LIFESTYLE

THE GOOD SIDE OF BEING A TOURIST

Photo by yours truly

After earning my college degree, travelling has become one of my top priorities in my checklist. Just the thought of seeing the world outside my hometown, and gazing through the clouds from the plane window would blaze adrenaline to me and my peers. As we discover places, we were introduced to the “traveler” and the “tourist”. The former pertains to exploring the world with very little to no preparedness at all. They are the backpackers admirable for their brave heart and enthusiasm. On the other hand, the “tourist” is the one who has the list of everything-on-hand, from destinations, essentials, clothing and the like. In short, this is the total opposite of being a traveler. But on the contrary of this being frowned upon by some, being a tourist has a perks of its own.

WORRY AND STRESS-FREE VACATION

If you’re the type that you want to rest your brain from the act of sudden hassle or the mere fact of minimizing physical exhaustion, a well-planned vacation with pure relaxation is for you. You just have to sit back and let your allocated money and itinerary do their job. No need to be anxious on how to go from point A and B, cause everything from the time you set foot out of the plane ‘till you go home is already taken care of.

ORGANIZED JOURNEY

Getting lost is okay sometimes. But it also entails you to lose time to see a lot of important spots because of being lost. Most of your precious time will then be allotted to wandering around and asking locals for direction. As much as possible, we want to maximize our holidays with meaningful events, not with those stories of scratching our heads and asking where to go. For us young professionals, our time for leisure is at the mercy of our approved vacation leave(s) in the midst of our busy schedules. That is why every tick of the clock is considered a luxury, not unless if you have all the time and money in the world.

OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE GOOD FEEDS

You don’t always have to trust luck when it comes to taking OOTD photos for your Instagram. Being ready can yield you the same results similar to those boasted to the unplanned ones. Why expect and wait for that photo-worthy location if you can actually identify some before your vacation? Doing your homework on the best spots and its complementing outfit can bring you home a memory card full of snap options – Talk about food for your feeds!. After all, it is our happiness to add a “portfolio” to our memories and experiences.

RELIEF AFTER A LONG DAY

Who says you can’t have comfort while you make memories? Reality is, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for the sake of your trip. A voyage will not be tarnished if you would trade a tent or hammock to a nice bed. You can still enjoy some of the things that a traveler would do, just with the added perks of recharging your mind and body for the next day’s activity.

PLEASURE AND RELAXATION

Travelers are always ready to take the plunge. They are delighted by climbing mountains and continuously crave for adventures that require a lot of physical activities. However, there are others who would want to escape reality and look for a moment to unwind and lighten up. These usually involve a trip to museums; visiting renowned spots and restaurants; or simply getting a tan in the beach.

BUDGET FRIENDLY

You might be in question when you see this. In your mind, you are thinking that a traveler is synonymous to expanding the potential of a small amount of money into something meaningful. The few penny and planning method has been tried and tested, but expect to shed some cash in some instances that you are unable to find a vehicle to hitchhike, or a cheap motel to spend the night, especially if you are really craving for that rest after a day full of activities. Mind you, last minute or on-the-spot booking may come with a golden price tag.

I’m not saying that you won’t be immune to a sudden break-a-bank moment. Chances are slim if you have everything settled and prepared beforehand. There are hotels/inns offering a discounted rate when you book ahead of time. Travel agencies also offer a nice transportation service that can take you around places or even transfer you from one island into another.

Ben
GeekyBF.com

MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW 2016
FASHION

BEHIND THE MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL RUNWAY

Manila Fashion Festival has already done 7 season shows (2 among those are capsule collections) from its modest beginnings that ring bells, which slowly bloomed into a “must attended event” on the top of editors, bloggers and fashion lovers list. The event gathers and exposes the best of the best talents, and allows like-minded individuals to mingle and share the same passion and love for fashion. For hard-working models, it is a bread-and-butter avenue for them as well as to sell themselves to editors and photographers for possible gigs and to thicken up their tear sheets. On the designer’s perspective, Manila Fashion Festival can help them market their collection for publisher’s write-ups/ features that can entice potential clients. They can also generate revenue afterwards through buyers both actual and coming from event’s online-partner platform.

It is surely a business at the end of the day, but its effect on the local fashion scene is more than a profit making machine. From all the glitz and jaw dropping collections presented on the runway, we breakdown some of the elements that makes Manila Fashion Festival on prime, which are beyond what our lenses would capture.

