Bag Review: Joanique Maskara Hard Case

I rarely write about Philippine- made bags. There are a number of talented designers that are actually worth the mention, but I had not yet seen anything “different” from the other bags that I have already seen in the past. I am also more interested not just in the design and manufacturing aspect of the Filipino designer, but am also interested in the designer’s character. Call me super critical when it comes to Filipino designers, but over the years I’ve developed a distate for unethical behavior and arrogance of some of these industry achievers. I think there is a fine line between having pride about your work, and flat out arrogance. In the end, before I feature the work of any Filipino or Filipina, I really gauge their character along with their work (from customers, friends, & industry insiders). Sorry, I know this might seem harsh but I tell it like it is because I’m way too old for B.S. haha 🙂

Anyway, bags that have made it on this blog have always been something I find noteworthy– either I would personally carry it or I really dislike it and would never buy it. Or hah, if there is a controversial story about it. There are also bags that make it on the blog because of their attractive price points and their style “longevity”– at least in my opinion.

At the L’Officiel Manila’s anniversary party the other night, I bumped into fellow mom and designer Malou Romero. Malou is an acquaintance whom I met a few years ago when she was an entrepreneur who sold beautiful and affordable statement jewellery made with cut stones. She has since evolved into an accessories designer, having participated in the prestigious Premiere Classe held in Paris about the same time as fashion week. I knew she began designing and making bags but had yet to see the talked- about hard case clutch bags up close. I also didn’t know where else to see them in retail– I’m not even sure she sold them in any Manila outlet.

I finally saw one of the bags carried by the designer herself. It was from her Maskara collection, and the bag resembled exactly that– a maskara or a mask. It was beautiful. Different. And I had to take a quick photo of it as I left the party.


That bag has piqued my curiosity and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her work.

I particularly loved these 2 from her website:

The same design but in full color 🙂

And this black and white one which will definitely get a lot of use:

There are more bags on the Joanique website though most designs are sold out 😉 That said, I am happy to have seen her work, and am really impressed. Can’t wait to see her next collection!


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