When the first male model came out of Joey Samson’s runway, dressed in what appeared to be a white lab coat, we knew we’d be entering a laboratory of some sort. It was as if we were to take part in an experiment, and bear witness to a scientific breakthrough—his 5th Philippine Fashion Ball collection. Welcome to the mind of this mad genius.
The theme of the night was menswear. And to say that this was right up Joey’s alley is an understatement. His all-white, razor sharp collection was no trial and error. The designer injected new life into a throng of tried-and-tested looks. He’s been doing androgynous and gender-bending fashion since time immemorial but every time, they resurface like new again. Just when you think that an ubiquitous vest isn’t anything more than that, you’d be pleasantly surprised on what else he can do to it.
Asymmetrical vests! Fringed vests! Long vests over skirts! Vests with exposed backs!Told you.
Joey is a very calculated designer and every collection proves to be fail-safe. Taking a cue from his Instagram handle @garmentsurgeon, this might just be the exact role he steps into every time. His genius resides not in the aesthetic of his pieces but in the processes of how they are made—he carefully splices through fabric and stitches them in a way that’s very now.
The devil is in the details. Think double waistbands on trousers, gaping holes at the back of jumpsuits, surprise fringe details (or full-on fringe!), and secret, almost dismissible embroideries at the hems of his loose trousers. The pieces aren’t clothes you take at face value. The need to dig deeper, to look further into them is Joey’s request to those who witnessed what he has created.
Given that the looks were put together thoughtfully and carefully, breaking them one by one and piece per piece is an entirely different animal. It is only then you can see that it’s not just a white button-down, just another pretty white dress, or the usual everyday white blazer. On the runway, it was like seeing these humdrum pieces for the very first time. Upon closer inspection, that white dress is actually deconstructed and pieced back together again as if made for the fabulously anti-pretty. That button-down actually has buttons on the back instead of the front and that “everyday blazer?” Turn around. There are the elegantly exposed shoulder blades. Ah, how ‘modern!’ This loosely thrown around word suddenly makes sense when born out of a mind like Joey Samson’s.
You know that it’s a success when people you’re not really designing for suddenly want your stuff. The always-grandiose Tessa Prieto-Valdes who is “so not into menswear” said that “finally, for the first time in my life, I can wear Joey Samson.” Truly, the designs transcend gender. The crisp, masculine blazers on women actually looked extra feminine and the languid white satin trousers on the men are made extra sexier. They even go beyond taste: Let’s talk about that poncho made of blazer sleeves and full look made of nothing but purely fringe!
“It’s very Joey,” says Rajo Laurel on the collection.
What is exactly “Joey” then? If you look at the collection as a whole is when you’ll see that it is actually like unspooling Joey Samson’s mind—like hard, cold evidence from picking his brains out. It is in toeing along the clean clines of sharp tailoring and the effortless ease of relaxed, androgynous suiting—there is Joey. It is in his careful incision of clothes into a new cut or a new shape—there lies Joey.
And though this fashion showcase is very precise and outright calculated, it isnot rocket science. It’s just Joey being Joey.
Click the slideshow above for Joey Samson’s full 5th Philippine Fashion Ball collection!