FASHION FOR EVERYONE

Screenshot of Manila Fashion Festival registration page.
http://www.manilafashionfestival.com

It is a fashionista’s dream to be in the actual runway show. Believe me, I was one of those yuppies who are willing to do anything just to be seated on a designer show. Just like in the big fashion markets, most of the shows, if not held by brands on open mall areas are only exclusive to a few (celebrities, media and the elites). Before, the sure way to get in is to be an intern on the event or to any of the backstage/ partner media team; to actually know the designer; beg for an invite from the designer; or if the first three fails, cleverly sneak in while the guards are busy. Forums are usually flooded with questions on how to attend shows and no one would even bother to provide clear steps to address this. Basically, you’re on your own to figure things out. At some fashion event, most of us are left wondering how come empty seats were not given to those who are really interested in fashion, pleading for that chance to watch the show.

Manila Fashion Festival has cracked the alta-sociedad system on the runway shows and opened opportunities for the fashion lovers outside the elite circle to be seated in the event proper. This move has not released the exclusivity a runway show has, but rather brought that exclusivity to wider-range of audience, longing to be part of the fashion crowd. It’s like a perfect occasion for newly-immersed fashion lovers to learn about the business and its aesthetics. Every season, guests have the access to register on their official website and voila, your part of the guest list. No more stress and email confirmation that you may miss. Plus, they gladly reply on queries on how to watch the show, unlike others whose comments like such are left unanswered.

FRESH FACES

Promising faces that have been introduced in Manila Fashion Festival
Above: Howell Medina, Mabelle Corpus (Art Personas)
Bottom: Hana Dy (Art Personas) and Brandi Branfuhr (Yeoh Models)
Photo by yours truly.

Ofcourse we love the nyoras (Filipino fashion slang for the established models) that ruled our catwalk. But we are also starving for raw fashion faces that are timely and can be held as successors of model royalty. We are thrilled to see them grow each season and carve a career out from their footsteps. Every season in Manila Fashion Festival is a cultural mash up of models from different ethnicity, gender and appearance. Casting team and designers do their best to mix deserving newbies with the established ones to bring that atmosphere of growth and opportunity. Model line ups are always diverse, allowing models of color to represent the collection.

Trans-model Maria Rivera walking for AZUCAR.
Photo by yours truly

They have also included the introduction and well acceptance of androgynous faces and even allowing a transgender model to walk the show. Due to this, a lot of undiscovered androgynous and transgender models were encouraged to pursue their dream of becoming models by attending the event’s casting. Manila Fashion Festival has maximized the definition of what a model is, which goes beyond muscles, pretty faces and between our legs.

FRESH TALENTS

Bobson Design Competition
Photo by yours truly

From behind the scenes, the team has broken the nepotism mentality where only the top media and designer friends are allowed to be in the know. They have given share of the spotlight to designer new comers and  even the graduating students from various fashion schools in the country. They are also staging design competitions apart from runway shows to search and cultivate talents from those with undiscovered potential.

Media area crowded crowded with magazine photographers, interns and some bloggers.
Photo by yours truly

This move also the opportunity for young photographers, interns and bloggers to gain the similar access that they give to big wig media/ publication. They believe in cultivating talents from the different corners of the fashion industry, and success for them includes the success of everyone in the circuit.

YOUNGER AND UP-TO-DATE CONCEPT OF THE COLLECTIONS

Renan Pacson x Gnarly (left) and Anthony Ramirez (right)for Manila Fashion Festival Now
Photos by yours truly

Collections presented are fit for the audience with a touch of innovation. The runway shows from this event has departed from the old-tita belief of “Santa Cruzan” clothes which are nearly impossible to wear in our real life situations. Gone are the endless sparkles, embellishment and grandma embroidery.

Say hello to modern approach of interpreting clothes that represents not solely the designer’s inspiration, but has taken into consideration what the consumers would want to wear and who they are.

INNOVATION  

Screenshot of Zalora website where the latest collections from Manila Fashion Festival NOW is up for buyers.
https://www.zalora.com.ph/mnl-fashion-fest/

It was a new take when Manila Fashion Festival took over the runway scene in the Philippines. They introduced by the “see now – buy now” concept through their partnership with Zalora. All collection pieces are posted on Zalora website after the show. The year-end edition surprised many of us when they decided to parallel the collections to the current season by using the “NOW” tagline. The succeeding shows will be named depending on the current season it is held.

