The three-day affair featured some of the most exciting Filipino design talents tackling a variety of themes from sustainability to mental health awareness.
Hot off the heels of international fashion weeks, the Philippines also saw a series of fashion shows that showed off local styles and brands. And while the themes were wide-ranging, a celebratory mood underlined them all, especially in the recently concluded BYS Fashion Week.
Held in honor of the brand’s 10th anniversary in the Philippines, the first BYS Fashion Week was a three-day affair featuring nine brands, most of them emerging talent. After an extended period of online-only shows due to the pandemic restrictions and community quarantines, the in-person events were well attended with a remarkable representation of fashion industry insiders and celebrities, many of whom also walked the runways. Here are some of the highlights from BYS Fashion Week:
Day 1: A Bright Future
Sustainability was the name of the game with Randolf Clothing and Russell Villafuerte kickstarting the show with colorful upcycled clothing. Villafuerte did the seemingly impossible by coming in with two back-to-back shows, but his “corsets” made out of cut-up sneakers made the audience do a double take, as did his primary-colored coords and suit sets. Randolf Clothing, meanwhile, brought in his signature cheekily-embroidered shirts and refreshed the mesh fabrics and exaggerated utilitarian-wear so beloved by Aughts-era club kids. It only seemed proper that veteran models Ornusa Cadness, Sanya Smith, and Xtina Superstar walked his runway, joining drag superstar Minty Fresh in the cool kids club.
Cheetah Rivera and Jaz Cerezo meanwhile took on femininity and glamour. Rivera’s pastel dresses were pure fairytale romance, just stopping short of being saccharine thanks to the designer’s tight editing. A candy-colored coat balances a bare midriff and a golden mini-dress retains its ladylike appeal thanks to butterfly sleeves and strategically placed material. Decorous sensuality also ran through Cerezo’s creations, which, on paper, sounds quite a lot—glitter, daring cut-outs, volume—but were pulled off thanks to her light touch and balanced proportions.
Day 2: Breaking The Stigma
The second day of BYS Fashion Week came in strong with bold statement collections from Kaye Morales and Bonita Penaranda. Morales’ runway wasn’t for the weak of heart. “Unchained” went straight for the id with spiked masks, dominatrix-inspired gowns, a gung-ho palette of black, white, and red, and actress Arci Muñoz as a femme fatale closing the electric show. Meanwhile, JustBonita, the sexy and effervescent label of Bonita Penaranda, featured a euphoric collection—inspired by a telltale show. Miss Philippines Universe Celeste Cortesi headlined the show, which had a grand, house party-like atmosphere. Feathered headgear and skin-baring ensembles toed the line between resort wear and a party at the hottest club in town.
Day 3: Celebrating Individuality
The final day saw designers encouraging audiences to celebrate what makes them unique, sartorially and otherwise. ISSA’s show, the scarf label by actor and celebrity makeup artist Issa Pressman, began with a dance performance, followed by models sashaying down the runways in scarf-centric ensembles. Pressman’s hand-painted creations, inspired by her different travels, were styled in a myriad of ways—halter tops, handkerchief skirts, or layered over- or under body chain jewelry— complimented the wearer’s personality. For the finale, the designer’s sister Yassi Pressman walked out in a black bustier and skivvies set featuring an intricate tiered train with an ISSA scarf sewn into it. The look, reminiscent of a “Lady Marmalade” video, sent crowds into raucous uproar.
Later that night, Cruz Manila and Thian Rodriguez both presented their creations and both challenged dressing norms. Cruz Manila’s ensembles were big proponents of genderless clothing—boxy two-piece suit ensembles in black velvet and silver sequins, a boiler suit in patent leather, and a number of male models wearing cropped blazers and pleated A-line midi skirts.
Meanwhile, punk saw a glamorized resurgence at Thian Rodriguez’s finale show. Utilitarian crop tops featuring actual zipped-up compartments in lieu of pockets, cargo pants in vivid red, and toughened-up denim patchwork lined the show. There was also an edit of metal throughout: chains, spikes, pins, and all sorts of hardware were tacked, embroidered, and sewn onto the magnetic pieces. Nadine Lustre, longtime BYS collaborator for her makeup line, Lustrous, stunned audiences when she closed the show—and three-day event—in a cross between a bralette and a harness top with chains, straps, and thick choker, paired with a shimmery voluminous tiered black skirt and leather gloves. If Rodriguez’s runway is war, Lustre is his commanding general.