December 01, 2006

Nicholas Stoodley - Living in the Twilight Zone Chapter 2

Tune in every Saturday as Nicholas recalls the Disco Decade in Manila when Martial Law, Cuban heels, Donna Summer, Coco Banana and a lot of hair combined in a frenzy of uncertain excitement.

Chapter 2 - Cold Turkey!

Waking the next morning in a strange bed in a strange house surrounded by strange people I was assured that we had all had a wonderful time: but HOW I wondered, and who with and what do I do now? And yet unknowingly I had already sown the seeds of my fate. Through the complicated maze of people who knew people who knew people, plans for my future were already being drawn up without me having to do anything at all.

I was, after all; so it had been discovered by someone during the previous evenings alcoholically fuelled reverie; an assistant of Valentino in Rome – even then one of the top designers in the world – and as such I was therefore a potential vehicle by which fame and fortune could be bestowed upon those lucky enough to get in quick. And get in quick they did. A few hours later I was already being offered money to open up one of the first – if not THE first - Ready to Wear Clothing stores in Manila.

Endulgence is his favorite occupation. On the terrace of his apartment in Rome with another Valentino assistant, 1975.

Not wishing to disabuse these moneyed potential backers that I had in fact been designing furniture, textiles and home decor for Valentino and NOT clothes, a deal was quickly signed. I was young and adventurous and besotted by the somewhat eclectic charms of a city that appeared to be both exciting and dangerous, exotic and insane and generally uncivilized compared to the much more structured existence I had vaguely enjoyed in Europe.

Thus was born NICHOLAS STOODLEY. I opened the first shop in Goldcrest Makati which in those days was reasonably smart and anyway one of the few places you actually could have a store in Makati! There was Rustans and Shoemart was just about to open but apart from that there were still green fields in the center.

It had been that simple and that fast! In a matter of weeks after arriving I had installed myself in a rented house in one of the Scout streets in Quezon City, had acquired a taciturn maid named Elving and an absolute terror that I must have gone soft in the head. For what did I actually KNOW about designing clothes? True I had once made a silk patchwork shirt for Picasso (another story) and was a designer but not of clothes please. Fashion actually bored me. I had spent much of my formative years rebelling against convention, fashion and the air-headed fixations of those that could not be seen in public without "dressing" for the occasion. It had been so fast and I had been, as so many foreigners were that ended up in Manila, flattered and feted and adored: my fabulous blue eyes and straight nose and Valentino. But reality bit deep one damp, gray morning in Scout Magbanua when I realized for the first time that a shop bearing my name would be opening in eight weeks and I had rather high expectations (mostly built on air) to live up to. Cold turkey!

Previously: Chapter 1 - An English Virgin

Start from the beginning! Read: Chapter 1 - An English Virgin

Nicholas Stoodley was born near London and has lived at one time or another in the South of France, Rome, Sydney, Tagaytay, England, Paris and Manila with plans to move to Ibiza shortly. A former assistant to Valentino in Rome, he arrived in Manila in 1976 and pioneered Ready to Wear in the Philippines with the NICHOLAS STOODLEY brand of casual clothing. During his stay in the Philippines Nicholas also won the PBA Invitational Basketball Conference in 1980 with his team from Los Angeles, designed and manufactured a Stainless Steel Sports Utility Jeep that was featured in the Frankfurt Motor Show and opened "Skatetown", a Roller Disco with Jorge Araneta in Cubao. And that was just the first course!

Technorati Tags:, ,


Anonymous said...

Mmmm Nicholas still in Manila South sea bubble seems so far away now.find me on facebook Carl Hill

Anonymous said...

I've been looking fo the nicholas stoodley shop here in manila, and I'm still searching if where else can I buy any clothes that bears his name.. Please please... let me know where can I get one..


The Latest Features & Headlines
Don't ever miss a post and be on top of the latest features and headlines:
Get All That Nostalgia Manila Goodness! Get a Nostalgia Manila Email Subscription today and enjoy all the benefits of this wondeful service. Today, if subscribers want to read / view / watch syndicated online content, they typically have to go to where the content is hosted, or know how to subscribe to the feed and consume the content within an aggregator or reader (e.g. MyYahoo!, FeedDemon, ect.). With a Nostalgia Manila Email Subscription, you will receive all that Nostalgia Manila goodness straight to your inbox, similar to an e-newsletter. This is delivered to you in easy-to-read, plain text or HTML email containing the latest Nostalgia Manila posts. What are you waiting for? Sign Up for a Nostalgia Manila Email Subscription today!

Let everyone know you have Nostalgia Fever!
Nostalgia Fever is quite a contagious thing, and the best way to spread it is to add this cute chicklet to your site. It's real easy! All you have to do is copy and paste the HTML code below (make sure you copy the entire code), add it to your own page, and you're done! Show your love for Nostalgia Manila and spread Nostalgia Fever today!