When in Manila, you know you are connected to the very pulse of Philippine fashion. The latest trends and hottest looks are easily spotted, whether in the malls or on the streets. Like Tokyo and New York, Metro Manila is the country’s hub for style and chic, as well as the glitz and glamour of high society. And while the limelight may be out of reach for most of us mere mortals (such as myself), we can at least “borrow” some shine by keeping track of the latest in style, society, and celebrity.
Enter the MEGA Publishing Group, creators of the Philippines’ first (and arguably best) fashion and lifestyle glossy, the style bible MEGA Magazine. The Pinoy answer to Vogue, Since its beginnings as a homegrown glossy in 1992, the brainchild of style icon Sari Yap MEGA has regularly innovated and reinvented itself in order to keep up with the constantly evolving world of fashion. However, at Generation NEXT, MEGA‘s exclusive launch event, held at Bonifacio Global City‘s hot new club Prive (pronounced pree-vay), the fashion institution announced its biggest step yet, launching not one but two web portals: MegaStyle.ph and InsidePinoyShowbiz.ph, allowing the Philippine public greater access to the world of sartorial elegance and celebrity status. For a die-hard fashion addict and wannabe-designer such as myself, an invite to hobnob with the VIPs and fashion elite was something I could not pass up.
“Key” to the VIP: Me and my best friend Patricia getting a taste of celebrity status at Prive for Mega Publishing Group‘s Generation Next event. (Patricia in Forever 21, me in Amelia et Nicole, with Carolina’s accessories and Bally bag.)
The VIP treatment started even before we walked in the door. Because it was a boldface names fashion event, MEGA staff greeted us at the red carpet with flashbulbs and “What’s your name and who are you wearing?” before ushering us in. Once inside, the “exclusive” nature of the event became even more obvious as we walked the red carpet, signed the guest-list, and got our arms stamped with Prive‘s edgy “invisible ink” stamps (Prive‘s “key” logo only becomes visible when the bouncer shines a black light onto your skin), marking us as worthy of enjoying Prive’s luxury clubbing experience.
Gateway into cool: MEGA Publishing Group‘s electronic billboards at Generation Next.
Forgetting the rule to be “fashionably late,” my best friend and I arrived at seven, when cocktails had barely begun–all the better to scope out the boldface names dressed in their “cocktail chic”-best. MEGA‘s guestlist definitely did not disappoint: in the two or so hours of cocktails and mingling, I managed to bump into models, designers, bloggers, celebrities, and other well-dressed luminaries.
MEGAwatt beauties: Clockwise, from top left: models Angelie Twigg (in pink) and Sam Humphries (in black), Alexandra Escat, and Phoemela Baranda (wearing Rhett Eala)
Lords of Style: Designers Randy Ortiz and Ino Caluza (Lord Viktor) wearing themselves.
Dressing with drama: Theatre legend Ana Abad Santos on the arm of her friend, designer John Herrera, who designed her dress for the evening.
They’ve got fashion in the bag: Bag designer du jour Paul Herrera and designer Cheetah Rivera, who sported a very “Sex In The City” Timmy Woods handbag shaped like a pair of hot red lips (not pictured).
Seeing a familiar face in Ms. Ana Abad Santos, who had taught an acting workshop in Repertory Philippines that I had attended, definitely gave me a bit of a confidence boost, so after taking a deep breath and a swig of cranberry juice–I could only handle this assignment sober–I approached a few of MEGA Publishing Group‘s editorial staff: Executive Editor for Inside Pinoy Showbiz.ph Rikka Dylim, wearing a Chanel-esque number I was surprised to find out was actually Forever 21; MEGA Publishing Group Creative Director Suki Salvador; and Inside Pinoy Showbiz.ph‘s publisher Sophie Menor, who was coyly posing with Nelson Canlas’ GMA News TV microphone when I approached her. Also, thanks to a tip-off by one of my fellow guests, I spotted MEGA’s Deputy Editor and Publisher of MegaStyle.ph, Meryll Yan, who was wearing a striking hot-pink number by designer Avel Bacudio.
Arbiters of style: (clockwise from top left) Rikka Dylim in Forever 21, Meryll Yan in Avel Bacudio, MEGA Beauty Editor Kim Palanca (in Celline Salapantan) and MAC Philippines Brand Coordinator Kirsten Brito (in Tsay-Say), and Suki Salvador (in Avel Bacudio) and Sophie Menor (in Francis Libiran).
Men on trend: (from left) Blogger Bjorn Bedayo in a Levinson Rodriguez blazer and vintage top, MEGA Magazine‘s Fashion Associate Jose Castillo in Topman with an H&M blazer, and Designer/first season Generation Mega contestant Ly-Ar Martinez, wearing himself.
Getting in the know: guests and VIPs socializing at Generation Next.
