Brava, Bryanboy!

By Cristina DC Pastor

You know Fashion Week’s around the corner when Bryanboy begins sharing the spotlight with catwalk superstars, powerhouse designers and breakthrough brands, and you get an email from a friend asking: Do you know about this guy?

I have heard of him but have a marginal recollection of what he’s done over the years. I remember him from the Marc Jacobs bag that was named after him – a tribute to their budding friendship, I believe. That was four years ago.

The latest on this fashion blogger came by way of email and Facebook shares of an Observer article from friends fascinated by how far this Filipino has come – from web designer to fashion celebrity whose name would pop up in the same sentence as Anna Wintour and Stefano Gabbana.

Fashion industry regulars will likely know who he is, but not all of us read Vogue or drop everything we’re doing for New York Fashion Week. The presence of Bryanboy is eagerly anticipated at collection unveilings, his fondness for fashion often a source of intrigue because Bryan Grey-Yambao (or is it Francis Bryan Yambao?) comes not from a fashion capital but a country often associated with extreme poverty. How did he learn to accessorize in fur? How can he afford a Hermes bracelet?

The New York Observer explains the influence of this monstrously popular blogger in its February 8 issue, “How Fashion Blogger Bryanboy Became a Front-Row Fixture:”

“He helped establish—or at least propelled into the mainstream—many of the tropes of the fashion-blogging genre, like the blogger’s gushy après-shopping post (“I fell in love with this Alexander Wang leather and canvas backpack the first time I saw it when Rumi and I went to the Opening Ceremony store in LA …”), the endless starring-in-the-editorial-of-my-own-life photographs of the blogger wearing designer outfits, and the blogger’s mainstream media crossover…

“He also helped set the standards for designer ‘gifting’ and disclosure of same in the fashion blogosphere, an arena where it is currently considered acceptable for a blogger to take international airfare, accommodation, designer goods and sometimes even celebrity-style appearance fees from the major brands they cover.”

Perhaps Filipinos in the fashion industry can further explain the Bryanboy appeal.

“He struck a chord in the international fashion scene because of his unique persona of dressing couture and coming from an exotic country,” said Parsons grad Robin Tomas, formerly a men’s wear designer for Tommy Hilfiger and J. Crew. He now has his own women’s clothing label called Tomas.

And the boy is “witty,” added Robin.

“Bryanboy overall offered a fresh combination of snazz, snap — and pak! that was just not seen or heard of in the west, yet,” he said.

Bessie Badilla

Former fashion model Bessie Badilla believes Bryanboy’s success comes from having a “deep knowledge” of the fashion industry and the important people who count.

“His personal life and background are pretty much a secret which makes him very mysterious,” said Badilla, a top model in the 1980s and one-time Balenciaga mannequin in Paris.

“I admire him for dreaming big and pursuing his dreams,” she said. “Brava!”

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