A passion and a plan: Styling tips by Basil


MEET stylist and visual merchandiser Basil Nino Yap Cabaral: He’s been in the style business for 11 years. He first took interest in this career after seeing two people dress up a mannequin and setting up props while he was on vacation abroad during his college years.

As he was practicing visual merchandising, he decided to venture into his own company years later: Fraction Events and Marketing Arm. The company was established in response to numerous clients seeking his expertise, bringing visions to life from curated dinners and brand launchings to hotel functions and thematic events. He leads the team as creative director and curator/stylist.

Some of the brands the company has worked with include Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort Residences, Seda Ayala Center Cebu, Maayo Hotel, Rustan’s Department Store, Ayala Center Cebu and Taft Properties.

Being one of the city’s go-to experts in the field, Cabaral shares some tips for aspiring stylists to give them an idea on what to look forward to and the things to keep in mind.

Study your client thoroughly

Though one may have a ton of ideas, it’s always important to keep in mind that the client’s needs and desires should be the priority.

“Understand their demands, wants and needs. This is important for you to be able to prepare and present a revise-proof plan,” he said. “Always remember that the event you are doing or styling is theirs. Try to incorporate the clients’ visions to yours and never reject a suggestion without first considering it.”

Have a solid plan

For Cabaral, it comes down to the theme and full focus whether the occasion calls for taking care of window displays or styling small- and big-scale events.

“Focus on the objective of the event you are doing. Base your theme on it and stick to it,” he said. “Your theme now becomes your solid plan. Align every aspect of your styling to your theme.”

The devil is in the details

Styling doesn’t just take mixing and matching things. It takes learning the craft and paying attention to the details, big and small, which makes all the difference.

“You will never achieve an English High Tea rendezvous with tropical flowers. Same as using your crystal candelabras for a garden-themed party. It just won’t work. Details include colors, patterns, furniture, dinnerware, flatware, food and drinks,” he cited, adding the importance of coordination. “I would never recommend a French Palais theme if the venue is a Chinese restaurant—and add chopsticks to my French table setting?

Flawed execution is a chance to make things better

He said that it’s a given how no matter how much one plans and prepares for a job, something, somewhere might turn out to one’s liking. This, for Cabaral, gives stylists an avenue for improvement and growth.

“Never dwell on it and do not let it stop you. Use that flaw to elevate your styling,” he said. When asked about other challenges stylists may face, one of the things he mentioned was the possibility of a client having some last-minute changes. This can be a difficult situation. The best solution? Prevention.

“Prevent this from happening by selling the idea to your client vividly. Make them understand the details of your plans and make sure you have covered every request, question and demand before finalizing it,” he added. It’s always good to be quick and think out of the box.

Enjoy what you do and love your job

According to Cabaral, above all else, loving your job is the most important thing.

“Remember that this job is all about providing a venue for some of your clients’ most memorable and enjoyable occasion,” he said. Also, it’s good to look forward to some of the parts in the making of a project. For him, it’s always the outcome and the satisfaction of the client that he looks forward to when taking on a project.

“It makes me so happy to be able to deliver the needs and the wants of our clients.” (Contributed photos)


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