Model Lou Yanong (PMAP) holding Samsung Gear 360 while heading the pack of models
Photo by yours truly

They also incorporated the 360 technology with Samsung on their wing. Teaser for the NOW season has been recorded using a Samsung Gear 360 camera, and with the use of VR or even the actual motion rotation of your smart phone, you will be able to experience the season’s preview beyond a single dimension photo. Some models walking on the show holds the Gear camera while walking. According to Sir Ronnie, the event is planning to bring the runway experience to the audience via glimpse of how a model sees the catwalk on their perspective. Such a good treat for model lovers like us!

RUNWAY FOR A CAUSE

Candies with ostrich antibodies from Better Future Foundation
Photo by yours truly

Fashion is stereotyped as an industry full of snobbish people who only care about clothes and youthful beauty. For Manila Fashion Festival, they always make it a point to include their community service on video reels and speeches from Sir Ronnie Cruz. They were able to use fashion’s strong following to show the beauty of helping others and to raise awareness that we can extend help even in the simplest means.

Together with Better Future Foundation (BFF), they launched the 10/20 Can-D Day. It aims to distribute candies infused with ostrich antibodies to children living in impoverished communities. On their recent show, they made a jar of candies available on front row guests and in the BFF booth. Sir Ronnie encouraged all of the audience to give the candies to street children as a sweet and healthy treat.

Just like a newbie model who walks on her first show, helping those who are in need also take one step at a time. But every step we make can create a huge difference, and it can start by using the influence we have in hand.

Ben
GeekyBF.com

faces to watch-manila fashion festival now 2016
FASHION, MODELS TALK

FACES TO WATCH – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW 2016

The names of Ria Bolivar, Justine Gabionza and Sara Kae Custodio-Cruz are few of those who have a established career out of their heels. New models may come, but these ladies are still on their prime and ascertained their runway worthiness to be recognized as top models of the Philippines.

For Manila Fashion Festival Now 2016, we were able to spot the girls that we predict to be the successors of runway nyoras. These freshies have that major “it” factor that made them stand out from the pool of breathing mannequins. Although some of them may have done work in the past, this season is where they pushed the limits that made them a true stand out. The initial girls were shortlisted to 10, but we decided to make it a 12 plus a bonus.  

Note: List below in alphabetical order

Arianna Cowper/ PW Models

Photo by Mike Server

It can never be good as it gets when this elegant new comer landed on the scene. Bringing a bold and feisty deal on the catwalk is what Arianna is. It’s the youthful bombshell appeal, together with that charming personality are the attributes that makes her lovable to clients. Yes she is young, but she is downright gorgeous that put smiles in our faces.

Brandi Branfuhr / YEOH Models

Photo by yours truly

The defiant beauty appeared on Via Valencia S/S 2016 collection which made everyone asking for her name. Her cold aura is a massive fashion allure that was evident on top-tier designer shows. She can easily become an aristocrat in Cheetah Rivera, and a disruptive crew in Renan Pacson x Gnarly. She doesn’t need to conform to mainstream, for her on her own is an impressive influence of the atypical crowd. Two sum it in two words, Brandi is a “Catwalk Conqueror”.

Carla Hufano/ Art Personas

Photo by yours truly

The Asian doll faced is commonly desired by the orient. However, she comes off as a severe version that works well in the path that she has chosen. She owns her razor cheeks, angular shoulders, and piercing eyes with much confidence. Carla has somehow left a memorable mark for us, a true wow factor moment for a star in the making.

Cassie Reyes / Elite Manila

Photo from Preview PH

Discovered on Instagram by her booker, Cassie was lifted into new heights by the buzz that she created which earned her with a feature in Preview Magazine. The 5 foot 8 Filipina’s chill and natural look is delightfully striking in pure frenzy. Standing out from the crowd is her forte – a one of a kind charisma that we will continually see in seasons to come.

Erla Garcia/ Art Personas

Photo by yours truly

The brown-skinned stunner emanates that classic Filipina presence, and gives a stabbing gaze upon her turn on the catwalk. Any camera holder during the show proper would yearn to capture that cinematic charisma of hers. It’s just reasonable to say that her spit fire debut created a deep impact. A death stare in her eyes only means she is serious to do business in the modelling industry.

Genica Contreras / Art Personas

Photo by yours truly

Our first impression with Genica on the casting call is a soft-spoken girl with a lot of potential. However, the introvert beauty created a lot of buzz during Manila Fashion Festival Now. Her perfect editorial face which is very European belongs to pages of high fashion magazines. Starting from Face of the Philippines Season 3, her show list strolled all the way until the finale day. From what we’ve seen, the model freshman is equivalent into an eccentric diamond-in-a-rough ready to shine and steal the limelight.

