Saturday, March 18, 2006


By Alex Vergara

PDI/MARCH 17,2006

Two years after coming up with his first pair of made-to-order jeans, Victorino "Ino" Caluza still feels a
bit queasy whenever people describe his creations as "couture."

Apart from its trademark leather trimmings on the back pockets, V-shaped belt loops and ocassional
hint of Swarovski beads, Caluza's jeans line under his very own Viktor (6880357) label is bereft of
major embellishments. Of course, something as de rigueur as top-stitching doesnt count.

"People always associate couture with decorations,"he says. "I'm more concerned with the fit. But
if you consider made-to-order stuff couture, then my jeans probably are."

The former art director of an in-flight magazine may balk at putting too much trimmings on his
jeans, but he's proud of the fact that not a few of his clients went home happy after slipping into
perfect-fitting pair.

Caluza's love affair with jeans and his search for the ideal but affordable pair led him design his own.He
even designed a suit made entirely of denim when doing so was unheard in the Philippines.

"Friends started noticing what I was wearing and, before I knew it, I was already taking their orders,"he says.
"To cater to a growing clientele, I will be opening my first mall outlet on April 1 at the fourth level of
The Podium."

At the end of the day, he adds, finding the right pair of jeans has nothing to do with its brand, price and
yes, embellishments. It has everything to do with fit.This explains why a growing number of clients are
willing to brave the traffic and spend precious time fitting.

"It doesn't matter if a pair costs a mere P250," adds Caluza. "If the fit is perfect, chances are you are
going to wear it more often than the more expensive but ill-fitting imported pair."


In fact, Caluza seems to have learned by heart the typical Filipino's figure flaws. Not a few young women,for
instance, have big hips and small waistlines. Most guys, on the other hand, have short legs, flat behinds
and ample waistlines.

He advises women with big hips to invest in good pair or two flattering boot-cut jeans.But the short guy is
better of sticking to straight legs, as the boot-cut silhouette can only make himlook smaller.

"Men with less-than-ample behinds should look for the right low-rise jeans," Caluza adds.

Addressing a person's specific figure is just half of it. Before Caluza sits down and takes a client's
measurements, he first conducts a so called lifestyle assessment.

"I usually recommend a style jeans based primarily on what client does," he says. "It also helps to know
if he or she is a day or night person. If the client loves to party, then he or she would need a more
unique or striking pair."

Caluza may have limited his offerings to three design series V(P3700-P4000), VP (P4900) and premium
VX (P5000-P5500)-but each presents numerous "permutations" that are limited only by the user's
imagination and chutzpah.

For starters, the designer has a wide range of materials in various colors, washes, weights and grades
at his disposal.After his first year in the business, he added cotton twill, canvass and even camouflage--
as in military jigsaw print---to his extensive inventory of denim fabrics.

"Rambo meets "Brokeback Mountain?"Couture jeans has never looked this radical.

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