Michael Cinco: From Samar to Dubai to Hollywood

by Janet Nepales December 15, 2013

Michael Cinco, the soft-spoken fashion designer who hails from Samar, Philippines, first made waves in Hollywood when Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara wore his sexy beaded black gown in last January's Golden Globes. The voluptuous actress landed on the best-dressed lists of most of the fashion critics and on the covers of magazines while wearing Michael Cinco’s stunning creation. Unknown to many, the 42-year-old designer is no stranger to dressing Hollywood celebrities since he has already dressed Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Chris Brown, Fergie, Paris Hilton, Dita Von Teese, Mischa Barton and Nicole Scherzinger, to name a few. When you see a Michael Cinco gown, you immediately recognize the artistry, attention to detail and hard work that he dedicates on every gown or dress. The first time we saw Michael in action was when he had his first fashion show in Los Angeles at Vibiana in Downtown L.A. during L.A. Fashion Week. He made such an impression that most fashion critics described his work as “dramatic,” “original” and “breathtaking.” Even his colleague, first Filipino Oscar Designer Challenge finalist, Alan Del Rosario, takes his hat off to Michael. “I have always admired Michael’s work and I am really impressed with his designs,” Alan said. Michael already has had shows in Miami, New York, London, Dubai and Manila. Wearing his signature dark sunglasses, Michael admitted that he makes it a point to go to Manila every year to participate in the Philippine Fashion Week. “This is where I started so I just want to give back by showcasing my creations in the Philippines,” he said. Michael described to us his Filipino roots: “I grew up in the picturesque town of Catbalogan, Samar which provided me with a lush setting where my imagination would run in wild abandon. As a child, I remember watching classic Hollywood movies in black and white. I was so amazed by the couture gowns worn by Hollywood icons like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford. I think those were the fashion icons that inspired me to be a fashion designer. “ Michael was devastated when Samar, which is in the Visayan region of the Philippines, was one of the areas badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan. “My heart bleeds for my fellow countrymen who were affected by the typhoon,” he shared. Michael was a state scholar at one of the top universities in Manila, the University of the Philippines. Then he studied fashion design at Slim's Fashion and Arts School in Manila and went to London for further studies in fashion and pattern making at the Central Saint Martin's College of Arts and Design. Michael won the 2011 Breakthrough Designer Award in WGSN Global Fashion Awards in New York where he competed with international designers from the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and America. He was the first Filipino designer to be featured in the top-rated show, “America’s Next Top Model (ANTM),” for two consecutive seasons. As for the Philippines, Michael said, “I usually visit the Philippines twice or thrice a year. I always support the Philippine Fashion Week where I showcase my latest collection. I always feel proud when my fellow Filipinos appreciates my work. I love going back to my home in Samar to spend time with my family.” For his recent Philippine show, Michael, who makes the gowns in Dubai, used tulle, lace and organza. “I want to use indigenous materials from the Philippines like piña and abaca in my next collection,” he shared. “Who knows, after my trip home, I'll be inspired to do a collection about Filipino culture.” After Philippine Fashion Week, Michael proceeded to Russia for another show and some R&R. So what keeps Michael Cinco going? Where does he get his drive and passion, we asked. “I’m inspired when I’m in love!” To check out the Michael Cinco fashion photo gallery, click here!