Tucked away in a boutique hotel, on a side street in the Makati district of Manila, I sipped my coffee on the balcony of my hotel room. Beneath me the city was already awake–the day after Christmas and life is back to normal here in the capitol city of the Philippines. Morning mugginess lifted to my 8th floor hotel suite as I heard my second wake up call ringing inside. 8am, and I was prepping for my day of work here in Manila.

I met Karl and Aly in the lobby of my hotel, and after years of emailing and being in contact, it felt like meeting old friends. The voices and masterminds the sweetheart brand of the Philippines, GOLD DOT, swooped me up and took me on a full day adventure of the city they call home. We spent the day half working, and half taking in the city that inspires the design for their collection. GOLD DOT, which came on the US scene last year with a debut offering right here at Solestruck, has become a favorite with forward fashionistas who love the minimal meets avant garde direction behind the shoes. I have been following Karl’s blog for over five years and consider myself a huge fan among his legions of followers—-meeting these two was a pleasure to say the least. We jumped in the car and dashed off to a lunch meeting and meet-up with Solestruck favorite Paul from OS ACCESSORIES. Over lunch we discussed both the new offerings from GOLD DOT which are headed to the site in January, and the direction of the lookbook we are shooting today—our first photo editorial in the Philippines. With Karl and Paul on direction, production and styling, you can imagine we are in for an in-your-face fashion full frontal. Here are a few images from our prep day—running some errands and taking in some sites around the city. I am just headed out to meet the team for an amazing shoot–stay tuned here for more!

All photos via Karl Leuterio see his blog here.