From Edgy To Classy: We Challenged Yeng Constantino To Trade Her Signature Look For A Day
Yeng Constantino was just 14 years old when she received a guitar from her father. Inspired by rhythm, melody, and the endless possibilities of music, she wrote the song Hawak Kamay—a tribute to a close cousin who had just left their hometown. But back then, Yeng’s teenage self had no clue that an OPM classic had been born.
Music helped the singer-songwriter discover her confidence, identity, and personal style. While other girls her age looked up to ballerinas, athletes, and scientists, Yeng wanted to be like her favorite rockstars. Influenced by her favorite punk icons Blink 182, Coheed and Cambria, My Chemical Romance, and Avril Lavigne, Yeng found herself frequenting the nearby ukay-ukay store, attempting to replicate her heroes’ fashion wardrobes. “Di ko naman kayang bumili sa mall ng mga mamahalin, kaya doon ako nag-hanap sa ukay-ukay. Wala naman kasing nabibiling ganun sa palengke. Doon ko nahanap yung mga ka-pareho [na damit] ng mga artists na gusto ko.”
When Yeng strummed her first guitar, she didn’t just fall in love with music—she pursued it like an ever-present suitor.
For starters, she joined a band—and in 2006, at 18 years old, she joined the ABS-CBN reality show Pinoy Dream Academy. As Yeng appeared on television, Filipino families immediately knew she was a star waiting to be discovered. She won the contest, earning the title, “Philippine’s Pop Rock Princess”.
But through the decade, Yeng has repeatedly proven that there’s more to her than pop rock.
“I’m happy to be called ‘the Pop Rock Princess’—sobrang grateful ako doon—pero at times, feeling ko hindi na bagay sakin yung title kasi nag-iiba rin ang taste ko. As an artist, I am very unpredictable.”
Entering twelve years in the industry, it’s no question that Yeng has matured not only as a singer, but also as a songwriter. “My music has changed through the years,” she quips. Her recent album, Synesthesia, is proof of that. “Iba na ako mag-sulat ngayon. Kaya ko nang mag-sulat ng lyrics tungkol sa ibang tao. Yung mga kanta ko [in Synesthesia], most of them, hindi tungkol sakin.” Aside from her trademark pop rock music, Yeng stepped out of her comfort zone and ventured into genres like ballads and even 90s-inspired R&B. This December 15, the singer, songwriter, and vlogger will be holding a concert at the Araneta Coliseum, performing her new music to thousands of her followers and fans.
As she experiments with the music she creates, she’s also been more adventurous with her wardrobe. “Every now and then, I try to do something new in music and fashion. [This way], na-eexcite ako. Yung energy ko, totoo—and fans feel that, too. Kung na-eexcite ako sa ginagawa ko, yung core fanbase ko ma-eexcite rin.”
The Intersection of Music and Fashion
“Alam ko na sobrang okay yung outfit ko when I feel like a rockstar,” exclaimed Yeng, who underscored the importance of wardrobe choices in an artist’s life. While Yeng identifies herself as a minimalist (her go-to outfit consists of basic pieces like oversized shirts and sneakers), her concert OOTDs are another story. “Pag umakyat na ako on stage, I feel like a different person.”
Yeng captured the attention of many at concerts and red carpet events, where she would don wigs and standout, eccentric fashion pieces. “Yung Yeng na nasa bahay, mas simple. Pero iba yung Yeng na nasa stage. There’s a certain feeling kapag tutugtog na ako. Lumalabas na yung performer [side ko]. Biglang may yabang. I like that feeling.”
For the singer, dressing up is so much more than nailing Instagram-worthy photos. Fashion not only supports her music, but reinforces the message she wants to convey. “Sinusupporta ng porma ko kung paano tatanggapin ng mga tao yung performance ko.”
The Evolution of Her Personal Style
When Yeng’s career skyrocketed in the early 2000s, the rockstar was often seen dressing up in pieces borrowed from the boys. Today, as she experiments with different styles and looks, a constant remains—an edginess that only confident people like her can pull off. “I just wear what makes me feel that I’m an artist. Minsan kasi, ma-bobore ka at one point sa mga porma na tina-try mo,” quipped the singer. “Nagkaroon ng season na puro bohemian lang ang gusto ko. May time naman puro print on print lang. Sometimes, I [even] wear something girly—pero may edge. Laging may edge.”
