All Michael Leyva wanted to do was have fun with his newest collection—the runway was a true testament to it.
The three-day affair at Bench Fashion Week revealed its final showcase with veteran designer Michael Leyva taking over the runway. Leyva is popularly known for his stunning couture pieces and evening gown collections and has been a go-to designers for many celebrities for more than a decade.
However, his Spring-Summer 2023 collection with Bench proved his versatility as a designer and continues to capture anyone’s attention. Vogue Philippines caught up with Leyva backstage at his recent show.
The frenetic energy at the start of every show can be nerve-wracking with models flitting about, makeup and hair styling teams doing last minute touch ups. Leyva, however, is his usual calm and collected self running through a gamut of last minute styling decisions.
“This collection is something new. I just want to have fun,” Leyva quips. “I’ve always been known to work with voluminous couture gowns on the runway, but this time, it’s something fun.”
The show hadn’t started, and it already seemed like “fun” was truly the spirit and theme of the night. Laughter and friendly cheer echoed backstage as the front-row seats on the other side of the stage started to fill.
What better way to start a party than to blast Queen B as the opening track? A fierce remix of Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul” set the mood for Leyva’s show as his models let loose on the runway. The designer revealed moments before the show that he told his models to have fun and dance.
“The models are going to be dancing to the music while walking down the runway,” Leyva says with a grin. “So it’s something new for me, and it’s really a very special collection.”
Not only was there dancing, but themes of celebration and playfulness were also translated into the designer’s pieces. Each stunning look was the furthest thing away from neutral—Leyva incorporated bright and vibrant colors into his collection. He shared that this was the first time he’s ever done a collection so colorful before.
Resemblant to what one would wear at a New Year’s Eve party, several of the collection’s pieces had a fun play on sequins, glitter, and sparkle. Leyva incorporated a lot of color coordination and pairing with each look. Intricately beaded mini and midi skirts were paired with cropped beaded tops, while the menswear looks had the most vibrant play on monochrome ensembles.
The collection also featured playful necklines, lots of billowing sleeves, bright summer-inspired gowns, statement accessories, and beautifully draped off-the-shoulder fabrics, which tied most pieces together. Leyva told Vogue Philippines that he wanted to give emphasis on silhouettes. “Silhouettes. Different silhouettes,” the designer shares. “I wanted something to represent a collection that’s young and fresh.”
His final look was a sight to behold. An incredible evening gown with the softest tones of blue made its grand appearance on the runway. Embellished with a myriad of Swarovski crystals and delicately adorned with ostrich feathers, Leyva once again proves his mastery over his craft.
A Collection To Celebrate
Leyva’s collection amplifies the joy of celebration. Every detail of the show—from all the colors, to the collection’s sartorial ease, and even to the runway soundtrack—was an ode to celebrating life. It was a stunning reflection of Leyva’s optimistic disposition when it comes to his designs, stemming from a sincere willingness to step out of his comfort zone.
The vibrancy of youth was intertwined with the overall production of the show. The designer’s intrinsic value is to always make a visually stunning statement in every collection he creates. But above everything, his heart is filled with gratitude.
“It’s a great opportunity for me as a young designer to showcase my work on a platform like this. I am honored to be able to do this collection,” Leyva declares.
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