Inside the Mind of a Style Icon: Heart Evangelista Reveals How Fashion Can Be Truly Liberating StyleBible Preview
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Inside the Mind of a Style Icon: Heart Evangelista Reveals How Fashion Can Be Truly Liberating

"At the end of the day, when it comes to style, you have to be comfortable and feel good. When you feel good, you look good.”

Aug 1, 2022

"I feel like I’ve gotten to the age where I’m really comfortable with myself: my flaws, my mistakes, my opinions. Everyone gets to this age."

We were on Heart Evangelista Standard Time. It was a very early day for everyone — we spoke in the dressing room at around 9:30AM but Heart had already been up since 3:30AM. She was pushing past her Paris jetlag, and made it out of the house by 5:20AM to arrive at the shoot already glammed up. An entire cover shoot done and dusted before noon, an easy 3 hours. Some crew members hadn’t even finished their iced coffees when photographer BJ Pascual said the magic words: “it’s a wrap!"

“Yay, I have a life now!” Heart exclaimed, having spent a full week shooting campaigns. She had just changed out of her candy-coloured cover shoot look and into her signature head-to-toe white. She eased herself into the interview with a liberal spritz of plush, fruity perfume all the way down to her ankles. Faces recognizable from her YouTube vlogs or Reels updates hover close by; even her gentle brown dog, Shuti (short for “Shutiful”), sat dutifully in the corner waiting for her.

Anyone who follows Heart’s maximalist adventures or her vibrant, feminine style knows her for rocking bejeweled couture and spindly stilettos on the cobblestone streets of Paris. It was refreshing to see Heart in relaxed, everyday outfits: wearing Havaianas sandals and crochet crop tops, Heart proves that true style means you’re always “on duty.”

As an international style icon, Heart is a professional through and through — she gets the assignment. In this exclusive sit-down interview, Heart talks about her fashion philosophy, why style is democratic, and how to marry a glamorous itinerary and comfort.

Photo by BJ Pascual.

Heart Evangelista for Preview.ph August 2022

What did fashion mean to you when you were younger, and what does it mean to you now?

You know, it’s still very much the same. It’s still self-expression. I remember that I used to get my mom’s tutu skirts, and I would wear it as a tube top—like a nice fluffy blouse. And they actually do that now!

I lived in my imagination, my own world. I had very strict parents. I remember just staying at home all day–I would go to school, then go back home. I would play with my mom’s nightgowns and her dresses. I even fell down the stairs and got seven stitches just because I wore her heels. So I really, really loved it, because it made me happy.

I also played with a lot of Barbies—I played around with their clothes and stuff like that. I felt like it really saved me from being bored.

It’s the same now. I dress up not because I just want to look good. I dress up because I wanna express myself. A lot of people say, “Grabe naman, ang casual mo today, naka-corset!

I feel good, and I want to express that. It’s art, you know.

Photo by BJ Pascual.

Since fashion is a medium—much like painting—what do you think it is inside you that you express by way of fashion?

It makes me happy. I’m very open about my mental health, and I get very sad, fast, out of nowhere, for no reason. [Fashion] is kind of like my armor. It prepares me to play a role where I can say 'Okay, I’m empowered by what I wear.'

Since you were into fashion at such a young age, did you ever have an inkling that it would end up being such a huge part of your life?

No. In fact, I didn’t really think about it. There are other people doing more major stuff, and it does shock me and feels very surreal when I get invited to international events. Or when it gets to the point where they pay for my ticket. It’s like, why?

I love it because when you’re there, they give you a bunch of clothes and it’s up to you how you wanna [sic] wear them. And this is what I love to do, so it’s so fun and surreal.

Did you ever try to reconcile the styles you had in the past with your style now? In some effort to solidify and find your style identity?

You know what, I realized that I don’t have a singular identity. I think everybody has different facets of their personality, and I think I’m forever changing, adapting, and going back. It really depends. Before, I used to be like, ‘Okay, I’m going to go with all whites–that classic look, with a tinge of something perky.’

But now, I love expressing and mixing up things and changing things up. So I don’t have a specific style. When I was younger, I remember that whoever I was with, I would conform to how their lifestyle was. I’d be a hippie—I’d be iba-iba. But now I’m a mix of everything I’ve been through in my life and my experiences. I also pay close attention to how I feel during that day.

Photo by BJ Pascual.

Could you walk us through what goes on in your mind while you’re putting together an outfit for a day?

Today I put this together at 3:30 AM!

But I do admit: I really think I have a uniform. That would be all-white. And I put on this corset—this is from Mark Bumgarner—plus some sparkles and colors. It excites me.

As for the thought process? It really depends on how I feel—how I feel about my body, or if I feel too tired.

Do you ever experience getting a blank mind while you’re trying to put together an outfit?

Definitely. I get very frustrated. Again, it’s like you can’t express–it’s like you wanna talk but you can’t. I feel so bad because I don’t want people picking up after me. But, I take a break.

Usually, when it’s bad, I don’t go out. It really affects me. I put a robe on. Unless I really have to work, of course.

But if it’s like, I’m just gonna go out and do stuff, pick something up at the mall, I don’t anymore. Pagod na ako! The process is longer than what I really need to do. So ‘di ko na ipipilit.

What stops you from getting to that “good outfit” moment?

Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed with ideas and I can’t put one together. It’s like when you paint something and you want to add so many hues, colors, and change it up a bit, but then it ends up messy—beautiful, but still messy. Sometimes you want a balance. That’s what probably messes up my process.

If I have these rings here (shows left hand), I can’t have a lot of bracelets here, either. It has to be balanced. It’s the same with how I put on clothes.

Photo by BJ Pascual.

When you go abroad, do you plan each and every outfit?

Yes. I plan each outfit. But I’ll also have a few pieces—na backup—in case I have an extra event or a free day when I’ll want to chill.

It’s like when you cook—some people are really gifted. I don’t cook. But some people can open their ref, and with the tira-tira they know exactly how to come up with something. I guess that’s how I am when it comes to dressing up.

What’s your relationship like with trends?

I am not so much of a trend girl. I probably would get one piece and incorporate it with whatever I have. I don’t follow the trends so much. I love when new ones come out, but [my style] has to [feel] innate to me–so I don’t really believe in them that much.

Is there a trend right now that you don’t like?

Super low-waist. Oh my God. It’s so much pressure. Although I used to love that when I was young–I really liked super low-waist jeans–it’s just so much pressure now. I’m not so happy about that, but I do want to try it out. But I wouldn’t wear them all the time.

How about a trend that you really like?

I’ve always loved platform pumps. And I also love the idea that now, comfort is still style. I used to believe differently. Now, every kind of style is style. It doesn’t have to be what you see in magazines. I love the fact that you can wear your slippers with a dress and still look very chic and effortless. I like that.

Photo by BJ Pascual.

Do you believe in “baduy”?

I think it only looks “baduy” when you’re forcing it. When you don’t feel it, but you feel the need to wear it because it’s trendy. It doesn’t look natural. “Baduy” is really more of a scent that you emit. It’s not what you put on. You know that something is off—the person isn’t really comfortable. At the end of the day, when it comes to style, you have to be comfortable and feel good. When you feel good, you look good.

Since you’re in heels so often, what was it like doing a shoot exclusively with Havaianas sandals?

I was very happy about that. Actually, when I was younger, I was very torn about really being super tall, or wearing flats. But as I aged, I realized that I don’t have to worry about my height. I’ve been wearing lots of flats lately and I love it. So I was very happy about today’s shoot with the pairs from Havaianas. It’s a good mix of fashion and comfort.

I’ve been starting to buy nice sandals and stuff like that. I think I’m confident now that I’m older.

Why do you think so?

I know my flaws. I’ve made peace with my flaws. I know my strengths and [am] very proud of them. I know that my strengths will overshadow [my] flaws. If you keep seeing your flaws, then that’s what people are going to see.

I feel like I’ve gotten to the age where I’m really comfortable with myself: my flaws, my mistakes, my opinions. Everyone gets to this age.

Photo by BJ Pascual.

What do you think are some misconceptions that people outside the fashion world have about those in fashion?

That it’s pompous, snooty, materialistic, and maarte. It really isn’t about that. It’s about celebrating your individuality and, again, here are houses and designers preparing beautiful armor to shield us. It’s art.

But, I get it. I get that not a lot of people understand.

But the moment that you get a nice jacket, or even put some lipstick on. It will totally change your mood and your day. So it’s all about promoting your individuality and self-expression. That’s fashion for me.

Do you feel like fashion is for everyone, even the people who don’t have the same views as you on this?

I feel like it’s for everyone because, in a way, everyone puts an outfit together in the morning. They still look for jeans that fit well. I don’t think anybody would walk out of the house with pants that are extremely long—they’ll be tripping all over its hem. Fashion is still for everyone.

So, how would you convince those who are hesitant about fashion to step into that empowered, expressive zone?

Well, I would just say, go for it. Wear what makes you feel good and comfortable. I’m sorry, darling, but that’s already fashion.

Photo by BJ Pascual.

Is there something that you wish you knew about the fashion industry before you got into it?

I know I always come prepared—I know I used to stress about this and felt pressure about getting everything perfect—but there are times when my team can’t make it. For example, I had to go to Paris Fashion Week on my own. When I fixed my hair, did my makeup, and put my look together, it looked better! Just kidding!

I guess it looked better because it was less effort. It was natural. Even if it wasn’t perfect, it [was] made more beautiful instead of being so stiff.

I don’t usually travel on my own. I don’t know how to attach tickets or fill up forms, so I had so much anxiety. I was waiting for Kat to get approved that day, and I was like, 'Do I go or do I not go?' But there was something in me that said, I gotta go.

It felt so good, so liberating. In that sense, I have the mind of a 19-year-old even if I’m…I forget my age.

Any advice for someone who’s still finding their way into the fashion world?

It’s the discovery of oneself that will get you the perfect outfit when the time is right. It’s a mix of the stages in your life, the challenges that you’ll face, the people you’ll meet, certain styles that will be introduced to you. Eventually, you’ll collect all of these thoughts and ideas, and then you’ll come up with your own formula–your potion.

Styled by Kat Cruz
Photographed by BJ Pascual
Hair by Jake Aguilar
Makeup by Justin Soriano
Set Design by Jessica Paula Dizon
Art Director Bacs Arcebal
Words by Sofia de Aros

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This article was created by Summit Storylabs in partnership with Havaianas.