Style Visionary: “Lord of Scents” Joel Cruz Debuts In A New York Fashion Show

By Stylish Team

Known for his perfume empire, Joel Cruz definitely elevated the Filipino lifestyle-business scene with his affordable scent offerings under Aficionado Germany Perfumes. Founded in 2000, Aficionado Germany Perfumes introduced a concept wherein Filipinos have access to scent replicas of luxury perfumes at lower price points. Now with 469 stores, more than half of which are franchises, Aficionado Germany Perfumes has truly uplifted the perfume options of Filipinos, as well as their business platforms in the perfume industry. This feat truly made Joel a lifestyle visionary as he improved the lifestyle and business opportunities of the aspirational Filipino mass.

Two decades and eight kids later, the “Lord of Scents” is a personality in the lifestyle-business scene, worthy of a runway show appearance in the Big Apple: NYC.

Joel Cruz was featured at the premiere show of Filipinxt runway show enterprise in New York recently.

It was a family affair for businessman Joel and his brood of eight as they marched down the ruway of Filipinxt: The New Era of Philippine Fashion. Staged at the historic 4WF3 Building in Manhattan, New York City, the all-Filipino show placed local fashion on the global map, starting with one of the world’s leading fashion capitals, the Big Apple itself. 

Garbed in pieces from the “Whispers of the Cosmos” collection — Filipino fashion designer Bessie Besana’s exquisite take on space-age glam — the “Lord of Scents” and his kids took New York by storm in a palette of muted blacks, whites and grays, which were topped off with sparkles and cascading fringes. 

Joel debuted his unique sense of style in the international arena by wearing a patterned top with zipper and fringe details. Prince Sean opened the finale in a signature jumpsuit by Bessie while Ziv wore a bib vest with paillette details. Twins Harry and Harvey, on the other hand, looked striking in a cropped Spanish bolero in brocade, while Princess Synne strutted in white ensemble with intricate beadworks and white creamy paillette skirt. Charles flashed a wide smile while wearing a sparkly top, Charlotte sparkled in a tulle dress with a beaded bodice, while Zaid confidently walked in a bib fringe vest.

As the man behind Aficionado, a perfume brand that has titillated the sense of smell of Filipinos since September 2000, Joel’s entrepreneurial success has made many headlines in the past. But before finding success in perfumes, this University of Santo Tomas alumnus also dabbled into fashion.

Armed with a Psychology degree, he was supposed to attend medical school but had a change of heart to his mother’s disappointment, Milagros Santos-Cruz. His decision later paid off and proved to be the right choice. 

From a small operation with four sewing machines and only a handful of seamstresses in 1987, Joel eventually had over 60 machines and dozens of employees. He eventually became a sub-contractor for Rustan’s, SM, Robinsons, Landmark, Syvel’s and Anson’s for their private labels. Along the way, he also learned the ropes in designing apparel and technical production, and even marketed and presented products to merchandisers.

For Joel, walking down the runway was a meaningful throwback to his original passion. In a Facebook post, the businessman extraordinaire couldn’t contain his emotions after the show. “I was overwhelmed when my eight kids and I walked down the runway in Manhattan, New York, US for Bessie Besana of Filipinxt. I couldn’t explain the feeling,” he said in the vernacular. In addition to Cruz’s successful fashion appearance, Aficionado Perfume was featured on a billboard in Times Square, New York City. 

During the runway show, Joel also tagged along his 8 eight children for a fashion show debut in New York, too.

World-class Filipino fashion

Aside from Besana, true blue Filipino fashion greats Veejay Floresca, Michael Leyva and Wilson Limon of NIñOFRANCO also presented their creations to the delight of the well-heeled audience.

Levya paid homage to his brother with an all-white collection aptly named “Heaven of Angels.” Clean, stylish and distinct, the clothes were a celestial nod to serenity and grace, each piece imbued with purity and grace. 

Limon, on the other hand, looked back to his roots with “Cruise,” which saw him drawing inspiration from the artisanal craftsmanship of the T’boli and the agricultural scene in Lake Sebu in South Cotabato. The patterns of his collection resembled the earthy T’Boli weaves from his native hometown Davao.

Meanwhile, Floresca, who had already made waves with her refined modern glamour aesthetic in Los Angeles, blended timeless elegance with classic menswear tailoring using upcycled fabrics for “A New Chapter.”  

Before the show, New York Consul General Senen Mangalile emphasized the significance of cultural representation and praised the notable contributions of Filipino talents around the world. “We are thrilled to support Filipinxt, which is poised to revolutionize how Filipino fashion is perceived worldwide,” he said.

A bigger and bolder Filipinxt will return to New York City on Sept. 7, 2024, where it will showcase the works of a new set of designers at the Annex417 on Fifth Avenue. 

For more information about Filipinxt Productions, you may visit

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