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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, 20th Century Philippines Part 32: Boysie Villavicencio

Renato “Boysie” Villavicencio is a Filipino fashion designer, painter, writer, book editor, publisher, businessman and champion dog breeder.

During the 1980’s, Villavicencio experimented a lot with the Barong Tagalog. He often blended and mixed barong fabrics and methods of adorning them. Villavicencio would paint, draw, silkscreen, air brush, embroider, attach beads and embroidered lace, and include pleats and pin tucks, or incorporate any combination of these on his barongs. Although his approaches to making barongs varied, his barongs seemed to always include these elements: natural off-white fabric color, tailored fit with some room to move, cutaway collars, half open button down designs, side vents, shorter than traditional length and understated embroidery designs. According to Villavicencio “A Barong Tagalog should always be understated. It’s for people who have class, who don’t have to prove anything.”

Boysie Villavicencio (left) and Joey Teotico (right) model Villavicencio barongs with understated front embroidery

Boysie Villavicencio (left) and Joey Teotico (right) model Villavicencio barongs with understated front embroidery. Boysie’s barong has a cutaway collar and Joey’s barong has a band collar.

Boysie Villavicencio looks at art while in one of his own barongs

Boysie Villavicencio looks at art while in one of his own barongs. His barong has horizontal patterns of embroidery all over it and a cutaway collar.

Boysie Villavicencio (2nd from right) speaks with workers while in another of his own barongs

Boysie Villavicencio (2nd from right) speaks with workers while in another of his own barongs. His barong appears to have painted designs on the front.

All pics are likely from the 1980’s and are from Visitacion R. de la Torre’s 1986 book The Barong Tagalog: The Philippines’ National Wear