July 15, 2019
On tacos and tequila
CHINO MNL turns a year old—and it still remains the city's biggest culinary secret.
With fairy tale-princess skirts, soft and delicate details and dreamy palettes, designer Mark Bumgarner has become a go-to for evening dresses and bridal couture.
Mark’s critical eye and unique take on feminine silhouettes have found fans in fashionable celebrities like Anne Curtis and Heart Evangelista, even making it to the Cannes red carpet as worn by Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai. After spending the better part of a decade in fashion — he had once been a race car driver — Bumgarner has opened his first mall-based atelier in Greenbelt 5, which also houses the first collection of his new ready-to-wear line, Bumgarner Studios.
“I started experimenting with ready-to-wear by selling to private clients in my studio [two years ago],” he explains. “It was not until last year when I started creating shoes and bags to complement the line. I believe many women need good quality classic pieces that they can buy off the rack, instead of a custom made dress.”
The resulting collection is fresh and contemporary, introducing versatile separates to Bumgarner’s repertoire—from airy dresses and figure-flattering tops to trousers and skirts made for both leisurely strolls and power-walking. There are chic patterns, bold cuts, and unexpected pops of color, making for pieces that are timeless yet full of personality.
In this interview, the designer discusses opening the store in Greenbelt, how he has grown with his work, and how Bumgarner Studios continues the legacy of his couture line.
My first Bumgarner Studios collection that was launched in February of this year was inspired by vintage florals, which I applied to different silhouettes. Although it is RTW, my pieces are still produced in very limited quantities. Many of my customers still like that feeling of being exclusive.
How does the Bumgarner Studios identity and look differ from your couture line, and how does it complement or continue the legacy of the latter?
Bumgarner Studios is very much an extension of my main line Mark Bumgarner, but made more wearable for the Filipina. In terms of its DNA, is it very feminine, classic and timeless. If my main line is mostly evening, Bumgarner Studios is from daytime to evening.
I think it complements my main line because not all women have the luxury of time to have a custom made dress. Bumgarner Studios answers that gap.
How did you conceptualize your boutique in Greenbelt? What made Greenbelt the perfect location for it?
Greenbelt 5 is the perfect location because it is still the top luxury shopping destination for most Filipinos. Also, they support Filipino designers so that’s something I’m grateful for.
When I was conceptualizing the interior of the store, I based it on the brand colors which are pink fiesta and teal blue. I added a touch of gold to give it a luxurious feel and as a contrast to the very feminine look.
“As a designer, it is my responsibility to be aware of global trends and the best way to do it is to travel. Surfing the internet is not enough; you need to see and experience [the world] to be inspired, to change and to evolve.”
Your career as a designer began when you saw fashion through different cultures, and you’ve since garnered international renown. Has having more eyes around the world trained on you changed the way you work? Is it still important to you to stay true to Filipino sensibilities?
As a designer, it is my responsibility to be aware of global trends and the best way to do it is to travel. Surfing the internet is not enough; you need to see and experience [the world] to be inspired, to change and to evolve.
The world is changing so fast, so we need to keep up with the pace or we will be left behind. Of course it is important to be Filipino, but we need to think global.
How would you say you’ve grown as a designer, and how does Bumgarner Studios factor into this?
I am still a young designer and I still have so many plans with my career. Bumgarner Studios is just one step of many.
Bumgarner Studios is open Mondays to Sundays, 11:00 am to 9 pm, at the 2nd floor of Greenbelt 5 in Makati.