Philippine fashion guru Aureo R Alonzo passed away on Sunday morning at Makati Medical Center due to pneumonia. He was 86.
On the heels of the reign of National Artist Ramon Valera, Alonzo, Jose “Pitoy” Moreno, Ben Farrales formed the triumvirate that ruled and defined Philippine Fashion in the ’60s and a good part of the ’70s, Inquirer reported.
Not only did they corner the Philippine high society of those glamorous eras, when balls were staged regularly, they also reaped accolades abroad, where they presented their collections before a prestigious mix of royalty, heads of state and the jet set, the newspaper reported.
Alonzo’s highest recognition was the Camel Award given in Europe in the ’60s. It was said that he showed the judges how he could cut, construct and sew right before their eyes, the news report said.
Like his generation of couturiers, Alonzo knew and did the basics of clothes construction. He didn’t draw design, he made clothes, the news report said.
Their fashion triumvirate brought the Filipino’s artistry in draping, exquisite beadwork, embroidery and ornamentation to the global stage.
Like the early breed of couturiers before them, they mastered the terno. And this was in the late ’50s and in the ’60s, when the country’s upper-crust women were a captive market, foremost of them was a beauty who would be First Lady, Imelda Marcos, reported Inquirer.
Alonzo had his share of loyal clientele, led by another beauty, the statuesque Gretchen Oppen Cojuangco, the wife of tycoon Danding Cojuangco. They frequented his atelier/residence in Malate, a two-story ornate structure.
Although he came from a prominent clan in Navotas–Roldan, his maternal side–it is well known that he didn’t finish school. This made his stellar career all the more impressive. He reached the pinnacle of his profession by sheer talent, hard work and character. He was well loved by people.
In recent years, he suffered from a blood-related ailment, according to his longtime assistant Eric Santos.
The stalwart spent his last years in a nursing home run by religious nuns, where he continued to accept a few clienteles. His last work, done recently, according to Santos, was a red draped long dress (or gown) for Linda Tanjangco to be worn to a wedding, reported Inquirer.
He lies in state at Funeraria Paz at Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Paranaque, reported Inquirer.