Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Tribute Gala for Jose "Pitoy" Moreno

Throughout a career spanning 60 years, Jose "Pitoy" Moreno has continued to make the Filipino proud in terms of Philippine Fashion. He has been compared to the famed international fashion designer Oleg Cassini and hailed as the "Fashion Czar of Asia," yet for all the recognition and accolades he has received, his contribution and influence on Philippine fashion remains beyond measure.

Pitoy Moreno was one of the earliest advocates of the Maria Clara gown, and the terno, while transforming Filipiniana gowns into timeless pieces of fashion. He has been known for his extravagant beadwork, elaborate embroidery and personal fabrics. First ladies, royalties, politicians and socialites here and abroad have sought and have worn his designs, from formal ternos to impressive ball gowns.
A National Artist, Moreno has brought the country's national costumes to worldwide recognition, staging over 43 shows in every major fashion capital such as Paris, Moscow, Rome, Madrid, New York, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Athens, Barcelona, Sweden, Viennna, Moscow, and Washington D.C., to name a few. International luminaries such as Nancy Reagan, Pat Nixon, Bettty Ford, Queen Sirikit of Thailand, Queen Margarretta of Bulgaria, Queen Sophia of Greece, Princess Margaret of Britain, Pricess Suga of Japan, among others have all proudly worn his creations. His local muses on the other hand include, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz, Bb. Pilipinas' Stella Marquez-Araneta, Tingting Cojuangco, as well as many other celebrities.
 His accomplishments both in the local and international fashion industry made him one of the most prized and respected Filipino designers of all time. In honor of all his contributions, Metro Society, in partnership with ABS-CBN, Lifestyle Network and the Bb. Pilipinas charities held the "Jose "Pitoy" Moreno: A Tribute Gala" at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel last November 21, 2011. Showcasing a large collection of the fashion legend's creations, the gala indeed was the biggest fashion event to cap off the closing year. Politicians, socialites, celebrities, his loyal muses and clients, as well as his fellow designers filled the Isla Ballroom of the Shangri-La Hotel, all eager to see the genius and his work once again. Their heart's desire was satisfied as more than 100 pieces of Philippine costumes, extraordinary couture gowns, and beautifully crafted ternos filled the runway.
Opening the evening was Moreno's collection of Muslim costumes in gold material with glass beads, brass bells and ornate metal headdresses worn by Charlene Gonzales in the 1994 Miss Universe that won in the national costume category. The night also featured Moreno's barong creations followed by a colorful collection of his modernized terno. The pieces displayed his famous reinvention of the garb with short vertical butterfly sleeves and cinched waists. Most had accents of either a floral beadwork or embroidery.

The show then livened up with his flamenco-inspired dresses complete with mantones de Manila, his black-and-white Maria Clara collection, and his famous 19th century-inspired Maria Clara gowns crafted from indigenous materials jusi, piAa and lepanto. Moreno's bridal collection became the most mesmerizing part of the night. It proved why it has always been a Filipina's dream to wear a Moreno gown on her wedding day. The pieces were grand with beautiful beadwork, endless trails and enchanting veils. The collection also featured Muslim wedding costumes, which showed the designer's complete devotion to Filipino culture and fashion.
The runway was star-studded as supermodels Izza Gonzales-Agana, Patty Betita, Suyen Chi, Marina Benipayo, Menchu Soriano, Annette Coronel-Cruz and Phoemela Baranda donned Moreno's famous works. Moreno always loved to dress beauty queens and several of them participated in the gala show including 2011 Miss Universe 4th runner-up Shamcey Supsup and 2010 Ms. Universe 4th runner-up Venus Raj, as well as past Bb. Pilipinas winners Dianne Necio, Bianca Manalo, Patricia Fernandez, Nina Ricci Alagao, and Marie Ann Umali. Host KC Concepcion expressed pride as she wore her first Pitoy terno while actors Sam Milby and Piolo Pascual both wore the designer's barongs. Siblings Megan and Lauren Young, Denise Laurel, Cecilia Schulze, Georgia Schulze-Del Rosario and Karylle also graced the runway.
Singers Gary Valenciano, Rico Blanco and Rem Zamora serenaded Moreno's muses while the music from the Manila Symphony Orchestra perfectly complemented Moreno's aesthetic. When Pitoy Moreno came out on stage, everyone cheered and gave the famed designer the ovation he truly deserved. Proceeds from the event was for the benefit of the Lopez Group Foundation, Inc. LGFI coordinates the Lopez Group's corporate social responsibility initiatives focused on education, health and wellness, humanitarian assistance, livelihood, environment, and the promotion of Philippine arts and culture.

All these years, I've been putting up shows all over the world. It's not about me--it's about the best of Philippine fashion, the best Filipino models, and the best Philippine material. Everywhere I go; I try to promote our culture."-- Pitoy Moreno

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