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Runway Adventures at Malan Breton's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Show in New York

Fashion was the farthest thing on my mind as I was growing up in the Philippines. I wore a school uniform from Kindergarten to College.  My play clothes were shorts and t-shirt and my Sunday’s bests were mostly sewn and designed by my mother. I was thrilled to own jumpers made from chicken feed sack or rice sack fabrics.

When I migrated in America in the 80’s, I was 20 years old but my clothes were a mishmash of designs, bargains and samples from my parents’ garment clothing company. When I got my first paycheck, upgrading my wardrobe wasn’t in the budget.

Only recently did I show interest in browsing through fashion magazines.  Spring and summer seasons are easy to dress for because I enjoy wearing flip-flops. On the other hand, fall and winter seasons are a challenge because not every outfit goes with Uggs boots – and let’s face it, I need multiple layers of clothing from head to toe because it doesn’t matter that I’ve lived in New York/New Jersey for 30 years, my Filipino bones still get very cold.

Last month, my friend E, who's a FW veteran reporter, posted on Instagram a photograph of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

Attending New York’s Fashion Week wasn’t on my bucket list (honestly, I don’t really have a bucket list), however, I got curious on how it would be like to witness a fashion show.

Expecting nothing, I asked, “Can I tag along?”

To my surprise, my friend said, “Sige.” ( I think it means “alright” in Tagalog)

(Malan Breton at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2015, Lincoln Center)

The next day, my friend sent me a message asking if I was available to attend the Malan Breton’s Fashion show at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (MBFW) event at the Lincoln Center on Feb. 18th, at 9 AM.

When I read that, I did my usual Jenjen dance routine to the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Style” and started singing along to the chorus:
             You got that James Dean day dream look in your eye
             And I got that red lip classic thing that you like
            And when we go crashing down, we come back every time.
            Cause we never go out of style
            We never go out of style.

That was the beginning of the adventures of this Baduy Pinay ( Fashion-challenged Filipina).

What to wear

Weeks before the MBFW, I informed a few friends that I got a press pass to the show. They all asked me what I plan on wearing. It never dawned on me that there’s a dress code at these fashion shows.

“What do you mean, what am I wearing? It’s going to be freezing that day – so obviously, Uggs boots and layers and layers of clothing!”

I was told people get really dressed up to these events – like cocktail-party-wedding-event dressed up.

So I searched for “what to wear to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week”  and returned 10 choices my closet didn’t even know exist.

I decided to wear a black Ann Taylor Dress and a BCBG blazer. I wore a long sleeve shirt and yoga shorts under the dress together with black leggings, heavy socks and my old and beat-up Kate Spade flat black leather boots.  ( Full disclosure: Items were purchased on clearance)

I knew I was going to walk a few blocks here and there so I bundled up with a Coach fur hat and scarf that my husband gave me for Christmas. (Coach items were on a sample sale)

Just in case it gets chillier, I also brought with me an extra pair of leg warmers and black shawl, which I stuffed in my python-embossed leather Coach bag. (And yes, another sample sale)

I figured I’d be in my black down jacket that no one’s going to notice what I am wearing anyway.

So does it really matter?

So on February 18th, while I was waiting at StarBucks by Lincoln Center, I noticed a few tall, lanky women who were dressed as if it wasn’t 9 degrees in New York City. They were all decked in high heels, shawl, colorful coats, hats and sun glasses!

I was seated at the corner all bundled up sipping my soy latte when I met a young man from Texas who was also waiting to get into the fashion show.

He asked what I do, and of course all I talked about was my children.  After going on and on about how wonderful my four children are, I remembered that I was there not as a mother but as a member of the press.  So I added, “Oh, I am one of the co-hosts of MakilalaTV, the first Filipino-American television talk show based in Queens, New York.”  , and handed him my business card.

He talked about how tough the modeling business is and that how his friends warned him “not to wear anything V-necks” at the Fashion Week.

Is there really a dress code at these events?

