Photos by Star Sabroso
Former race car driver turned designer Mark Bumgarner collaborates with celebrity turned painter Heart Evangelista – also known as Love Marie by her peers outside of showbiz – in a 40-piece dress collection, 18 of which were hand painted by Heart herself.
Mark and Love Marie met through stylist Kat Cruz through a beauty campaign project, and from then on became friends. And now, their friendship has blossomed into an artistic partnership. “She’s so easy to work with and she gives me freedom, and asks Kat for direction. When Kat introduced us, after that it’s like, not work anymore,” says Mark. The collaboration started when the two were fitting and discussed about painting bags and shoes and eventually agreeing on painting dresses. “We slowly started making stuff even there was no set plan yet,” says Mark.
“You know, you have the fast fashion, it’s ready made, (and) somewhere along the way you lose your individuality and you kind of look like everybody else,” explains Love Marie. “You want to be original, you want to be unique when people see you. ‘Oh, this is who she is, this is her personality, this is what she likes to wear,’ so I started to go to Mark, because I wanted a certain look and Mark would create it for me until we expounded on painting our shoes. (Then) I started painting on bags and then we did the whole painting on dresses, so that’s how I guess it all started,” she explains.
Inspired by a woman’s femininity, the collection will feature silhouettes for different personalities unified by beauty of fluid art by Love Marie and Marks’ design, with a lot of attention to detail. “I don’t always have the same woman in mind. For example Love Marie, or someone else, it’s really different; there are many different parts of the collection that shows the woman I imagined dressing,” says Mark.
“It’s also hard to give them away,” adds Love Marie. “It’s really hard to share them but in a way, that’s why I love the idea, it kind of immortalizes you. When you pass and you leave your paintings behind, it immortalizes you and people will remember you for that. So whoever gets the dress, you can wear it and then you can cut it or you can frame it.”
Dubbed as a collection with a heart, the pieces will be showcased during the fashion show gala on January 18 at the Dusit Thani Ballroom where some of the dresses will be auctioned off for the benefit of the Corridor of Hope Foundation and Thalassemia International Association (formerly Balikatang Thalassemia Foundation). One of the first dresses revealed during the press con will be auctioned off, with proceeds to go to the Corridor of Hope which is close to the heart of Love Marie. “I used to teach paintings to the patients there in St. Luke’s. All the women have very inspiring stories. This dress is dedicated to them, that’s why we want to make it light and very feminine,” she shares.
The gala will serve as the launch of a fruitful partnership between Mark and Love Marie, as they will be accepting commissioned work even after the show. January 18’s gala is produced by Fearless Productions Inc. with co-presenters Mazda and Dusit Thani Manila. Other sponsors of the event are Bettina Araneta Aboitiz, New San Jose Builders, Inc., Frabelle Corporation, Philippine Estates Corporation, GoPro, Mac Cosmetics, Creations by Lourd Ramos, Grey Goose, Janylin, and Albert Kurniawan.