Furne Amato’s Grey Ladies on parade

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'Grey is a state of mind.' Photos by Elton Lugay

‘Grey is a state of mind.’ Photos by Elton Lugay

By Elton Lugay

Fashion Week may be over, but for Furne Amato, the end signals the beginning of his fashion career in New York.

“I can’t wait to start working,” the Cebuano designer who counts Beyonce, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, among his celebrity clients, said to The FilAm.

Amato Haute Couture is a name to behold in the Dubai fashion world. Amato moved to Dubai from Cebu 14 years ago, and has since clothed stylish and affluent Arab women. Somehow, a designer of his caliber yearns for the Big League, which is New York Fashion Week.

On February 13 at Lincoln Center, his wish came true. He “closed” the event with a fall/winter collection featuring bold designs and grey colors. The closing night is a special one because it is dedicated to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation that seeks to promote fashion and philanthropy. It is also a way to support the next generation of fashion-forward designers.

“I feel privileged and very honored to be invited here,” Amato said. “This is the real thing, it’s New York Fashion Week.”

Amato and Monique Lhuillier, another Cebuano, are the only two Filipinos who participated in this year’s NYFW, sponsored by Mercedes Benz.

The Closing Night was a showcase by up-and-coming names, such as haute couture designer Nino Lettieri; the urban style eco-friendly Michael Herrera; streetwear designer Erik Rosete; and Altaf Maaneshia. Amato closed the show.

Amato presented 19 pieces from his Grey Skies collection. The dresses, gowns and men’s wear followed a pallet of mostly greys in a variety of shades.

“It’s a state of mind: it’s not black, it’s not white, it’s like sometimes in life you would be in the center,” he explained. “You can’t seem to decide which one is right and which one is wrong, it’s like you’re in the grey area.”

The models wore silvery gray hairpieces which complemented the exquisite avant-garde designs. Amato said he is not one to follow trends. Instead, he uses his fabric as a “canvas for creating art that has the functionality of fashion.”

He had a month to prepare for the show, and labored day and night to complete his collection. “I was invited in the first week of January and barely had a month to prepare the collection. But this is an honor that I couldn’t say no.”

He said working with American celebrities is always a delight.

“Working with pop superstars always has something to do with their album projects,” said Amato. “Katy Perry for instance, before, she liked dreamland, chocolates, sweet, so that’s the concept I was going for. But now that she’s grownup, she likes something edgy, dark, and somewhat different from the past. So it’s really a case-to-case thing.”

He would like to see Cate Blanchet wear one of his creations.

Amato said he is thrilled to be given the opportunity to work in New York. With “more hard work and a little luck, why not?”

Why not, indeed. Amato’s passion for couture makes him New York-ready.

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