Bryanboy was feeling reflective. It was a cold, gray afternoon, and the fire in the drawing room of the Greenwich Hotel was cozy and warm. He ordered some tea and was touched by the smiling waitress who brought him a plate of cookies; whether or not he’d eat them was beside the point. He’d been recognized and appreciated, and that felt even nicer than the butteriest bite.

Bryan, whose real last name is Yambao, has been a public fashion figure for about a decade, ever since the blog he started as an acne-scarred teenager in the Philippines went viral and Marc Jacobs cold-called him and, after convincing Bryan it wasn’t all a prank, explained that he’d be naming a bag after him and flying him to New York to sit in the front row at his show.

That was all such a long time ago! Bryan had a different nose then, and he’d never seen snow. He was still angry with his parents for not buying him a black nylon Prada backpack (they said he could have it as a reward for graduating from high school, but by the time he did, the backpack had been discontinued), and he spent about 16 hours a day in front of a computer screen, obsessing over places he’d never been, things he didn’t own. Now Bryan is married to a tall, press-shy Swedish banker and his main residence is a house on a pretty lake in the suburbs of Stockholm, but he spends most of his life on the road, frequently as the guest of the fashion brands he lusted after during those stultifying Manila afternoons so long ago.

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