Hosts Divine Lee and Enzo Pineda took the stage to help launch MEGA‘s two new web portals: MEGA Style.ph and Inside Pinoy Showbiz.ph. Deputy Editor Meryll Yan introduced Mega Style.ph, MEGA‘s fashion website, which promised to be a new bible for style addicts. Aside from the usual fashion news, galleries, and video coverage, MEGA Style.ph sported a unique “Wardrobe” section, featuring style inspiration courtesy of the personal closets of the MEGA staff, and the unique Flux Screen Function which, when activated, shows all the most updated content on one page so fashionistas on the go can quickly keep track of important style developments. (Now, if only they had an RSS feed…)
The second webportal was for the showbiz afficionado: Publisher Sophie Menor introduced the ins and outs of Inside Pinoy Showbiz.ph. An entertainment news website in the vein of E! Online, Inside Pinoy Showbiz.ph also boasted a couple of sections which weren’t the usual fare of a showbiz website: a funpage, where site visitors could play celebrity and movie trivia games, and, for the avid celebrity “stalker,” a “Citizen Paparazzi” page where the public could post candid pictures of their favorite artistas caught on the street or in the act. My personal favorite part of that page though was the “Celebrity Lookalike” section: I started wondering if I could get away with posting a photo of myself. (Not a chance.)
Just to make sure everyone was paying attention, both web portals had quick trivia games after their presentations. Guests were invited to access the pages using their smartphones in order to answer the questions. I tried, but my 3G kept quitting on me, so I missed out on a chance and win a Bvlgari perfume (from MegaStyle.ph) and three pairs of shoes (from Inside Pinoy Showbiz.ph). Drat!
Not who you know, but what you know: With hosts Divine Lee and Enzo Pineda, MEGA Deputy Editor Meryll Yan (top) and Inside Pinoy Showbiz.ph publisher Sophie Menor quiz the audience on trivia about their respective web portals.
The brightest in a constellation: “Stars of The Night” awardees Tim Yap and Bianca Gonzales. Bianca sports a Uniqlo jumpsuit and Russell Villafuerte blazer.
Once I got over losing a chance at those shoes (and finished glaring at my phone), I turned my attention to the most nailbiting part of the program: the announcement of the winners of MEGA‘s own reality TV show, MEGA Fashion Crew. I’d watched a lot of reality show finalés on TV, but I’d never witnessed one live, and I wondered if all the drama I saw onscreen was really just a result of creative editing. Apparently, it wasn’t. As powerhouse judges Raya Mananquil, Avel Bacudio, and Sari Yap delivered critique and announced winners for the final challenges, I could feel the tension build, and when the results was delivered, there were definitely more than a few tears and some bittersweet moments. The final result actually surprised me, though perhaps that is because I didn’t watch all the episodes of MEGA Fashion Crew. Still, congratulations to the winners. I would reveal who they are, but that’d be spoiling it for everyone who follows the show. (Catch the final episode of MEGA Fashion Crew this Saturday at 7pm, with a Sunday rerun at 10am on ETC.)
The verdict is in their hands: The judges of MEGA Fashion Crew–supermodel and fashion icon Raya Mananquil, MEGA Publishing Group President and MEGA Magazine founder Sari Yap, and haute designer Avel Bacudio.
Armed and gorgeous: Team Fashion Army’s Monika Sta. Maria having a pow-wow with friend Sam Humphries after the announcement of MEGA Fashion Crew‘s winners.
Generation Next: The contestants of MEGA Fashion Crew.
Once the drama was over and the verdict was in, I was able to sneak backstage during all the celebratory commotion and snag a picture with the designer whose outfits I’d been seeing on practically everyone that night: Avel Bacudio. He was a genuinely warm person, and though I’d intended only to snag a solo photo of him he insisted on having one of the two of us as my souvenir for the evening. I admit, with that he made a fan out of me.
Another person I caught backstage was Team Vanguard’s model, Chelsea Yao-Robato, who wore a stunning Jojie Loren number. After getting so used to the Spanish mestiza standard of beauty, it was definitely refreshing to see someone who represented girls like me: the classic Asian Beauty. Of course, my “Asian beauty” pales in comparison with the gorgeous Chelsea, but it’s nice to have someone in our corner in the modelling industry. Go Tsinay!
“Backstage is the new frontstage:” Designer Avel Bacudio and model Chelsea Yao-Robato gamely pose for photos after the announcement of MEGA Publishing Group‘s MEGA Fashion Crew winners.
My best friend and I staggered out of Prive near midnight, not quite sure if we had stars or flashbulbs in our eyes. However, MEGA had one last trick up their sleeve–the cherry on top of the VIP treatment we’d received. On our way out, we were given goody bags from Belo Essentials, containing their signature facial wash, sunblock, and lotion. (Tan-o-phobic me was definitely very happy about the sunblock.)
Generation Next definitely gave pulled off the “exclusive event” vibe: from the location, to the guest list, to the program, everything practically screamed “VIP.” However, fashion is not a realm exclusive to high society. MEGA Publishing Group has, from the beginning, made a mission out of delivering style to the masses, and its MEGA Fashion Crew has given ordinary dreamers a chance to rise in the ranks and become extraordinary: the next generation arbiters of style. So When in Manila, or even when not, you don’t have to worry about missing out on what’s hot. With MEGA‘s new web portals, sartorial bliss and celebrity dish are just a few clicks away! And who knows, if you keep at it, perhaps we’ll be seeing you as the next members of MEGA Fashion Crew?
Check out the two new web portals for yourself:
MEGA Takes Fashion to the Next Level at Exclusive “Generation Next” Event with Divine Lee, Tim Yap, Bianca Gonzales, Enzo Pineda and more