Channeling Coral

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

CORALS come in a multitude of colors as unlimited as the reefs they thrive in. Designer Mel Maria says he is “mesmerized by their shapes, color and their importance to our wide variety of marine life and to humans.” This collection is inspired by the red coral in particular, which is considered one of the most precious types of coral.

Considering the many shapes that the red coral comes in, Mel said he manipulated fabrics to complement the different curves of women’s bodies. He selected different hues inspired by the red coral to complement different skin tones.

Mel worked with pure silk organza, pure silk taffeta, chiffon and tulle to craft these coral-inspired creations. He combined heftier fabrics with light ones to create a unique shape for each dress, and accentuated these with Swarovski crystals and embroidery.


A strapless dress has a princess-cut neckline that flatters most figures, as it frames and enhances a woman’s bust. Cinching fabric at the waist then letting it fall closely to the body creates an hourglass figure and a lengthening silhouette.

For a completely different shape, a dress is creatively draped all over, with an off-center dip for a different take on a plunging neckline. The dress’s irregular shape in its crimson color is reminiscent of red coral growing and branching out every which way in the reef.

Another dress in a red-orange hue features a sheer skirt, with red embroidery at the shoulder, waist and hip. The sheerness of the tulle skirt is balanced out by the draped and folded bodice.

Playing with sheer fabrics and cutouts, Mel uses these to show off the alluring parts of a woman’s figure: hips, legs, and decolletage.

With these red coral-inspired pieces, the designer hopes to offer dresses that make a woman feel lucky, festive and powerful, while complimenting her individual figure and personality.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 25, 2014.


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