Well, as it turned out – it really didn’t matter.

There were men and women dressed so fashionably, and yet, there are those who weren’t.  It’s not like people will laugh at you or stare you down. It’s like any other day in New York, therefore, just be you.

Be Yourself

I didn’t know anyone at the event. When the organizers finally welcomed those who didn’t have assigned seats, I didn’t know what to do. Where should I sit? What do I do? What do I say?

I walked towards the front, and positioned myself at one of the empty seats.   Luckily, Julia, a friendly lady from the FashionWeekOnline,   was standing next to me and before I knew it, we started talking. She gave me a few pointers:

1)      If you’re sitting in the front, you can’t cross your legs. You have to try to sit straight and hands on your lap because you don’t want to trip the models.

I laughed because that would be me – with legs stretched out and hand gestures galore. A model would fall on her face and I will forever be blacklisted from any fashion events.

2)      Gift bags. Only Asian designers are known to give gift bags. ( Yes, I was lucky to have found a seat and a gift bag with hair and nail products which I gave to my recently engaged daughter.)

It was hot inside the showroom. I was dressed in layers and heavy clothing that I was sweating.  Going back to what to wear: Julia, who attends 5 of these fashion shows a day, was wearing a blazer, a shirt and a designer scarf.

Julia’s friendliness made my first Fashion Week experience
a little less awkward that I was comfortable enough to ask her,  
“You’re probably  famous or something that I don’t know about – but can we take a selfie together?”


The Fashion Show

I read up a bit about the Taiwanese-born fashion designer, Malan Breton. I was amazed to learn that he started designing at age 11. He didn't attend any design school and yet, there he was at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

When the lights turned off, everyone gleefully clapped. The show was about to begin.

A lively music was playing the background. Frankie J. Grande, Ariana Grande's brother, opened the fashion show. Interestingly, unlike the rest of models who walked the runway in their usual stoic "stage" face, Grande was all smiles as he gracefully showcased Malan Breton's Fall 2015 Men's Collection of deep cranberry silk and brocade suit. He set the mood and captured the audience.

The show was about 30 minutes. The fabrics were bold and bright. Aside from the traditional black, grey and white, there were a lot of pinks and oranges.  There was a really ripped and toned male model wearing nothing but white men's Malan Breton briefs and a long grey angora sweater knit coat.

I usually associate high fashion with outlandish designs.  However, Malan Breton’s Fall 2015 collection is something anyone can wear.  The designs reminded me of the movie, “The Matrix”,  dominated with  trench coats, fitted gowns and suits in traditional designs but with a twist.

Overall, for me, the best part of the show was witnessing Malan Breton’s reaction at the end of the showcase. It looked like he was wiping away tears as he expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation.

Video can be viewed at @gottalovemom's instagram

Was he relieved that it was over and that his hard work in putting together the fashions show met his expectations?

Was he thinking “how did I get here? Me – at Mercedes Benz Fashion Show in New York?”

You can tell by his reaction that he’s humbled by the entire surreal experience.

 And of course, I couldn’t help think that his grandmother must be so proud of him.

  Can't wait for my next runway adventure!
Additional videos of the show were posted on Instagram
Cadium orange Genevieve gown in silk brocade and organza; Salamandre brocade shawl lapel suit, double breasted blazer, trenchcoat with Prince of Wales collared shirt, Nehru collared shirt flare trouser
  Black silk satin Jacqueline column gown

( My Coach python-embossed leather bag, hat and scarf were a hit at MBFW )


  1. Malan Breton partnered this year with Fine & Fashion Jewelry Designer Maria Pujana. All the female models in the show wore Maria Pujana's jewelry. You can find more information about her and her line at

    1. Hi Mr. Urizar. Thank you for the information. I'll add a footnote in the blog. I'll try to schedule an interview with Ms. Pujana to know more on how she started, where she got her inspiration and to learn about any future events.

  2. I love this Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Show, I like this post and i wan to say that fashion designer did great job :)
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