Fashion designer Michael Leyva marked his 10-year journey in the fashion industry with a grand runway presentation. Dubbed “Hiraya: Isang Dekada ng Aming Pagmamahal at Pangarap,” the show took place at Manila City’s iconic landmark, the National Museum of the Philippines, a perfect venue for his showcased pieces are truly works of art.
Becoming a designer wasn’t part of Michael’s plan. But destiny led him to dress the country’s most beautiful personalities when he took the challenge to follow in the footsteps of his late brother, Brian Leyva.
“At first, I was hesitant to do it because I have no idea of what fashion is all about,” the designer said. “I don’t know how to draw, talk to clients, or choose fabrics. The only thing that I have that time was the courage that I can do it with the guidance of my brother. He was the one that inspired me to do anything until today. I know, behind everything that’s happening to me right now, there’s one angel up above guiding me all throughout.”
A truly emotional show, “Hiraya” started off with Michael looking back at the past ten years of his life as a designer. He reminisced about the challenges he faced throughout the process, from his early struggles as a novice designer to the times when inspiration was scarce. He also recalled the many achievements in his life—all of which he owed to his lovely family, supportive friends and clients, and, of course, to his late brother. “Hiraya” is a Filipino term meaning the “fruit of one’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations,” and that’s what his show is all about.
Marking the beginning of the show was singer Erik Santos giving an inspiring performance of “This is the Moment.” Leading the style fest that’s about to be revealed on the runway was Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach looking like a goddess in Michael’s gilded garb. What followed next was an array of white couture pieces with dresses with elaborate boning details and sculptural suits. Soon after, his jewel-toned creations with fringe details, delicate floral embellishments, and brushstroke design elements paraded on the runway.
In one of the top moments of the night, TV host Vice Ganda emerged from the elevator of the museum’s Tree of Life wearing a breathtaking white wedding dress complete with a chapel-length train and a romantic veil. The style fantasy continued with a series of pastel ball gowns, glimmering ensembles, and dramatic garbs so immaculate everyone was moved and gave the pieces rounds of applause. For the finale look, actress Anne Curtis wore Brian’s Filipiniana design made of five centavo coins, the piece he presented at the Young Designer’s Competition in 2006. The stunning show ended with singer Regine Velasquez-Alcasid giving an empowering performance of “I Believe.”
“Hiraya: Isang Dekada ng Aming Pagmamahal at Pangarap” was witnessed by Manila’s most stylish crop. One of the evening’s special guests was Atty. Liza Araneta-Marcos, the First Lady of the Philippines.
For Michael, the show was not just about what he achieved in the past decade, but also about honoring the legacy his late brother left in the local fashion landscape. The journey to get where he is now was not a stroll in the park. But with his natural design skills, tenacious spirit, and his brother as his all-time inspiration, Michael’s career is a true testament to the saying, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
“Hard work is the key. It is very important that you love what you’re doing because you’ll never get tired of it,” Michael said. “In the past 10 years, there was never a day in my life na nagsisisi ako na ituloy what my Kuya Brian started… I know that there will not be a Michael Leyva if it wasn’t because of Brian Leyva. I hope I made him proud. Looking back at the past 10 years, when I’m in doubt if I can do it and I don’t have the courage, if I got the chance to talk to my young self, I’ll tell him that you can.”