Cecil Ravelas is a walking, talking, breathing version of an artwork one might find in a very stylish shop…at least that’s what I thought when I met her at Lagun Hotel (which she interior designed) in El Nido during a Smile Magazine shoot last October. She had on a shapeless mustard dress in soft linen and major statement earrings to offset the plain garment and looked particularly eye-catching, immediately giving off that fashuuuun vibe well-dressed individuals have, however simple their outfits may be. She had It and seemed like a really nice lady, so naturally I was intrigued and wanted to know more. Once I started to engage with Cecil, I found it hard to stop exchanging views, both creative and otherwise. She’s someone who puts you immediately at ease, whatever topic you choose to tackle; in our case it was design, fashion, food, travel and shopping (while travelling)! Cecil is funny, intelligent, generous with her time, advice and a shopaholic—probably my favorite personality combination; seeing a small part of her closet got me ooooing and ahhhing at the merch, mostly bought in their countries of origin for a fraction of the price compared to Manila. This also told me she is a practical person who happens to love nice things. Her design aesthetic—as seen here at the S.C. Vizcarra and Beautiqua shop in Shangri-La Plaza mall—is just as intriguing, inventive and original as she is. I asked how her staff did the beehive-like design of the Beautiqua display (inspired by the chemical structure symbol of Hyalauronic acid, the shared ingredient of the skincare products that promises young-looking skin) from cut wood and she just replied with a laugh na “na-stress sila.” Only a beautiful mind can think of such a design: an accessible work of art worthy of exhibit.
More of this brilliant designer and stellar human being below.
What she does Interior Designer
Personal style Depends on my mood. My constant is really more androgynous, modern minimalist, architectural, utilitarian, comfortable.
On appearance and why it matters How you look sets the mood anywhere you go. I always tell my staff to dress well even when going to job sites. If you look nice, then you have better chances of being heard, you feel good and you spread cheer to those around you. People feel good and are more attentive when they see you well dressed.
Her days be like Hectic! Now I start my day with my trainer. I am trying to do regular exercise to become more healthy; then my busy day begins with me shuttling between client meetings, job site visits then office work. In the evening, I try to join friends for dinner or just have a few glasses of wine with them or sometimes just more dinner meetings for me. In between, I manage to attend some events. Otherwise, I am in a plane off to a site for ocular or a factory visit. Saturday morning I swim with my coach & my high school friends and then do salon or lunch then attend learning workshops. Sunday is my lounging and quiet day. For leisure I travel to eat, take photos, discover new places & meet new friends.
Favorite designers and shopping haunts Atsuro Tatsuyama, Issey Miyake, Marimekko, Christian Dior, Valentino, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen.
I have very limited options in Manila because of sizing so I shop when I travel. Most of my shopping I do outside when I travel to Hong Kong, Milan or London—it’s the cities I visit regularly. COS is my staple then a few pieces from Atsuro Tatsuyama, 45R, Issey, Marimekko. In Milan, there are nice local shops I go to – 120% Lino, Liviana Conti and then there’s La Rinascente!
Top 5 closet staples Shoes, Shoes & Shoes! My Repetto & Gucci ballet flats, Adidas sneakers and Doc Martens. My Dior Studded denim coat, Harlan & Holden cabin dress, scarves and bags!
Celebrity crush Angelina Jolie
Online surfing Dezeen, Design Milk, Dior, Valentino
Reading material Architectural digest, Interior Design magazines, Vogue
Style evolution I now go for comfort, less detail; more minimal but structural, more particular in pieces. I am still attracted to unique pieces. When I was younger and smaller I can wear anything—I had an ethnic phase, lacy, ruffly phase, jeans & shirt phase, mini skirts, sheer dresses, corsets–name it and I have it! I guess I wore it all, haha! Now I am more selective and comfort is non-negotiable.
Current uniform color black is my uniform! It’s easy to dress up and dress down so a black dress is my uniform paired with red bags or shoes.