‘Wasteful,’ ‘Capitol of Panem’: Reactions to Malacañang fashion show

August 14, 2023 - 6:01 PM
A photo of Michael Leyva after presenting his latest collection at the Goldenberg Mansion (michaelleyva_/Instagram)

Flood situation, economic crisis and other national concerns were brought up online amid the recent fashion show that was hosted at the Malacañang Palace.

Michael Leyva, a fashion designer known for his Filipiniana gowns, showcased his 65-piece collection called “Isang Pilipinas” at the Goldenberg Mansion on August 9.

The fashion show was attended by high-ranking government officials and other celebrities.

Michael listed all their names to express his gratitude to them in an Instagram post.

“Mula sa aking puso, ako ay labis na nag papasalamat sa lahat ng mga taong nasa likod ng isang napakagandang pagkakataon na ito. Kung wala kayo sa aking tabi hindi itong magiging possible,” he said.

Some of the prominent names the designers mentioned as sponsors were:

  • Rep. Len Alonte of Biñan City, Laguna
  • Rep. Ching Bernos of Abra
  • Angkas Philippines
  • Belo Beauty
  • Brilliant Skin Essentials
  • Mayor Arlene Arcillas of Santa Rosa, Laguna

Michael’s muses or those who were selected to model his creations on the runway, meanwhile, were:

  • Heart Evangelista
  • Scarlet Snow Belo
  • Bianca Manalo
  • Mariel Padilla
  • Representative Stella Quimbo of Marikina City
  • Mayor Honey Lacuna of Manila
  • Mayor Francis Zamora of San Juan
  • Mayor Lani Cayetano of Taguig

RELATED: ‘Pretty princess’: Scarlet Snow Belo showered with compliments for first runway gig 

Michael also dedicated a separate Instagram post to thank First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos whom he said gave him the opportunity to showcase his works.

“Bilang isang manlilikha, labis kong ipinag-papasalamat ang mabigyan ng isang pagkakataon na maging tulay upang maipakita ang galing at talento ng mga Pilipino saan mang sulok ng mundo,” he wrote on the post.

The Goldenberg Mansion is one of the newly opened sites at the Malacañang Heritage Tours. It serves as a venue for special events and exhibits.

READ: ‘A glimpse of the Philippines’: DOT expresses support for new Malacañang heritage mansions 


Footage of the fashion show circulated on TikTok following the event. The videos also reached Facebook and Twitter.

Michael received cheers and applause for his designs.

The hosting of the fashion show, however, drew public criticism. Most of the criticisms stemmed from show’s lavish nature.

Several Filipinos cited the aftermath of recent typhoons and the high inflation rate as among the concurrent problems the Filipinos are facing.

“A ‘let them eat cake’ moment while Bulacan is deep in flood waters, inflation is rising, and more people are getting hungrier and hungrier. The Philippines is indeed living in a dystopia,” a Filipino commented.

“May pa-fashion show na ginastos ang pera ng taumbayan samantalang ang mga Pilipino nagtitiis sa kakarampot na sahod araw-araw para lang makaraos,” another X user said.

“I see that we’re back to an Imeldified Malacañang, extravagant, ostentatious, wasteful, insensitive,” historian Kristoffer Pasion said on the X app. 

Some Filipinos also saw this incident as similar to the Capitol of Panem, a fictional place where the privileged elite lives in the fictional franchise “Hunger Games.”

“The luxurious and decadent lifestyles of the citizens of the Capitol of Panem. The rest of us? We go through the Hunger Games,” kidney doctor Carlo Trinidad posted.

Some individuals commented that the fashion show was still funded by taxes despite having private sponsors.

“All events held in Malacañang, even if they are fundraisers, cost taxpayer money. We pay for the electricity, the security, the staff who help organize them, the food during coordination meetings, and the list goes on,” former public servant Celso Santiago Jr. posted.

Progressive groups also criticized the Palace for the event. They deemed it too extravagant amid the economic crisis.

READ: Palace fashion show criticized amid soaring rice, oil prices | Philstar.com