MADE TO ORDER COUTURE – Rajo Laurel, the Philippine excellence in prêt-à-porter

The dream of becoming a couturier

Passionate about his work, he runs a company that blends elegance, romance and luxury. With embroidery, beading and hand painted prints, quality craftsmanship and craftsmanship, he creates clothes at competitive prices. He has designed dresses worn by Tyra Banks, Natalia Zakharova and Dayanara Torres. Winner of numerous fashion awards, he is also known as a television personality. With his sister, he founded The House of Laurel in 2000. Rajo Laurel started his creative adventure in 1993, designing clothes in a friend’s basement. This Manila-based fashion designer was born in 1971, making his international professional debut after just a year. With pieces that are never mass produced, his creative focus combines inspiration and skill with the comfort of ready-to-wear.

His grandmother taught seamstresses to make tea towels, maid uniforms, and dresses. At the age of six Rajo Laurel was fascinated by the charm of costumes, at eleven he already aspired to become a stylist. He attends school in Muntinlupa and apprentices to Louie Mamengo. His eye for fashion was enhanced by attending the New York Fashion Institute of Technology and Central Saint Martin’s in London. In 2004 and 2005 he was chosen to represent the Philippines at KL Fashion Week held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While not disavowing his Filipino roots, juxtaposing hard and soft elements with a modern and feminine style, he maintains a global perspective in fashion. Now, his clients include Philippine presidents and movie celebrities.

From couture, in his time his creative challenge has also included the creation of uniforms for hotel staff. Any outfit is for him a creative mission meant to create lasting impressions. In 2000, proposing couture garments as well as ready-to-wear in limited pieces, together with his sister, Rajo Laurel he founded the House of Laurel boutique in Makati City. His couture line Scent of a Woman shows models dressed in white strapless dresses, as well as high collars with frayed and scalloped hems. By producing handmade bags and dresses made from waste fabrics from its collections, House of Laurel has collaborated on a project aimed at creating opportunities for poor women.

Considered one of Manila’s top shopping destinations, his The House of Laurel debuted in 2004, creating a line for women seeking completely original pieces. Among Rajo Laurel‘s most notable exhibitions, his Optical Illusions have raised awareness of Philippine fashion. In 2004, he showcased the beauty of Philippine fabrics with a show held at the British Ambassador’s residence. In 2007, with the Five Senses fashion show, he presented interpretations of French perfumes paired with ten Filipino designers. The embroideries and appliqués, as well as the focal points of his designs, were modeled on the petals of the flowers used in the perfume.


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