Joma Bernardo / PW Models

Photo by yours truly

Androgyny is her secret ingredient. Joma is truly proud and comfortable in her own skin and it shows. She is not afraid to represent the blur between genders and it has been paid off by appearing on a number of shows in the F/W 2016. This season, she walked exclusively for Brit Tripudio’s collection, shaking things up again with her ultra-femme signature walk. Unique persona as you may call it. Nevertheless, it’s indisputable that she is a total package.

Ksenia Zambon / Reign Models

Photo from Preview PH

Appearing on the crème dela crème shows in Manila Fashion Festival Now, Ksenia is a force to reckon with. Aristocratic by beauty and effortless by nature – She rivals most of the striking faces on Philippine fashion with a killer presence. The model has made an instant impact to be a coveted girl this season. Should there be a girl who is a budding star, we know it is her with the capital K.

Maria Rivera

Photo by yours truly

The first-ever trans model recognized by the fashion industry in the Philippines was able to rebrand her image . She courageously chopped her long-raven locks for a modern-day Louise Brooks do. This instantly turned her into a high fashion doll, with her pale skin and slender form to match. Maria equally delivers a job well done from her bookings, especially when she took the number one spot on Cheetah Rivera’s latest collection. Her runway takeover is on full-fledged and it won’t stop there as Maria is part of the continuous model breakthrough in the country.

Martin Tuanquin

Martin Tuanquin in the middle. Photo from Megastyle PH

Gender bending in the Philippines will never be completed without Martin. One look would immediately flash an intense interest. The androgynous Asian face has taken a break last season, but someone who is bound to be notice will always end up in the right places. Martin made a comeback as one of the openers of Renan Pacson x Gnarly. Through every step and squint from her, Martin always wants you to remember her name, and we are never misunderstanding something from this girl-on-the-hype.

Naiara Arcuri / Black Diamond LCP

Photo by yours truly

Brazilians are usually known for their big hair and golden tan. It was the opposite case for Naiara, who rather turned out to be edgy and astonishing with her au-natural crop. The leggy model appeared on shows for Manila Fashion Festival NOW with a mighty strut. For a new comer, she was hard to miss as she knows how to dominate and dictate the energy on the runway. With this, she did an orbit of shows proving how truly she can be bankable with the top designers.

Rizza Decena/ Art Personas

Photo by yours truly

It was the right timing when Rizza was scouted to join Face of the Philippines Season 3. She showed us that being a fresh face can emerge as “MVP” in Manila Fashion Festival NOW. The girl resembles a baby Rihanna with the right presence to connect through clients and audience. Even with a newbie status, she snagged our attention with her trademark unruly fro and almond eyes. We even wonder if someone can give her a ticket to model overseas since everything about Rizza is destined to cross markets.

 

Bonus:

Arin Cruz

Photo from Preview PH

Little Ms. Sunhsine – Arin Cruz comes from a family of fashion. She was born with what we call the “golden shoes in her feet”. At a young age, she is experiencing a taste of being in the front row (We’re totally jealous). The young fashionista wears the trendiest pieces, and is already working the runway every season. With your Mama as your personal runway coach, and your Papa teaching you with fashion economics, you get a promising model with the sweetest first impression.

Ben
GeekyBF.com

MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW 2016
FASHION, MODELS TALK

BACKSTAGE (HAIR & MAKE UP) – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW 2016

I need Anne!” The words that welcomed us upon entering this hectic environment with the never ending sound of blow dryer. Hours before the show proper, the clean-faced models are grilled in the hair and makeup chair. They submit themselves to the glamsquad and allow them to do their magic. Our short trip allowed us to witness the backstage grind that transforms models into the designer’s vision, with the use of color palette and hairstyling gears. Everyone is surrounded with bright lights and working in the swiftest possible way to accommodate each model.

To share what we’ve experienced, GEEKYBF is presenting you with the BTS photos to understand the process for that flawless and runway ready faces, catered for our fashion satisfaction.

Ben
GeekyBF.com

Manila Fashion Festival
FASHION, MODELS TALK

INSIDE THE CASTING CALL – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW

Model Compcards at the deliberation table.

