In a sea of national gowns and costumes at the recent APEC Summit festivities, Queen of All Media Kris Aquino’s ensemble stood out—twice over. While many decided to stick to neutral and muted colors and traditional designs, Kris showcased her vibrant personality in bright-colored Filipiniana gowns that complemented her fair complexion and added a dash of fun to the otherwise too serious fashion consensus. The creative genius behind these exquisite pieces? Young designer Michael Leyva, one of the recent additions to the First Sister’s roster of go-to designers.
“Both pieces were inspired by modern Filipinas, and Ate Kris is the epitome of what a modern Filipina is: Stylish and elegant,” notes Michael, who also designed the pieces Kris wore to Toni Gonzaga and Paul Soriano’s wedding, this year’s State of the Nation Address, and just last week, the wedding of her nephew where she was a principal sponsor, among others. The turquoise and yellow shades were Kris’ choices, but are personal favorites of Michael as well. “The details, on the other hand, were inspired by our local embroiderers. I want everyone to see how much world-class talent we have here,” he adds.
Kris with her brother, President Benigno Aquino III (top left) and posing for an OOTD shot at the Malacañang Palace (top right).
Kris wore a yellow embroidered Filipiniana to the APEC State Dinner, and a Tiffany blue neoprene Filipiniana featuring embroidered white beaded lace appliqué to the APEC Spouses Luncheon she and her sisters hosted; both were made in Antipolo, Rizal, where Michael hails from, a true showcase of what Filipino talent is capable of. “I can never forget what Ate Kris told me when we were talking about the designs. She said ‘I want to showcase your talent as a young designer,’” recalls Michael. “I believe it shows how big-hearted Ate Kris is and how much she wants the world to see the talent that we Filipinos have.”
If you’re looking to rock modern Filipiniana like the Queen of All Media, Michael shares his ultimate tip: “It is great to be experimental. It shows the fastidious taste that we have and the influences we got from other countries while at the same time displaying the Philippine terno known all over the world.” And this multi-facetedness, after all, is what the modern Pinay is all about.
Kris' in Fort Santiago, decked in her Tiffany blue neoprene Filipiniana gown by Michael Leyva.
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Photographs courtesy of Instagram.com/withlovekrisaquino and Instagram.com/michaelleyva_. Image collages by Jana Maureen Jimenez.