Despite the fact that haute couture creations know no bounds, the concept is quite simple: create high fashion garments by painstakingly constructing them by hand, with unique, quality materials. Budget and time constraints are of no importance; haute couture embodies works of art, and the runway is the exhibition space

Filipino designer Cary Santiago is still considered a bit of a newbie on the haute couture scene, but that doesn’t make him any less influential. He rarely pays attention to past or current fashions. Santiago’s design inspiration derives completely from art, history and culture, and as an old soul, he is rarely excited by new things. However, three cities rouse his excitement. Paris, for such spots as the Ancient Quarters and Notre Dame. Beirut, Lebanon, because it’s the ancient Phoenicia full of great temples and palaces.

And New Delhi, India, for the people who wear colors and fashions that other cultures don’t dare to wear that date back to the time of Alexander. In fact, the Ajanta caves were the inspiration for his first Philippine Fashion Week Collection. For fall 2014, his sleek fitted designs have added elements of origami, as intricate layers fan out from bustiers and gown bottoms.

Published in Runway Fall 2014.