The first day of October for 2016 is the day that will determine the who’s-who on the designers’ list of runway army. They have the responsibility of representing the story of the collection, and ensuring that every moment in the spotlight is translated into footsteps on gold. That is why a crucial casting process is part of the main ingredients that makes up a stellar show. My blog is spilling the beans on what happens within the casting process which is normally secluded to the majority of the industry’s followers in the country.

The Waiting Game

Upon arriving at the Art Personas office, a group of models, looking effortlessly flawless in the midst of the waiting game will welcome your sight. Some would scroll endlessly on their mobile phones, some would engage in small talks with model peers; some would carry a novel with them, and some center and gather their energy for the casting directors.

Welcoming rights

The models would first register on the agency’s lounge. Their measurements are taken by the assigned staff and a number They are quickly snapped for a digitals (soft copy of what we usually call as Model Polaroid) and assigned with a number for their batch line up.

The “Judgement Hour”

They are being called by batch for the eyes of top fashion Director – Jackie Aquino and the designers themselves. They are given few minutes to impress the panel with their presence and walk. Sometime in the middle, Dir. Jackie would take a moment to review the model digitals per batch to see how they look with in natural light without makeup. I was fully amazed and focused how good he indentify those who are runway ready and has that “bookable potential” from the group. He is very specific on the things that he points, showing how experienced he is on doing things like this.

The Casting Team carefully scrutinizing each model. 

On the other side of the table are the designers busy jotting down the names and numbers of the models that they think best embody their collection. Some of them shared their insights on their model criteria:

“ I’m looking for new faces from different races. They must look international.” – Rhett Eala.

“Someone who has a proportionate body. Not pretty, but appealing.” – Arleen Sipat-Sutton of AZUCAR.

“My current collection is about passion, love, woman and flamenco. It’s a celebration of diversity in womanhood.” – Cheetah Rivera.

Final Look Up

Day-end model check to complete their squad. 

As the day reached 6pm, the panel collated all compcards and checked whether they can still dig and find an undiscovered or overlooked potential from the number of model applicants. From the last minute, a few were selected as final addition to the designers’ model crew based on their cards. This is the point where we can really stress the importance of having a professional-looking compcard with strong-edgy images that is worthy of a second glance. Those who will make the cut will be notified accordingly and will be invited for fittings. I have noted some new face favorites that I’m truly dying to see walking the most coveted designer shows. In a few weeks, it will be another round of fresh-from-the cutting room pieces, parading to satisfy the editors and fashion people’s craving. For those who qualified, the runway is your next grilling room.

Ben
GeekyBF.com

FASHION, MODELS TALK, Uncategorized

NEW CONCEPT SOON…

Back in 2013, “Bless the Models” is just a twinkle in my brain when I got tired of looking for someone to talk to about models and fashion. With this blog, I was able to make half of my dreams come true. This opened a lot of opportunities for me to attend the biggest designer shows in our country; meet and befriend the models and fashion people that I truly admire; be recognized by some of the people in the industry; and secure friendships that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying farewell to the blogging world. I just realized that expanding my blog horizon by reaching a broader audience can be a thrilling and exciting challenge for me. Regardless of this major revamp, I will still incorporate runway shows and models to my new site. After all, fashion and creativity will always be in my core of existence.

To summarize, the blog will be renamed with some extra features and more personal stuff. Previous content will still be available in the new site’s timeline. I am doing my best to squeeze in an amount of time to do drafts; explore and design new layout; and plan everything. While the new blog is still in the process of transition, the usual grind of Bless the Models will still continue.

Thank you guys for your support and I hope you can still extend the same love to new and upcoming blog.

XOXO – BEN F.

 

FASHION, MODELS TALK

MODEL CASTING – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW

Image Source: Facebook

They look fierce; they make their flaws perfect; they represent the collections; and they are team #unstoppable. Give your best foot forward this October 1, 2016 to join the runway gang for Manila Fashion Festival NOW casting call. Details are as follows (Source: Facebook):

October 1, 2016
1:00PM – 6:00PM
Art Personas Management‘s MAIN OFFICE
2nd Floor, Legaspi Suites
178 Salcedo Street
Legaspi Village, Makati City

REQUIREMENTS :
HEIGHT :
Female : 5’9″
Male : 5’11”

DRESSCODE :
Female : Mini Black Dress & heels.
Male : Black T-shirt & jeans.
PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR SETCARDS.

So impress the casting team with your strut and get your name listed as one of their living mannequins. Best of luck and don’t forget to practice your walk and update your compcards.

Bless the models!

Ben.