Fashion

How A Fashion Insider Stays Relevant in the Cutthroat Industry

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Lady Rustan designer Pia Regala-Hebron continues to face the challenge of keeping up with demanding consumers.
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Pia Regala-Hebron has become one of the stalwarts in women’s apparel at Rustan’s Department Store, instilling her clean lines, elegant silhouettes, and subdued color palette into a number of its collections.

After finishing college and completing a fashion design and styling course in Florence, Italy in the '90s, Hebron was chosen by the premier department store to work in its fashion department. Her creativity first shone through the brand Caravan, and matured by the time the JILL line launched. Eventually, she was asked to head eveningwear label LUNA.

Hebron and her family later moved to the U.S., but after eight years away, they returned to Manila, and Hebron was tasked with reviving Lady Rustan.

In her latest collection, the seasoned designer reinvented her classic style with the appealing aspects of tropical wear—flowy skirts, loose dresses, culottes, and asymmetric tops.

After the presentation, Town&Country caught up with the product manager and designer, who revealed the best part of her job, her go-to look, and designers she admires.

Can you tell us about Lady Rustan’s newest collection?

I always start with a color palette in mind. I concentrate on using fabrics that feel good to the skin, that move with the body, and have some weight to them. This inspires how I visualize the fall of the garments.

For this particular season, several styles have self-ties that one may choose to tie on the side or wrap around as loose or tight on the body as they would like to. I also combine the use of fabrics to soften the look and make the clothes even more feminine. There is a lightness to the pieces that I want the customers to feel when they are wearing the clothes. Most of them are loose, as the summertime for me is all about being outdoors. I think it was quite natural for me to be inspired by the colors of nature: the sky, sand, and sea.

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What do you love most about your job?

I get so much fulfillment from having what I envision come to fruition and seeing our customers love what they buy. As a product manager and designer, I enjoy the balance of the job’s creative, intuitive, and strategic functions. I also believe in helping our local manufacturers grow and expand together with Rustan’s and creating products that we can take pride in.

What challenges do you face regularly?

Longevity and relevance—adapting to the changing times, where everyone has access to the internet. With new brands developing every day, it can be a challenge for my role to keep up and maintain an active social media presence in a way that today’s consumer demands.

What’s your go-to look?

Ultimately, my go-to look is anything comfortable, feminine, and uncomplicated. For work, I usually wear a feminine top paired with culottes and heels or a more formal dress if I have an important meeting or an event after work. On weekends, when I’m with my children, I’m usually in sandals or sneakers with a jumpsuit, a casual top, and dressy shorts or maybe a soft dress. I gravitate towards neutral colors and soft shades and rarely wear prints. I often wear white because it makes me feel fresh and neat.


Pia Regala Hebron

How do you accessorize?

I usually like to keep it pared down and focus on one accessory, whether it’s a bracelet, a necklace or pretty earrings- never all together. I could wear a simple dress but highlight my shoes or purse.

Who are your favorite designers?

I admire several local designers and brands like Len Cabili and her brand Filip+Inna. She has really made her mark in the global market and brought to light our indigenous fabric and culture while helping our local artisans. Zacarias and Rhett Eala are also among the designers I think highly of.

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What’s your idea of luxury?

Luxury is more of an experience rather than a particular thing or object. Anything that takes me away from the stresses of everyday life is my idea of luxury—more time with my kids, long lunches with family and friends, beach trips, or two-hour massages!

How would you define style?

As a designer, style is the particularly unique approach one takes in presenting one’s self to the world.

See the Lady Rustan spring/summer 2018 collection below:

 















Lady Rustan is available at Rustan's branches nationwide.

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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