Fashion and music converge as SB19 closes the curtain on Neric Beltran’s return to the runway at BYS Fashion Week 2023.
“He knows the style DNA of the boys by heart,” says stylist Rain Dagala on working with SB19 for Neric Beltran’s newest collection at BYS Fashion Week 2023.
Five-member group SB19 are known trailblazers in Pinoy Pop. Having long been dubbed the “Kings of P-Pop,” Pablo, Josh, Stell, Ken, and Justin’s extensive training and chart-topping hits allow them to lay rightful claim to the title.
Pick apart the boy group, and you will find five distinct personalities and five equally unique personal styles, all of which their tandem stylists Rain Dagala and Em Millan regularly interpret. “There is complete trust,” says Dagala, after almost a year of working with SB19. “No one goes on stage without looking and feeling their best to be able to give the audience what they deserve.”
For Dagala and Millan, the designer that fulfills this objective time and again is the industry-renowned Neric Beltran, whose bespoke pieces call for center stage. “Neric’s output and design process has always resonated with us and SB19,” Dagala tells Vogue Philippines. “It is a product of a strong point of view, hard work, and good work ethic.”
For all parties involved, the connection was easy. By now, the Neric Beltran atelier has transformed into something of a second home for the band—it’s where all their fittings take place. “We have shared a lot of good times and crafted the best ideas over good food and wine in that house,” Dagala muses.
After cultivating this designer-muse relationship, it was a “no-brainer to ask the boys if they wanted to be part of my show.” Beltran says, “I feel that SB19’s style aesthetics are in sync with what my brand is all about.”
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in your shoe.”
The perennial adage was the starting point for Beltran’s first foray into bridal. After premiering his finale look—a hand-embroidered long-line men’s jacket featuring trailing pearls, crystals, beads, and sequins—the lights dim. Heavy beats soften to transition to the starting notes of the slow, bass-heavy track “I Want You.”
The members of SB19 step out onto Beltran’s aisle, dressed in his botanical renditions. “The pieces that [they wear] complete the show’s story,” the designer muses. “They are my something blue.”
Each look was uniquely tailored to each member, designed to convey something of their style, and finished with meticulous detail telling of Beltran’s sensibilities.
Josh wore crisp, tailored separates, symmetrically lined with flat, floral embellishments. He was followed by Stell, in a diaphanous tank and baby blue pants—a supersized bow trailing behind him. Next to serenade the crowd was group leader Pablo, who wore a subtly embellished tweed shirt. Behind him, Ken followed in a coat fashioned into a blooming blue bouquet. Justin was the last member to walk out, wearing a sheer floral top punctuated by a playful Peter Pan collar lined with glittering gemstones.
“Sharp tailoring, unconventional silhouettes, and complex embellishments characterized by high-level workmanship are the key attributes present in their looks,” Dagala explains of the designs tailored to each member, noting that the looks are a blend of his design motifs. He continues, “This is Neric’s way of honoring the good relationship he nurtured with the group and the mad respect they have for one another.”
Beltran’s pristine bridal entourage graced the aisle in radiant, dewy skin. Each model appeared almost luminescent under the bright lights, a healthy coral flush gracing the apples of their cheeks. Similarly, the members sported a glow-from-within radiance, materializing before the crowd with supple skin-like skin, faint blush, and well-groomed brows.
“We just wanted [everyone] to look like glowing and happy brides,” shares Dagala on the collection’s beauty direction. “We did not want anything that would distract or turn the eye away from the clothes, so we just wanted them blushing, glowing.”
Contrary to the group’s trademark bold eye looks and darker palettes, the members’ facial features were accentuated with only a soft, light liner applied around the eyes, their lips topped off with a sheer gloss. Hair was kept clean and sleek, with Josh and Ken flaunting their signature slicked back hair, Pablo’s tucked into a half ponytail, and Stell and Justin’s brushed and styled into a tidy part. Soft, simple, and straightforward.
“We just wanted the clothes to shine, really. All the embellishments you saw were painstakingly sewed one by one,” shares the stylist. “Walang fabric na binili si Neric with that print [Neric didn’t buy any fabric in that print]. He created those prints by himself, so we really wanted the eyes to go straight to the clothes.”
As the Kings of P-Pop sang to slow, dreamy melodies, the fresh array of reimagined bridalwear strung around them. The show then crescendoed into a flurry of florals and frills, rousing applause, and a touching moment: a tearful bow from the designer himself.