PRESS & FEATURES
CRAZY RICH COUTURE
HARPERS BAZAAR USA
As I arrived at the Palais Garnier to meet Heart Evangelista, a swarm of paparazzi descended on us like locusts. Heart hails from a Filipino-Chinese clan that founded the Barrio Fiesta food empire and is married to Francis Joseph “Chiz” Guevara Escudero, a member of the Philippine Senate who was a leading candidate for vice president two years ago. But her illustrious social standing isn’t the only reason the photographers were clicking away: Heart also happens to be one of the most popular actresses in the Philippines. It didn’t hurt that in her round tinted sunglasses and sequined ombré dress, she looked like a modern-day incarnation of Audrey Hepburn. Images of her went viral before the fashion show was even over, with her fans furiously speculating about why she was in Paris and whether she might be in the Crazy Rich Asians film.
As the models came billowing down the catwalk beneath the opera house’s glittering chandeliers and Belle Époque frescoes, I could see how Heart connected intuitively to the fashion with an artist’s eye. “Every time I go to the couture shows, it inspires my art,” she told me. An accomplished painter who has hosted several sold-out exhibitions, Heart landed on a surprise hit when she began painting on Hermès handbags. “I had an orange lizard skin Birkin bag and I was eating french fries at Chili’s, and I didn’t realize I was getting grease all over the bottom,” she says. “I tried to clean it, but it was just impossible to fix, so I thought, ‘Why don’t I paint on it?’ I sketched a yellow bird on a branch of flowers, and people started raving about it. A lot of women have their bags stained somewhere—one woman’s daughter had scribbled all over her Birkin—so all these clients started coming to me and asking, ‘Can you paint on my bag?’ ” Heart’s bespoke Birkin bags now have a cult following. - Kevin Kwan
When we arrive at the Chan Hampe Galleries at The Raffles Hotel in Singapore, Heart Evangelista—or “L.M. Ongpauco” as it appears on her paintings—is already pecking besos with her plenty guests. It is the night of her third art exhibit, and though she is swarmed by gallery owners Angeline Chan and Ben Hampe, the Philippine ambassador Antonio Morales, and an assortment of Asian media, I walk up to her and offer my hand to her bejeweled one. I only met her that afternoon for a chat, but she blesses me with the same scented, jovial, powdery beso as she does all. “Ang daming tao!” she gushes giddily. The lengthwise white space is so packed with guests (all too happily tipsy on the free-flowing wine) that I can’t even find space to snap Heart’s #OOTD. An assistant whisks her away so she could make her speech in front of the adoring crowd. She looks perfect—immaculate hair and makeup, dripping in jewels, blazer thrown over her essential black strappy Hervé. But right before she steps in front of them, she shudders and whispers sheepishly, “I’m shy…”
...And for good reason. Chan Hampe Galleries only feature Singaporean artists...until now. - Belle Rodolfo
Love Marie Ongpauco-Escudero, more popularly known as Heart Evangelista, recently launched her 7th exhibit entitled “In Full Bloom.” The 21-piece collection features a bolder style as compared to her past six exhibits since breaking out in the art scene in 2014. She officially opened the festivities with her husband, Senator Chiz Escudero and Senator Cynthia Villar. Guests in attendance included family and friends, GMA 7 bosses Reggie Magno, Gigi Lara and Lilibeth Rasonable and fellow GMA artist Andrea Torres; Chiz’s mother Sorosogon Representive Evie Escudero, Inno Sotto, UP President Danny Concepcion and wife Atty. Gaby Concepcion among others were also present.
Interestingly, Love Marie started painting when she was a child, but put it on hold when she pursued a career in show business. But they say timing is everything and with the prodding of her husband, they both started painting under the tutelage of Ivan Roxas. “I found a new life in painting, maybe because I think I’ve found myself,” she shared. “I’m so much more comfortable with myself now that, with every decision I make, I can go all out.” Love Marie’s one-woman exhibits have consistently sold out within the first hour of its opening—a true testament to her artistry. - Pewee Reyes Isidro
Heart Evangelista, or Love Marie, seems to have known that she was destined to pick up a brush and paint. But as the artist has shared, she’s a rebel—following no one’s art style and painting on just about every surface. And that includes designer gowns and luxury bags.
Now, we celebrate Love Marie’s artistic deviance in a curated exhibit featuring all of her artwork. From her canvas paintings and collaboration with designer Mark Bumgarner to over 40 Hermès bags she turned into works of art, her exhibit entitled Carry your HeART is a testament to how she has grown as an artist.
Displayed at the Volkswagen Showroom in Bonifacio Global City are five different installations that consist of all her work through the years. Revolving around flora and fauna, the showroom was transformed into a garden. Her hand-painted bags were enclosed in white bird cages surrounded by ferns and flowers while the gowns she painted on for Mark Bumgarner stand tall in between her canvas paintings framed in gold.