Nowadays, Sassa Jimenez is known for sleek and sexy modern silhouettes that mix traditionally masculine tailoring with feminine aesthetics. For this season’s Bench Fashion Week, however, the evening wear designer decided to go back to her roots with whimsical, ultra feminine pieces — much like the ones that launched her career years ago. Statement ruffles and piles of tulle sit atop slouchy shapes made from luxe fabrics for this collection, staying true to Sassa’s penchant for juxtaposition.
Sassa talks about Bench Fashion Week, her dog mom duties, and the possibility of entering the RTW industry.
How do you decide what fashion shows, collectives, and projects to take part in? Why did you decide to do Bench Fashion Week?
I usually take my time deciding on which shows I’d like to participate in because it always depends on my work schedule for the year. I really want to set aside time to immerse myself in planning for a show. I do 2 big collections or 3-4 capsule collections per year. If the timing is good, I will most likely join a show. I decided to work with Bench on their first year of Bench Fashion Week because I’ve always had a great experience working with them in the past. They really give us (designers) free reign on what we want to present in shows.
How has all the show prep been going? Is this experience any different from other fashion weeks you’ve participated in in the past?
Show prep has kept me really busy, and I have to admit it has kept me up some nights; but I always enjoy this part of my job. The mixture of nerves and excitement really makes me fall in love with my work all over again.
From the overall look and feel down to the materials and techniques you used, what’s this latest collection of yours like?
This collection is very reminiscent of my work when I was starting out in my 20’s. I wanted to pay homage to the aesthetic that catapulted my career in fashion. It’s very feminine, crafted with a lot of luxe fabric like silk gazar, tulle and satin. One thing that has changed though are the silhouettes. I incorporated pieces that have a relaxed fit like satin trousers and wrap around dresses.
What were your sources of inspiration for this collection?
I was heavily influenced by fairies and pixies and how they are depicted in story books then I married that idea with modern, almost masculine fashion techniques.
Your work has always exuded femininity but slowly, throughout the years there seems to have been a distinct shift in mood. What brought that about?
I started out quite early in the industry. I was only 21 when I did my first show, and looking back on my first few collections there was a distinct style but the sense of maturity and awareness of my market wasn’t there yet. Having done several collections in the past 9 years, my aesthetic is pretty much the same, but now I’m more mindful of comfort, salability and consumer appeal. Those elements really come into play now that my business has grown. Reviewing past work always reminds me that as a designer, it’s my job to keep improving my work. It’s not just about presenting beautiful clothes, it’s about refining your ideas and perfecting them.
Are there any pieces from this collection that you’re particularly fond of?
It’s always hard to pick a favorite. These dresses are my babies! But if I had to choose one, it would be the rust colored short dress with pockets. It’s an unusual shape, and I’ve used that pattern many times before but so far this is my favorite interpretation of that silhouette.
Other than this show, what else has been keeping you busy?
The collection I’m presenting at BFW is actually the first half of a big collection I’ve been developing these past few months. The second half will make its debut at Manila Fashion Festival later this month. Out of work, my dog Max always keeps me busy! I take my dog mom duties very seriously. Other than that, working on the construction of my new atelier and a coffee lounge I am opening in Tagaytay in a few months.
What are your plans for the brand? We know evening wear has always been your specialty but quite recently, you partnered up with Zalora for an off-the-rack capsule collection. Should we expect more RTW coming from you any time soon?
An RTW line is definitely in the works. Stay tuned!