Art/Style/Travel DiariesStyle

How Lesley Mobo created that liquid gold stunner

He recreates an iconic design of dripping gold pailletes for Emmeline Villar

Emmeline Villar looking svelte in Lesley Mobo, with husband, Secretary Mark Villar, at Tatler Ball in November

The last time Lesley Mobo, the Filipino designer who’s been based in London, created an evening wear collection was in 2019 for the 10th Red Charity Gala show. Inspired by heroines of film noir, a movie genre best described as stylish Hollywood crime dramas from the 1940s to early 1950s, Mobo designed a collection that was simple, subtle, and showing restraint, yet with the oomph typical of the Hollywood goddess.

His beaded gowns, in velvet with paillettes, gave the illusion of fluidity, just like water flowing. The bias-cut construction emphasized all the more the model’s hourglass figure.

A very memorable piece from this collection was a dripping gold pailletes dress, which looks even more beautiful in motion because it lent the illusion of liquid gold.

That was why when Emmeline Villar—the beneficiary of Tatler Philippines’ Project Inclusion Network during this year’s Tatler Ball—wanted to wear something special, Mobo did not hesitate to recreate such a memorable piece.

Lesley Mobo liquid gold

“I couldn’t be more proud to dress someone who leads with so much empathy, and is so invested in supporting PWDs in this country,” Mobo said.

Since its establishment, the Project Inclusion Network has been able to help around 3,000 persons-with-disability by improving their access to employment opportunities. It aims to help thousands and thousands more in the Philippines.

In recreating the liquid gold dress, Mobo used the remaining Jacob Schlaepfer fabric from his archives in London, had it shipped to the Philippines to his studio.

“We recreated the dress but slightly changed some aspect of the construction and detail on the bust and neckline,” Mobo said.

“We created a hand-draped twist from the bust, that twisted towards the neckline. It’s all hand-molded to the body so there’s no side seams, except on the center back of the dress and mostly hand-draped, then hand stitched,” he added.

It took his studio two weeks to recreate this piece, which is now lined with soft skin tone of 100% silk. “It brought back good memories of all the beautiful women who wore the original dress,” Mobo said.

Mobo described how Emmeline looked every inch like a James Bond girl in the dripping gold pailletes dress. “I originally wanted to save the fabric for something, else but I think Em is doing and giving back something good to society,  so why not? We love dressing women who are inspiring,” Mobo said.

Lesley Mobo liquid gold photo credit
Photography Jerick Sanchez
Styling Luis Carlo San Juan
Makeup Theresa Padin using Laura Mercier
Hairstyle Mong Amado
Model Alaiza Malinao


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