Fashion

Viktor, the Premium Filipino Denim Line, Gets an Overhaul

From label to color to design.
IMAGE Jilson Tiu
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You can say it all started with the logo. After 14 years, Filipino designer Ino Caluza wanted to redesign the label of his premium denim brand Viktor. And this took a while, about a year actually, from the time he broached the subject with his friend, Rick Gindap of the creative studio Design for Tomorrow, to finally producing the stitched (not printed) labels in Hong Kong.

The rectangular tag now sports a solid all-caps style—white letters on a field of tinted blue, which was inspired by the famous blue color that artist Yves Klein invented. Ino mixed his original color, too.

The refreshed logo of premium denim company Viktor features a streamlined font that mirrors discreet luxury and a blue that founder Ino Caluza mixed himself. IMAGE: Jilson Tiu

But before that, there was a version, the fifth iteration, that the denim master approved, but then quickly changed his mind about. “It was not me because it was too edgy, and I’m not edgy,” the designer says. Viktor, after all, makes inimitable custom creations, deep-dyed in indigo and cut dangerously thin, that can only be described as slinky or sexy, not funky or weird.

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Had that zippy logo been presented years ago, he would have been all over it, but right now Ino is thinking about brand equity. “I want people to know that the kind of luxury that we offer is not loud,” he says. 

Ino points to the flowers, butterflies, and letters on back pockets, flourishes that some clients insisted on and the designer agreed upon because he was running a business. He doesn’t want to do that anymore.

Viktor has grown up, and its designer is focusing on the craftsmanship, personalization, and exclusivity that earned the local brand a space in the closets of businessmen, politicians, actors, and the secretly rich. 

With a focus on exclusivity, the overhaul narrows the jeans selection to five of the very best. IMAGE: Jilson Tiu

Jacket, shirt, jeans by Viktor, Greenbelt 5; Papa Nui cap at Signet; eyeglasses by Ray-Ban, Vision Express

What does this mean for the denim? A lot of editing. The brand’s over 40 jean designs have been whittled down to just five, but that’s the best five from the Viktor Original series.

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Ino wants you to subscribe to a more sophisticated approach to dressing: that a few solid pieces rather than a plethora of styles is better. Even if you stick to just one of the five styles, with different fabrics and silhouettes, he promises you will still look good and unique, which is really what his clients want.

The updated Viktor look also now includes full and fluid shapes with an emphasis on contrasting proportions. A recent trip to Paris was the inspiration. There were Muslim men wearing short but oversized jackets with long robes and other male peacocks in loose parkas with super skinny jeans plus short skirts. The contrast—puffy jackets pushing out fluid robes—was so beautiful. 

Jackets are back, but this time, they’re cut roomy and short.  IMAGE: Jilson Tiu

To create the look, the designer is reviving his jacket operations. “Before all my jackets were fitted and sharp. Now, it slopes down,” he describes.

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Ino stopped making jackets a while back because all the fast fashion brands were making them anyway. But his staff pointed out that whenever he put up prototypes for sale (like the Vetements-inspired hoodies from last season), people snapped them up. “I realize they buy the jackets because they’re distinct,” he shares.

One more thing: Fans of the discontinued jeans, from the Premium or Redux lines to super customized designs, need not worry as one-offs can be made, but for a higher cost. “I will be charging you more because I’m preventing you from doing just that.” Ino wants to follow his vision this time around.

Greenbelt 5 

In this story: Photographs by Jilson Tiu • Styling by Clifford Olandy • Grooming Apple Faraon • Hair Mong Amado • Model Raphael Kiefer • Production assistant Ednalyn Magnaye • Location Clock In, Makati Stock Exchange

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Clifford Olanday
Senior Fashion Editor, Esquire Philippines
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