8 Reasons Why Pitoy Moreno

Deserves the National Artist Award

By Blair Perez

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The Philippine fashion industry is mourning the loss of renowned fashion icon from the ‘60s, Jose “Pitoy” Moreno, who passed away last Monday. He was one of the pioneers in the local fashion industry who promoted local designs in the country, and even overseas. Moreno was awarded National Artist Award by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but was later revoked by the Supreme Court since it was found out that it had not undergone due process at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Despite this, he continued to be a legend and a great influence to the noobs in the fashion scene.

To celebrate his contribution in the industry, here are reasons why he deserves to be called a national artist:

8. He introduced local fashion materials to the international scene

He is an advocate of traditional Philippine fabrics such as jusi, pina and lepanto, and his Maria Clara masterpieces were worn by prominent women in history such as first ladies and princesses.


7. He was recognized internationally as the “Fashion Czar of Asia”

Moreno’s works were featured in international magazines such as Harper Bazaar and Vogue. Le Figaro, a French tabloid, named him as the “Fashion Czar of Asia”


6. He’s dressed ladies from high society, as well as former beauty queens

He has created gowns and national costumes for beauty queens including Miss International 1960 and Binibining Pilipinas chairperson Stella Marquez-Araneta, Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz,  Miss International 1970 Aurora Pijuan and Miss Universe 1994 candidate Charlene Gonzalez.


5. He’s also dressed the first ladies and presidents of the Philippines

Not only were his works worn by the country’s first ladies, he’s also made stylish gowns for the female presidents of the Philippines: Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

4. He was president of the first association of fashion designers in Manila

The Philippine Couture Association was the very first association of fashion designers in Manila, with 8 original members. They dominated the fashion scene during the 1960s, with members including designers like Ben Tarrales and Gilbert Perez, who were making fashion headlines then.


3. He’s also made dresses and gowns for international first ladies and European royalties

Aside from first ladies of the Philippines, his designs were also worn by famous first ladies of the United States such as Nancy Reagan and Pat Nixon, and royalties from different countries like Britain, Thailand, Greece, and Bulgaria.


2. He’s authored books that influenced countless designers the industry

With his passion in the industry, he also wrote Kasalan, a book about Philippine weddings and Philippine Costume, which discusses traditional Filipino dresses.


1. He never forgets to pay it forward

Despite being a favorite in the high society, he never forgets his roots. He did outreach programs, like teaching inmates of Bilibid prison how to draw. He’s also extended financial assistance to the Children’s Ward of Philippine General Hospital, and even to students of UP College of Fine Arts, where he is an alumna.


What is your favorite work by Pitoy Moreno? Share with us in the comments section below!

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