INTERVIEW WITH EZRA SANTOS



Upon meeting Ezra,it was like catching up with an old friend. It is evident why so many choose to leave the most important part of the biggest day in their lives, in his creative and gifted hands.

EZRA SANTOS COUTURE photo credit: DESERT FISH


The studio,where all the magic happens, has been decorated by Ezra and is obviously so, as it is clearly refllects Ezra’s taste and composure. Each small room is even in strong, deep colours such as greens,dusty rose and soft blues, with large chandeliers,flowers and wall length mirrors. Windsor style chairs, brassy picture frames and floor length curtains make use of every inch of space.

With radiant smile and porcelain skin, Ezra is elegantly poised on his 1940’s style chair.His passion for passion makes it hard not to be fascinated by the art, even for those unaware of the sophistication of this trade.Passionate and content, he delivers his story after deep thought and of a very true nature.

Ezra’s infatuation began young when he started sketching at the age of 6, obsessed with Cinderella’s enchanting ball gown. In high school, Ezra was constantly approached by school friends for his talent and he was able to design gowns which were to be proudly worn at the prom.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Interior Design, Ezra continues to take`regular summer courses, to keep up in the fashion business. To him, everyday is studying.

Ezra moved to Saudi Arabia from his home country of the Philippines in 1987, focusing purely on work and less on life, possibly due to the extreme restrictions of the country’s culture. Even so, it was during these intense 5 years, that Ezra learnt the true art of Haute Couture.
“When I meet someone to design their dress, I sit down with them. I take their ideas, look at their personality and see exactly what is inside them.I don’t want to do a wedding dress just for the sake of doing a wedding dress. It has to suit the personlity. She has to show more than the dress. This is Haute Coututre!”

EZRA SANTOS Couture Collection photo credit: DESERT FISH

Ezra has resided in Dubai since 1992 and after working for a company for 12 years, he felt the inevitable need to moved forward, take the leap and open his own studio.

Ezra gives me insight into what the fashion used to be in the Middle East, describing it as outrageous and much more extravagant. As people travelled and learnt over time, their ideas changed and matured, opening their mind to a truer sense of fashion. This presents
a satisfying challenge to any designer wishing to keep up with the ever changing trrends, one that Ezra welcomes with open arms.

After deep consideration , he describes his design as elegant, simple and luxurious. To hand make just one wedding dress, takes four to six months of planning and creating. So much preperation goes into any wedding but especially here in the Middle East as it’s the biggest celebration day to an Arabic family. This is the day they can flaunt and show off not only the wedding wear and the family, but also the stage design which includes the catwalk.

Unlike the Philippines, there is a vast supply of materials and resources in the Middle East, making it easier to cater to a client’s desires and demands.

“Because of the limited source of fabric in the Philippines, what amazes me is the designers can create a dress but it tuns out to be very nice. That is the thing we have learnt – to create a piece on a limited source and make it beautiful.”

Perhaps this is why Ezra sees the beauty in simplicity.

“If I, as a designer, were to choose what someone would wear, I would choose a simple dress with accent to show more of their personality. Sometimes you just see the dress;you don’t see the person anymore.”

Ezra ponders over what insperation means to him and where he finds it. Finding his perfect answer, he tells me he love the old 1940’s Dior. For him, this is when the fashion revolution began, evolved and became more modern. Ezra’s vintage taste is not only apparent in his interior design, but suggests a familiarity to his home country’s resourcefulness.

The 1940’s was frequently referred to as the ‘war fashion era’. The war had much effect on fashion, as clothes were in short supply and rationed. It combined style and practicality to achieve a lasting elegance and those that lived through the era, remember it for its shortages, not a classic and traditional look.

“Of course when I travel, I am inspired. I meeet new people , see new cultures and architecture, exhibitions or even a painting. My inspiration always changes from different types of things that I see. What I am trying to do in my designs, as much as possible, is to design something that will last for a long time. Classic, with a touch of modernity. So in the pictures, you still look good!”

Ezra seems to enjoy tha change, perhaps even the challenge that Dubai offers, as weddding gowns in the Philippines are a lot more
stencilled , simple and typically Americans. He describes the Middle East’s desire for extravagant and detailed design along with high expectations

“They want the dress a lot more elaborate here. Everything has to be expensive and everything has to be the best”.
I asked Ezra what is involved in creating these timeless pieces. He explained the extensive process of the 4 fitting stages. ” The first stage is to get the shape of the body. The second stage,the dress will be basic with the beadwork. The third stage is the pre final fitting where they will see the dress 75% made. The fourth stage is the final fitting. It takes a lot of effort.!”

Without wanting to insult the craft of haute couture, I ask if pret a porter has been considered. As it turned out, Ezra already had plans for ready to wear dresses, for that is where he sees it headed.

“If we could go towards ready to wear-“Oh, Ilike this, try it on,give a little this and a little that and take it!” It would be much easier”.

For the secong time around, Ezra is taking part in a multidesigner fashion show intitled ‘Glamour in the City’, whereby, each designer is given a theme of a city and time of the day or evening and is ask to re-create the wedding attire suited to that time and place. Among some of the themes are Miami, Tokyo and Dubai, Ezra was assigned a popular favorite- Rio de Janiero at 1 am.

Exuding a ‘half glass outlok’, Ezra gives no hint of anxiety or nerves towards such an event, but through a laugh that would make anyone smile along, he describes it as ‘Fun!, I love what was given to me.”

At 1am, it is the party after. So I have created a Carnival costume then I have created a samba dress that turns into a swimsuit when they end up in the beach. It will be very colourful and we have the opportunuty to use the latest crystals that is not even on the market yet.”

Already successful, Ezra still looks to future plans of opening a studio in New York with the discussed ready to wear fashion. Talent runs in the family, as his nephew is currently studying fashion design in the Green Apple for there is hope, they will combine forte.

With already offering many words of wisdom, I ask for a final philosophy-” Always have a black dress. You can never go wrong with a simple, black dress.”

words by: HEIDI CONTENCIN
Desert Fish Magazine/DUBAI
Spring Summer 2010
Emirates Conceptual Fashion Magazine

DESERT FISH MAGAZINE has been 4 years in the UAE, giving conceptual art in fashion movement, page after page of inspiration, romance and drama with non- syndicated, made in the UAE! FOR SURE!!!!

for more edginess in style:
hit http://www.desertfishmag.com
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