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The blooming brides of Michael Leyva

By THERESE JAMORA-GARCEAU, The Philippine STAR Published May 15, 2024 5:00 am

After attending Michael Leyva’s Bridal Couture 2025 show at The Peninsula Manila last Saturday, Leyva muse Heart Evangelista posted on Instagram: “Bravo once more, my dearest (Michael Leyva). What a show! International becomes YOU, from New York to Manila.”

It was heartfelt affirmation of how far Leyva has come in 12 years, from someone with no background in fashion who took on the mantle of his late brother, award-winning fashion designer Brian Leyva, to the confident fashion maestro who exhibited strong silhouettes with breathtaking embellishments last Saturday at The Pen’s flower-strewn mezzanine.

Leyva’s favorite look

“I am very grateful that Heart decided to spend her evening with us to show her support, with sister Cam being present, too,” Leyva said. “Both muses expressed genuine admiration for the craftsmanship and the designs that I showcased. I’m thankful to have them as my muses but most especially—as my friends.”

For his 34-look collection, Leyva’s inspirations stemmed from his recent Paris trip “and the ethereal beauty of a French garden I visited,” he says. “Delicate motifs, reminiscent of blooming gardens with elements of romanticism—this was the inspiration behind my collection.”

For this collection Leyva introduced innovative fabrics and materials to elevate the couture experience further, like luxurious laces and intricate hand beading.

Each look was meticulously crafted to epitomize couture luxury. “While each piece holds a special place in my heart, if I had to choose, my personal favorite would have to be the opening look,” Leyva said of a strapless white wedding gown with half a bow on the bodice and delicate feathers covering the entirety of the train.

Fairytale princess: Sen. Miguel Zubiri’s daughter Adriana Zubiri

For this collection, Leyva introduced innovative fabrics and materials to elevate the couture experience further, like luxurious laces and intricate hand beading. “We added new treatments to create a few contemporary bridal looks by using soft pleated organza with horsehair on strings to add more elevation and volume to the look. It was really fun to create!” he enthuses.

Grooms weren’t left out of the collection, as Leyva included a lot of men’s looks—many of them Filipiniana-inspired. “The inclusion of grooms wear has become a significant aspect of our couture offerings at Michael Leyva Manila,” he says. “Grooms today seek bespoke ensembles that reflect their individuality and complement the bride’s attire. For this show, we created a few pieces with classic cuts and fabrics but added new elements and used brocade fabrics to elevate the look for menswear.”

Known primarily as a bridal designer, Leyva sustains his passion for the genre by immersing himself in constant exploration. “I continually seek to push the boundaries of creativity by finding inspiration when I travel. Being immersed in different cultures truly helps but I try to stay true to the timeless essence of bridal elegance as well.”

The guests, featuring Manila’s who’s who, loudly applauded models like Senate President Miguel Zubiri’s daughter Adriana, who stunned when she twirled in a fairytale gown twinkling with sparkles.

“Our guest models, including the daughter of Migz Zubiri, Adriana Zubiri, were chosen to embody grace and elegance that I have envisioned for this show,” Leyva said. “Each model brought a unique aura to the runway, which I’m really thankful for.”

The catwalk was on The Pen’s mezzanine level, bordered by pastel flowers to create an ethereal garden feel. “Since the show was at Manila Peninsula, I really consider this show special because it was held at our home,” Leyva notes. “Our atelier is located there. I wanted to be surrounded with the people who I really hold close to my heart, our dear clients, close friends, friends from the media, and, of course, my loved ones who have been with me since the very start.”

Foremost among them was Leyva’s mother, Merly. After the show, when Leyva took his bow and received flowers from The Pen’s managing director Kevin Tsang and hotel manager Mike Yutuc, he ran to his mom, who was sitting in the front row, and handed her the bouquet. What better way to honor her, as the following day was Mother’s Day.

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Michael Leyva Manila is located in The Peninsula Manila, Ayala Ave. corner Makati Ave., Makati City, tel. (0977) 825-1571.