Aside from head-turning pieces in surprising cuts and unconventional silhouettes, Yeng used to be known for her colored tresses. In 2014, she dyed her hair in different hues—from purple, to pink, and even turquoise. A year later, on her wedding day, she glided down the aisle with blonde hair braided in a fishtail, reminiscent of Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen. As she celebrated one of the important days of her life, Yeng remained true to her identity. She lived by her own fashion rules—she was limitless.
Yeng shines the spotlight on her stylist Ica Villanueva for being a huge part of her fashion evolution. “Sobrang laking parte niya [Ica] sa style ko, because this is her core style. That’s the reason why I got her. Nakita ko lang siya sa Instagram at nag-stand out siya sakin. I said, Gusto ko yung ganitong style. May authority.”
After two years of working together, Yeng is grateful to Ica for helping her build her brand as an artist. “Malaking parte ang damit sa trabaho namin. Pag nahanap mo na yung sarili mo as a musician, kasama na doon ang porma.” Ica was responsible for coming up with a template of Yeng’s signature looks. They started with band shirts, hoop earrings, and long belts customized with the musician’s initials. “That time, wala pa masyadong nag-sestreet style and athleisure. Yun yung inimpose ‘kong look, and she’s comfortable [with it]. It’s very natural with her,” Ica shared.
The musician appreciates how Ica completely understands her personal style. “As an artist, very unpredictable ako. I dress according to my mood, and nasasabayan niya ako.” Yeng and Ica’s professional relationship is very collaborative. While they work on each outfit together, Yeng fully trusts Ica, especially when the stylist asks her to take fashion risks.
“Fashion fades, but style is eternal,” industry legend Yves Saint Laurent once said. While it’s important to remain genuine, Metro.Style believes that everyone can still take fashion risks based on their personal styles. We challenged Yeng and Ica to come up with three classic looks, looks very different from what the musician would usually wear—and they eagerly accepted.
“I’m excited to see what would happen,” shared Yeng to the Metro.Style team as she sat in her makeup chair. “Kinakabahan ako sa classic looks kasi hindi ko alam kung bagay sa akin yun, but I’m excited kasi sobrang confident and comfortable ko with my glam team.
“For the glam looks, we put together classic elements like jewelry that she normally wouldn’t wear, pero nag-play pa rin [kami] with textures like velvet, fur, and lace,” explained Ica, who was in charge of styling Yeng for this makeover. “[As a stylist], kailangan makuha mo talaga yung perfect combination ng personality niya and ano yung silhouettes na bagay sa kanya.”
To remain consistent with Yeng’s branding, Ica made sure to incorporate edgy details like metallic chains, a cape, and wigs. “Kahit formal, dapat ‘very Yeng’ pa rin. Nandun yung challenge na pag formal, hindi typical na gown lang.”
Ica successfully created multiple classy looks, each with a twist. In the first outfit, Yeng donned a classic black tuxedo dress. To add more dimension, she paired it with a long cape used as a belt—the outfit’s standout element. Sexy but masculine, the musician admitted that this look was something she could get on board with.
On the other hand, the second look was far more challenging. Ica shared that Yeng normally strays away from the color white—but since the shoot was all about taking fashion risks, the singer-songwriter was down for it. Going for old Hollywood glam, Yeng stepped out of the dressing room in a vintage-inspired tulle gown. To tone down the frills, she wore classic white leather boots underneath.
Finally, for the third outfit, Yeng gave her wigs a rest and let her natural hair flow down. Donning a feminine, form-fitting slit dress, the musician flaunted her curves, while still managing to incorporate her signature style through fur and metallic chains. Upon seeing her final outfit, Yeng admitted that she liked how it reminded her of divas. “Mahilig ako sa divas. Fan ako ni Mariah Carey and ni Regina Velasquez. Dati, in denial pa ako, kasi sabi ko punk artist ako. Pero hindi ko talaga ma-dedeny.”
Ever the risk-taker, Yeng successfully owned the challenge, wearing each outfit with rockstar-like confidence.
Will the star pull off similar looks at her upcoming concert? And what wardrobe surprises does she have up her sleeve? For Yeng and her stylist, Ica, the answers are still to be found—they shall go with the flow, wherever the wind blows. And there lies the beauty of fashion. No rules, no limits.
“Feeling ko sa 2019 sasabog na naman ako [with my wardrobe],” laughs Yeng as she changed outfits. “Ang tagal ko nang nananahimik. Ready na ako."
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Produced by Judy Arias
Written by Hershey Neri
Photography by Seven Barretto
Styled by Ica Villanueva
Makeup by Bryan Lim
Hair by Florenz Torrontegul
Editorial assistant: Cara Tirona