Editor’s note: When Patis Tesoro speaks, you listen because her words pull you in and you come away having learned something worthwhile. I love to listen to her talk. Not very many people have the gift of magnetic gab — Patis does.
This bohemian-hippie couturier of San Pablo City, Laguna, is known for her mixture of colors and designs using indigenous Philippine materials and hand-painted images. Yes, that is her delicious game. Filipina Vogue a La Mode.
We hope you enjoy our photo essay and the short film by Owen Suerte. — p.l.
By Maricar Gonzales and Patricia Laurel
She is San Pablo’s Renaissance Woman.
Name it and Patis Pamintuan Tesoro is deeply into it. The Beaux Arts, visual, musical, historical, Asian, European, American, especially Filipino.
From clay figurines, to tapestries, to figures that are wooden, stone, painted, sculpted, ceramic or woven — as anyone can see by walking the grounds of her San Pablo café and bed and breakfast.
Her passions are nothing if not eclectic, her interests widely diverse. From elaborate embroidery to delicious Philippine cuisine to using worm bins to produce compost for her bananas, coconuts, lanzones, papayas, raspberries, tomatoes and okra.
Fashion is chief among her passions.
“I do one of a kind. My customers abroad, they’re now dressed up, they’re wearing my jackets and they’re like, ‘We don’t see anything like this,’ she said during our interview at Patis-Tito Garden Café.
She stressed how discipline is of crucial importance to a designer bringing her talents and abilities to fruition. “Creativity, for me, means you really have to have discipline.”
Artinsite attended her fashion show that featured collaboration with Easecox (a health and beauty brand) at the Manila Polo Club. Patis Tesoro once again made it unusual.
The event was attended by VIP guests and Tesoro aficionados anticipating what new tasty looks Patis will give them. Everyone was excited.
There were about 67 offerings that enhanced the vibe of the show. Jackets with painted designs by the autistic children she mentors. The festival of color and the bold experimental nature of her creations were — for lack of a better word — awesome.
On working with the autistic children she said: “I consider everybody an artist, all skilled in their own way.
“They had mentors and families here. There were 10 children. The key is to keep it simple. I sent them out to the grounds and said, Look around here in the Philippine garden. Look around and draw what you see. And what they came up with was so good.”
Her designs displayed a mixture from metallic to reenergized retro.
Easecox chose models who were not size 0. Easecox is an international brand of undergarment that helps women with different body types “sculpt the beautiful body contours they desire.” The line is branded Diamant, French for Diamond.
Patis described her fashions as a journey of many decades, accentuated by her focus on the handmade weaving of indigenous tribes.
“I have been studying Filipino culture and art for 40 years,” she said, chopping vegetables for her luncheon guests, “and there is still so much I don’t know. I’m still learning.
“But if you want to keep culture alive by using fashion, you have to modernize it. You can’t do it as a costume. I adapt it to something modern people can wear. Short jackets, dress jackets that you can wear anywhere, that you can wear abroad.”
Fashion by definition, she said, has to be what’s happening now. There was a time when “the style would last a hundred years, now you are lucky if it’s 10 years or five, it’s always having to be something else.”
It is a dream, she says, “but to make the dream come true, you have to show it.”
She uses her foundation to teach local apprentices embroidery by hand or machine. She also wants to expand it to growing and harvesting Filipino food and Philippine cuisine.
San Pablo’s Renaissance Woman is fearless about creativity through rediscovery. That’s her claim to fame. Her talent serves as a vehicle for her inspiration.
Film by Owen Suerte