Styling my first window display for XOXO

As part of my job as Editor of, I was invited by XOXO to view their holiday collection, which was all about restrained opulence. Gold is the color of the season for XOXO, but I think the jackets were the stars of the show. There were Chanel-inspired jackets with bouclé details, zippered ones with leather sleeves, floaty casual blazers with cascading lapels, and one in a fabulous sequined-but-matte asymmetrical design.  Rich, heavy textures and on-trend details aside, XOXO is all about polish and wearability. My colleague, Cat Triviño of Megastyle, and I had a blast mixing and matching the different pieces, noting especially that most of the items were perfect investment pieces for work.

We had so much fun with our looks that we didn’t think twice when XOXO PR Consultant Ria Yap encouraged us to have a go at styling three of the four mannequins in the store’s display window. First, Cat and I tried on some of the pieces to see which worked, then added or subtracted elements to edit the final picks.

We liked the idea of pairing the white leather tuxedo jacket with an off-white pair of short shorts that had the same lining. Originally, Cat chose a beautiful printed yellow and black top with cut-outs in the yoke, but we decided that a solid pop of gold/yellow would bring the look together more. On the mannequin, Cat layered two identical necklaces to maximize impact, and topped off the look with a compact patent purse with a chain handle in matching gold.

We couldn’t miss the snakeskin pants hanging on the rack. Since they are meant to be the focal point of any ensemble, it was all about choosing the appropriate top in a solid color (like black) to balance out the wild print. Thankfully, XOXO had a nice collection of basics and inners to choose from. On the mannequin, we added an armful of bangles and clutch in sexy wine red to draw in the eye.

This asymmetrical bodycon dress can be tricky to pull off because it does draw a lot of attention to the midriff area. If you have the figure and the confidence though, the dress can do a lot to enhance them both! Cat and I really liked the idea of a sequin story, so we went for another sparkly look for the adjacent mannequin.

Since the third look is a glamorous party ensemble, a related sequined outfit would have to convey a more relaxed, casual feel. The ensemble on the right really is something I’d pick out for myself. First, I have to say that the ivory blazer, at a convenient three-quarters length and featuring tiered cascading lapels, was just stunning. It was the perfect piece to layer over a peach sequined tank with a very sexy low back; I would be a little shy to wear the inner piece by itself. The addition of the denim shorts added a rugged touch. We found the most perfect gold necklace with a very light pink detail; it brought out the tank’s pink tones perfectly.

Here’s the overall effect from outside the store. I’m still feeling a tingly little buzz from the experience.

Thanks to Ms. Ria Yap and XOXO at Greenbelt 3 for having us!

Photos by Rinse, Wear, Repeat

Behind the scenes at the shoot for Rinse, Wear, Repeat

Top left. Joseph and me at our senior prom five years ago. Right. The two of us in 2011. Bottom left. With the team. Make-up artist Karen Jean Santos, hair stylist Jay Wee, me, and Joseph Pascual.

Last November, I met up with photographer Joseph Pascual to shoot a collection of pictures to use for Rinse, Wear, Repeat . Joseph shoots full-time now, but he’s been taking photos for the longest time. Here is a photo of the two of us at our Senior Prom five years ago. I don’t think much has really changed.

Left. One of my favorites from the set. Top right. Joseph coaches me on my posing. Bottom right. A wide shot of the place.

We shot three layouts. The first location was at a small restaurant in Mandaluyong called The Frazzled Cook. The owners were kind enough to let us shoot early in the day, before the restaurant opened. I’ve been coming here for a while now; I always like tinkering with the little trinkets and odd things strewn playfully across the space. I asked Joseph to capture the busy, colorful feel of Rinse, Wear, Repeat, and to add an air of thoughtful nostalgia to the overall effect. I had fun with bright, colorful accessories like this hot pink Cambridge satchel, matching belt and jazzy bangles. I kept the rest of the outfit simple, with my favorite slim navy trousers and white blouse with a Peter Pan collar.

Left. A full-body shot. Right. Detail shots of the accessories. Bottom right. Karen and Jay work to create a sweet, romantic look.

We also shot outside, where the wind and sunlight were likely to give the photos an airy, sweet feel. Jay Wee, who did my hair, created this intricate updo with thick braids woven into rosettes, and Karen Jean Santos, who did make-up, kept the entire look very simple and clean. I had fun styling the simple peachy lace dress with contrasting aqua accessories. Joseph captured the dress’ movement and the small details in the accessories. I think I made myself dizzy with all the twirling.

Top left. The inspiration for this look. Bottom left. Close-up of the accessories. Right. A series of full-body shots from this collection.

It was Joseph’s idea to shoot outdoors in this small area in Greenhills. I picked out this beautiful cream dress with a long, flowing collar and a matching belt. I was inspired by this photo of two elegant ladies from the 40s, strolling along in their long dresses and jaunty hats. I envisioned the overall look to pay homage to the era without it looking like a costume, so I asked Karen to give me very full, deep berry red lips for a modern touch, while Jay softened the look by giving me neat-as-a-pin wavy hair. This dress is something I would wear to work, and so Joseph wanted to capture the contrast between the hard cityscape in the background and the soft, aged quality of the overall look.

Thanks to Joseph, Karen and Jay for all the time and effort to make this happen! I had a great time at the shoot, in front of the camera and behind the scenes as well.