After being asked a few times, Fashion Designer Pia Gladys Perey finally debuted her first runway show for 2013 Fashion Week in Los Angeles last month. Perhaps the timing never felt right until this year and it’s just a sign of the growing popularity of her brand, Pia Gladys Perey. She explains, “I have expanded my label and want to see how people from the US will react to my label. It’s very exciting and am very much looking forward to getting into the US market.”
Born and raised in the Philippines, Pia’s fashion inspiration came from her grandmother who made clothes for Pia and all the ladies in her family. She describes her grandmother as being very “girly” to the point of owning only one pair of jeans, much like Pia herself these days. And shoes? She’s likely to have given Imelda Marcos a run for her money. Pia describes her grandmother’s obsession, “She loved shoes. She had a revolving shoe rack with a glass door. I mean, if you’re seven years old and you see things like that, it’s pretty amazing.”
AUDREY sat down with Pia right before her fashion show and learned how persistence is key in getting your foot in the fashion door, what her F/W 13 collection is all about and how she describes what a real woman is to her.
AM: What was your first job in fashion?
PGP: I was an assistant to one of the top designers in the Philippines. Her name was Patrice Ramos-Diaz. I did not study fashion. When my grandma passed away, I was eleven, so I kind of forgot about it [fashion]. But then I woke up one day and said “I’m going to be a fashion designer.”
Then, I bought this magazine, it was a Style Directory with all the designers in it and I called each one of them…from the letter “A” and was hired at the letter “P”. I called a lot of people.
AM: Did you have a style icon or mentor during the time of when you started working in the business?
PGP: My first boss [Patrice Ramos-Diaz] had a lot of influence on me because her style is very simple. And there’s always Audrey Hepburn. She’s perfect.
AM: Sounds like you have made it in the US market if you have Angelina Jolie and Kim Kardashian wearing your dresses. Who would that next dream person be for you?
PGP: If my wish were to come true, Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts. There’s a whole list.
AM: Tell me a little about your F/W 2013 collection.
PGP: The main inspiration is luxury and romance. We did the photo shoot at the Trump Tower in the Philippines. That within itself has a lot of influence on the look of the label. We worked with some metallics which I’m trying to inject something new [into the collection] because I’m more known to have evening wear and cocktail wear to red carpet dresses. But now I’m trying to have more casual looks and more separates because a lot of women need that.
AM: Let’s talk about the fact that you only own one pair of jeans and you’re in LA which is the denim capital of the world. What would you tell a Los Angeleno about not wearing jeans?
PGP: (laughs) Actually, I’m fascinated with women who wear jeans because jeans do give you a shape and everything, but to me, and I don’t want to offend anyone. To me – real women shouldn’t wear jeans. That’s it.
AM: Do you ever have any plans of expanding your line to shoes, accessories or anything like that?
PGP: I’m actually doing a collaboration with this shoe label in the Philippines and they’re called Figlia. They’ve been around for a long time. I’m doing Pia Gladys Perey for Figlia and in terms of accessories, the belts and headpieces that you see in the show, were made by a Philippino designer as well. His name is Ken Samudio for Pia Gladys Perey.
AM: Do you like collaborations?
PGP: I do. It’s always great to have other input and pick other people’s brains to see how we can work together. Usually a lot of beautiful things come out of it.
AM: Do you have a dream designer that you’d like to collaborate with?
PGP: Alber Elbaz. He’s my favorite designer or Lanvin.
Photo credit: Garone Aftica