Fashion designer Paul Cabral to dress APEC's economic leaders, spouses

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Benigno Aquino III's couturier, Paul Cabral, has been selected to dress 21 economic leaders and their spouses for the annual family photo of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting.

Cabral has created 21 custom-made Barong Tagalogs for each of the leaders and variations of the embroidered formal shirt for the leaders' spouses to fit their economy's respective cultures.

"For every participating economy, we researched on their arts, culture, crafts, and used those as the basis for all our designs. So when you see the Barong Tagalogs, you can really identify them and say, ‘Ah, this is for Japan’ or ‘That one’s for Peru,'" he said in a statement.

The same tedious research has been applied to making the embroidered floral shirts for the spouses.

"For the First Lady of Japan, the design concept was based on the hanami or sakura festival, so we did cherry blossoms. These patterns were all hand-embroidered on a special type of piña fabric, which had been woven together with silk to make it sturdier," Cabral shared.

Related: Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue creates tokens, set for APEC economic leaders' welcome dinner

President Aquino will wear a Barong Tagalog with embroidered patterns inspired by Filipino ancestral houses. His trademark yellow ribbon will be a part of his ensemble.

Cabral was chosen for the project after a bidding. He has been working on it since April 2015.

He called the project a learning experience.

“As a designer, there is no greater honor than seeing one’s creation being worn by the different heads of economies. As a Filipino, it gives you so much dignity and pride,” he shared.

The APEC Leaders' Meeting's annual family photo will be on Friday (November 20), the day the leaders are expected to leave the country.