal editorial that I directed, I styled with gorgeous flowers and barely there makeup but look-at-me lips to make a strong beauty statement. Gery Penaso applied soft shimmer on the eyelids, a bit of clumpy mascara and drew lips that just pop out. If you want to look different on your day but don’t want to go too crazy or avant garde, this is a very viable option.

Jessica Yang wearing Leo Almodal with Em Mariano pendant styled by Alex Lapa

Well, I was going to use at least one piece of jewelry. This amethyst cross pendant by Em Mariano was supposed to be on a ring, but the waves from the beach washed it off on my makeshift ring (glue gun was involved, I admit). But it was so beautiful I just couldn’t take it out of the shot. Jessica was such a trooper until we got this down perfectly. It’s not easy shooting outdoors, under the sun and in heavy bridal finery, but she did it amazingly. The dress is by Leo Almodal.

Jessica Yang in Joe San Antonio styled by Alex Lapa

Cream and blush can work for brides, too. Gown by Joe San Antonio and floral wreath by Bluebarn Flowers.

Jessica Yang in Joel Escober styled by Alex Lapa

Jessica is wearing a Joel Escober gown with geometric details. I have always been a huge fan of Joel Escober, even before I went full-time into fashion.

Mark Bumgarner Jessica Yang styled by Alex Lapa

I wish we could’ve taken a full shot of this Mark Bumgarner dress because it was so elegant yet so simply made.

Pablo Cabahug Jessica Yang styled by Alex Lapa

This Pablo Cabahug gown originally had straps but the sweetheart neckline was so lovely, I thought to put more focus on it. We tucked in the straps, and Jessica played with the chiffon overlay so we were able to nail this whimsical shot. Props to Cats del Rosario who did Jessica’s hair. I wanted artfully tousled and undone braids and she delivered–even though the winds were strong that day and kept messing up the coiffure (the messiness worked for some of the shots, though, as the easy and literally breezy hairstyle looked very natural).

Metro Weddings Joe San Antonio

Lace gown with peach skirt by Joe San Antonio

Jessica Yang in Isabel Celdran styled by Alex Lapa

I can always count on designer Isabel Celdran-Koa to come up with something that’s truly out of the ordinary. We didn’t know what shot to take of this neoprene gown because it looked so good at all angles. I think Metro Weddings editor-in-chief Michelle Katigbak-Alejandro and Creative Director Trish Juico felt the same way, so this dress ended up in two pages.

Jessica Yang in Isabel Celdran Koa styled by Alex Lapa

The backless gown had batwing sleeves and embroidery at the wrists and neckline. It was absolutely stunning and a very glamorous, unexpected bridal look. I certainly hope this editorial, with thrilling looks we featured, serves as inspiration to brides everywhere.

Full credits:

Styling by Alex Lapa
Assisted by Vhee Co
Photography by Mj Suayan
Makeup: Gery Penaso
Hair: Cats del Rosario
Model: Jessica Yang
Designers: Joel Escober, Joe San Antonio, Pablo Cabahug, Mark Bumgarner, Isabel Celdran-Koa, Leo Almodal, Em Mariano


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