It’s not every day that a Singaporean model makes waves in the international fashion community, but Layla Ong, 21, did exactly that when she walked the runway at Milan Fashion Week exclusively for Gucci’s fall/winter 2018 show yesterday. Fresh off her runway coup, we speak to the breakout Singapore fashion model about her experience and her key takeaways from Milan.
Hi Layla, how was your first experience walking at Milan Fashion Week? How did it feel like when you first stepped out on the runway?
I was super thrilled! It was more than exhilarating throughout, and after the show it is like you’ve accomplished a major milestone. When it was almost show-time, with Alessandro Michele standing just in front of you, it was all so surreal—I have never ever been so nervous for anything—I could just feel my stomach turn cold before stepping out into the limelight.
Tell us about the scene backstage at Gucci. What was it like?
Well, surprisingly, it was not like any chaotic backstage scenes as what I would have imagined. It was very organised; everyone was at their designated position; they knew what to do, where to go. It was a breeze. Not to mention a buffet table was set up at the venue, so during our free time, the models were just mingling around and munching away. They took care of the models really well.
How was it like meeting Alessandro Michele and being with him at the fittings?
He has that aura, man! He doesn’t speak much though. He had a team of 30-40 crew members who assisted in dressing, accessories styling, photo-taking… The entire fitting took less than 30 minutes. Alessandro Michele has a clear vision of what he wants exactly and is audacious in his style. That’s probably why he is able to lead the Gucci gang!
You’re the first Singaporean model to walk the Gucci runway in a long while. Can you tell us what that means to you?
Mega SG pride! It is a true sense of national identity. Hopefully it will help to pave the way for our fellow Singaporean models in opening up to more opportunities in the international fashion markets.
From your time on AsNTM till now, how do you think you have grown as a model?
I would have to say that I am definitely more mature and focused now. There were times when I felt lost, but that’s alright now. There is a clearer picture of what I want to achieve in life and what I want to achieve in my modelling career.
What is one key thing that you have taken away from this experience?
Nothing is impossible, never be afraid to do anything that is out of the norm.
What’s next for you? Are you heading to Paris for fashion week too?
I’m on an exclusive contract with Gucci for Milan Fashion Week, which means I won’t be able to take part in the remaining shows for this season. I might be off to Paris and London afterwards, then back to Singapore for the Outsider Fashion Festival, and then off to Japan and Korea for work. My agency is planning to send me to New York for September’s fashion season, we are waiting for that to be set in stone.
See other asian faces who stole the show at the AW'18 fashion weeks:
This article was first published at Harper's Bazaar Singapore.