Heart Evangelista becomes a beacon of transformation for MEGA’s Anniversary Issue, being a muse for designers who created the cover story looks
When art evolves, it undergoes a change that extends beyond conceptual shifts. It reflects the current stand of society: its ideals, morals, values. It’s a transcript of life’s journey, recording its every move and breath. Every dot a connection, every being a transition. This is the essence of art: transformation. It becomes the heart. In the case of MEGA’s transformation, designers and artists—creatives across every field—change the face of the Filipino. These are the looks these designers created for the 32nd Anniversary issue that reflect the vision of a new MEGA, worn by none other than Heart Evangelista.
Mak Tumang designed the heart-shaped dress featured in the anniversary issue. The creation of a gown for MEGA’s cover serves as a reflective process, a response to the shifting tides of fashion preferences. “While some may perceive me primarily as a wedding or gown designer, my designer peers recognize my true passion lies in experimentation.”
Widely recognized for the iconic lava dress that Catriona Gray wore when she became Miss Universe 2018, the designer uses this opportunity to challenge perceptions and present his versatility. This endeavor reshapes the image associated with his design identity, proving that he is more than what meets the eye—such as the intricate accents along the cover dress featuring lines that come across as veins, a smart detail to encapsulate the look of a heart through a heart-shaped dress worn by Heart Evangelista.
Influenced by his background in production, theater arts, and film, he ventures into uncharted territories, crafting garments that stand out as unseen expressions in fashion. In the early stages of my career, I delved into fashion through hands-on experiences, creating historical costumes and participating in fashion competitions.” His experimental spirit rejects conventional sketching in favor of draping and fabric exploration. Thorough research and 3D fabric experimentation form the bedrock of his creative process, ensuring optimal fit and structural integrity.
“I’d like to present it as a showcase of my abilities and a testament to my love for experimenting with materials,” Tumang shares. “It feels like a return to my roots, a journey back to where my creative journey began.” Far from a departure, it becomes a homecoming. The transformative nature of his work mirrors the adaptive spirit that defines the dynamism of fashion and defies its convention. “The very essence that led me to become a designer.”
Gratitude permeates Tumang’s reflections on being part of MEGA’s journey. The freedom afforded by MEGA to design without constraints allows him to flow his love for experimenting with materials, acting as a lifeline leading to the demonstration of his abilities as a designer.
Tumang is not the only designer who became a part of MEGA’s new direction that Evangelista wore. He stands alongside a cadre of visionary designers who have left a mark on the publication’s high-glamour and fantastical spread.
Mich Dulce, Studio Haring, and Jaggy Glarino
Milliner Mich Dulce sought to elevate her contribution beyond the conventional, opting for a drapey heart bow instead of the expected heart shape. Her innovative approach reflects a commitment to pushing boundaries and crafting unique, standout pieces. Studio Haring presents a wearable art piece in the form of a dark bra top, added with the signature Grafitti art style. Matching the upper part of the look, Jaggy Glarino’s creation, inspired by the mundane yet familiar elements of duvet covers and pillows, transcends the ordinary to evoke a sense of comfort and luxury. Rooted in a desire to evoke feelings of home and familiarity, his design channels a refined aesthetic infused with creative talent.
AZ Factory by Norman Rene’ De Vera
Norman Rene’ De Vera, half of the creative force running the Paris-based fashion brand AZ Factory, draws inspiration from the legacy of Alber Elbaz, paying homage to the revered fashion icon in a poignant tribute. Elbaz was the Israeli designer who helmed Lanvin as creative director from 2001 until 2015 and then founded AZ Factory in 2019.
The coat featured in the shoot serves as a celebration of Elbaz’s iconic silhouette and his enduring spirit of openness and love, embodied by the embroidered heart motif. It is a poignant reminder of Elbaz’s profound influence on the fashion world and his unwavering dedication to creativity and compassion.
Joel Escober’s direction takes a refreshing turn towards simplicity in the form of a classic silhouette serpentine gown. With the tumultuous events of recent years, Escober embraces the idea of returning to basics, eschewing extravagant embellishments in favor of a demi-couture treatment. His design, crafted from vibrant hot pink taffeta silk, adorned with bold heart accents, and foregoes frills and lace, highlights his commitment to refined yet contemporary design, allowing Heart’s innate aura to shine through. It symbolizes not only Heart’s deep connection to fashion, but also Escober’s celebration of MEGA’s new direction.
Glademir Echavarre’s lace bodysuit serves as a symbol of strength and resilience in the face of adversity. Inspired by the concept of armor, it speaks to the courage and fortitude of women navigating the complexities of life. The juxtaposition of delicate lace with the commanding presence of the bodysuit underscores Heart’s multifaceted persona, endearing her to audiences worldwide for her authenticity and vulnerability.
Ivar Aseron continually pushes the boundaries of creativity through his abilities. His creation embodies his decade-long exploration of the book leaf method, titled the “Venetial Blinds”, as seen through his latest collection.
Michael Leyva’s inspiration takes on a rather literal approach to who Heart stands for and who is she now, hearts and all, in the world of fashion. Bold and beautiful, the white, almost sheer-like look with textured sleeves that float like clouds around her, further pushes the envelope with embellished heart details across her chest. It makes her a standout in a piece unlike anything she’s worn before.
Neric Beltran embraced the challenge presented by stylist Eldz Mejia with enthusiasm and creativity. Tasked with making “hearts” the focal point of the garment, Beltran sought to create a 3D piece that would envelop Heart’s petite frame. The result was a jacket encrusted with pearls, rhinestones, and crystals, adorned with clear petals crafted from discarded PET bottles—an innovative nod to sustainability and upcycling that is integral to Beltran’s design philosophy.
Joey Samson rose to the occasion with his signature flair for drama and elegance. His creation—a mille-feuille of lace, tulle, and organdy—featured exaggerated one-shoulder ruffles cascading down the tiered skirt. Samson’s design not only exemplified MEGA’s call for bigger and bolder looks but also paid homage to the magazine’s commitment to pushing boundaries and celebrating the artistry of fashion.
For these designers, the opportunity to contribute to MEGA’s vision was both an honor and a testament to Filipino designers’ ability to speak the language of fashion fluently, using garments as a medium for storytelling and expression. This collaboration echoes a celebration of innovation, artistic expression, and the transformation of Filipino fashion, through the lens of the evolution in the 32 years of the Philippines’ first fashion and lifestyle magazine. Now, larger than life, with a beating heart to match.
Photography BJ PASCUAL. Creative Direction PATRICK TY. Art Direction BRIE VENTURA. Styling ELDZS MEJIA. Style Assistants CARL ALBERTO, MELS TIANO, and MIKA GANZON. Makeup MEMAY FRANCISCO. Hair GHIL SAYO. Nails EXTRAORDINAIL. Sittings Editors PEEWEE REYES-ISIDRO, BAM ABELLON, and AGOO AZCUNA BENGZON. Fashion Assistant BITHIA REYES. Shot on location RED APPLE MANILA. Special thanks to IZA SIM