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Goodbye Pitoy!

Fashion stalwart Pitoy Moreno dies at 92.

The local fashion industry’s proverbial flag flew at half-mast following the announcement of Pitoy Moreno’s passing at approximately 2:48 pm on Monday, Jan 15 at Manila Doctor’s Hospital. Friends, colleagues, and admirers of the fashion czar paid their respects at the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park. Moreno was buried at the Manila Memorial Park.

Jose “Pitoy” Moreno, born on February 25, 1925, was forever known for his Maria Clara Terno worn by First Ladies, Heads of States, and even European Royalty—Princess Margaret of Britain, Countess of Snowdon, Princess Safia of Greece and Denmark, Queen Sirikit of Thailand, Princess Suga of Japan, and Queen Marguerite of Bulgaria. He did approximately 50 shows across the globe and another one I remember while reading a magazine article over a decade ago where Filipina models walked down an airplane aisle for Philippine Airlines for a makeshift fashion show while clad in Moreno.

Long before I became a journalist, I tried on many hats, including being an aspiring fashion designer. I took up dressmaking in TESDA and I spent hours pouring over his designs and the timeless decadence of it all. I looked up to local erstwhile fashion designers such as Salvacion Lim-Higgins, Aureo Alonzo, Ben Farrales, and of course, Moreno himself. I also look up to modern and contemporary designers such as Randy Ortiz who graciously dressed me for the 2017 Nick Joaquin Literary Awards where I felt like a modern day Spanish royal in a Barong.

It also helped that I am best friends with one of Moreno’s nieces Vivien who practically lives next door to my house. She would regale me with stories about him and his erstwhile master cutter who also lived next door to us. Moreno, who was dubbed the “Fashion Czar of Asia” had been featured in several international magazines. His ternos were the wedding dress of choice among young socialites during his heyday. The first wedding gown he designed was worn by acclaimed painter Araceli Limcaco Dans.

Moreno had a lot of buena familia models and was like a father figure to them. They included Margarita Sison, Bing Pimentel, Conchitina Sevilla, Maricris Cardenas, Toni Parsons, Cherry Pie Villongco, and many more.

Beauty queens Margie Moran, Simonette de Los Reyes, and Maita Gomez, along with runway phenomenons Tweetie de Leon, Marina Benipayo, and Apples Aberin were all Moreno models.

His talent will be missed. He will be missed. They don‘t make them like they used to.

Aspiring millennial fashion designers, look at how they did it. Learn a thing or two from them.

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