The Reluctant Stylista

When I started this blog, I wanted to chronicle my adventures in fashion styling. I can’t quite forgive myself if I don’t detail the first big editorial I did for a major publication, where I acted both as Creative Director and stylist.  Plus, I honestly think it’s the first editorial here in the Philippines that featured Elie Saab bridal finery.

Let me introduce you to my baby, The Romantic Whimsey fashion editorial that came out in Metro Weddings Magazine in 2014.

Before Metro Weddings, I wasn’t exactly a spokestylist for romantic shoots. And wedding gowns are gorgeous by default and need little styling to make them look more beautiful, or at least that’s what most people think.  But when you’re used to all that grandeur, how can you still make it touching and breathtaking?  I was determined to take on the challenge.


The Dream Team

Photographer: Shaira Luna

I’ve always secretly despaired the lack of female photographers in the fashion industry. Shaira is one of the few who has broken through that wall.  More than that, I am a fan of her dreamy, moody-romantic and vintage style that I thought could make this wedding editorial special.  She also doesn’t work with weddings–all the more reason why I wanted her in, and I was very lucky she finally agreed.

Drew Garett of Elite Models wearing a Vania Romoff dress and Tessa Napa headpiece

Metro Weddings Romantic Whimsey Styling by Alex Lapa

Ekaterina Smorodina of Elite Models wearing a Vania Romoff dress and Tessa Napa headpiece

Metro Weddings Romantic Whimsey Styling by Alex Lapa

Elie by Elie Saab gown from Mi Sueño and headpiece by Tessa Napa

Flowers and Set design: Teddy Manuel

I already knew I wanted a classy place with white walls, high ceiling and lots of natural lighting.  I found that in R Space, but of course, there’s still the decor to think about.  Weddings are all about stunning floral decor, but they’re usually about the bouquets, garlands and centerpieces.  I wanted to come up with something I hadn’t seen much of (or at all), so: furniture made of flowers.

I gave Teddy very simple pegs of a small table and chair set up. So I was shocked when I arrived at R Space early and saw a throne made of fresh flowers so beautiful, sitting on it seemed irreverent. Teddy Manuel will really go above and beyond what you give him and he was such a joy to work with. He’s one of the most down-to-earth and easiest suppliers to talk to, not to mention unbelievably talented and hardworking.

Styling by Alex Lapa

Elie by Elie Saab gowns from Mi Sueño and headpieces by Tessa Napa

Romantic Whimsey - Wedding styling by Alex Lapa

Gown by Vania Romoff

Metro Weddings Romantic Whimsey

Gown by Christine Lam


Makeup and hair: Rae Salazar and Nhot Bituin

I asked Rae for sweet, porcelain doll-inspired makeup, with softly blushing cheeks and subtly stained lips.  I wanted it to look delicate and fragile and not “plasticky”. I wanted it to be a makeup look fit for a fashion editorial but still realistic enough to appeal to real brides–and Rae nailed it down perfectly.  I love her soft and feminine approach to makeup!

And of course, Nhot did absolute magic on the hair.  I wanted fluffy and cloud-like but still pretty.  He made it look voluminous yet still soft and touchable.

Metro Weddings Romantic Whimsey Styling by Alex Lapa

On Drew: gown by Isabel Celdran-Koa / On Kat: gown by Erwin Lee Tan and coat by Eric delos Santos

Wedding styling by Alex Lapa

Gown from Pronovias and headpiece by Tessa Napa

Metro Weddings Romantic Whimsey Styling by Alex Lapa

Elie by Elie Saab gown and headpiece by Tessa Napa


Headpieces: Tessa Aquino Napa

The headpieces were a big part of this shoot.  Looking at the photos will make you think they were made of fresh flowers.  I wasn’t too keen on using jewelry and other sparkly accessories for the shoot, because that’s always done.  I already decided to go big on flowers, so I stuck to that concept.  For the hairpieces, I also wanted them bold and dramatic, but I knew the target audience were still real brides and they would never go for the towering flower crowns and helmets that I originally had in mind.  So I conceded to make them about a meter shorter and this is the result.

Metro Weddings Romantic Whimsey Styling

Gown by Ryan Madamba and headpiece by Tessa Napa


It’s not my last editorial, but it will probably always be the most memorable.  I was so worked up on every little detail before the big shoot, but it was all worth it. Plus, I pride myself on the fact that I work on a strict schedule–and we wrapped up this shoot more than an hour before the target time.  That’s how we got the Elie Saab gowns in the first place.  Metro Weddings Creative Director Trisha Juico sent Pronovias a couple of behind-the-scenes photos and they loved it so much they rushed the Elie by Elie Saab gowns to our shoot to use.  When Pepper of Pronovias asked me why I didn’t pull them out in the first place, I admitted I got intimidated with the disclaimers on the catalogue that had a fitting fee for the Elie Saab gowns (which was totally understandable).  Little wonder those gowns arrived at R Space with three attendants!


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