What's your most unforgettable moment with Pitoy?

WORDS WORTH - Mons Romulo () - November 20, 2011 - 12:00am

His timeless designs have captivated the international fashion scene, and today Jose “Pitoy” Moreno remains an inspiration in the industry. With over 50 years of remarkable achievements in the art of fashion, Pitoy continues to capture women across generations with his iconic style.

Throughout the years, renowned ladies have admired and respected Pitoy Moreno. Pitoy’s fondness for Filipina charm paved the way for him to work with no less than Filipino beauty icons known for their grace and discerning taste. From notable faces on the runway to Manila’s social circuit, the women of Pitoy share their most unforgettable memories with a true world-class Filipino talent. Tomorrow Nov. 21, Metro Society in partnership with Lopez Companies will present a tribute to Pitoy at the EDSA Shangri-La ballroom at 6 pm.

Loli Imperial-Gumabao, mother, wife, resort and farm manager

Every modeling stint with Pitoy was special and memorable. Our audience was either composed of kings and queens, or heads of state, or international celebrities. Our foreign trips took us to fashion capitals like Paris, Rome and New York where I witnessed the overwhelming appreciation for his collection. Indeed it was an honor to walk the ramp wearing his beautiful ternos, beaded and hand-painted gowns. My most unforgettable fashion moment was in London. We were set to perform for a week at the famous Annabel’s. What got us all excited was the participation of Harry Winston — jeweler of the royals! Imagine all 10 models wearing sets of precious jewelry, chosen to complement each gown we wore! It was breathtaking! They brought in piles and piles of black jewelry cases that were well guarded by security men who refused to leave the dressing room. Their eyes were on our necks, ears and wrists as we walked along. They made sure we returned backstage and their jewelry with their cases. It was so much fun!

Marina Benipayo, personality development speaker, SoFA instructor, lifestyle writer and model

Pitoy has always been very particular with how we would pose with his creations. He told me he liked the way I carried the manton. Knowing that made my walk for him worthwhile.

Patty Betita, image enhancement speaker, model coach

My most unforgettable fashion moment was in 1989. I was part of the command performance for the Newly Crowned King and Queen of Malaysia. I was so thrilled! That was my first trip abroad, and then to be one of Pitoy Moreno’s models, I was just so happy and excited to be part of that show. Another memorable show was in 1997 in Washington New York and LA; both shows were SRO crowds.

Trina Juico Kalaw, stockbroker and first lady chairperson of the Philippine Stock Exchange, 1999 to 2000

It was in ‘67, I was a 17-year-old fourth-year high school student. It was only one year of my life that I was walking up and down the ramp. After that, it was 25 years later when Pitoy requested his models in the ‘70s to grace his fund- raising show at Shangri-La Makati.  I remember it very clearly. During the rehearsal the choreographer called us the old models.  Wow! Conchitina and I looked at each other and refused to stand up.  Pitoy saw the hurt in our eyes.  Hence for the show that evening, we (the models of the 70’s) were called the “Jewel Models of Pitoy.” Galing no?

Tweetie de Leon-Gonzales, TV personality/model/entrepreneur

I used to wear Pitoy’s Muslim wedding gown, white in color with splashes of lovely purple accents and tasteful beadwork. It was a beautiful number that received thunderous applause and standing ovations. My heart was swelling with pride for him.

Gem Padilla, former model

Modeling for Pitoy gave me different feel. During fittings, you’d hear a lot of “este, otro, despues” and other Spanish words. He’d always serve the best merienda — arroz caldo.

Isabel Roces, model

I remember doing Pitoy’s fashion show in Washington DC. It was a big show and it was memorable because Pitoy joined us models when we went sightseeing. I’m sure a lot of people offered to take him around. In spite of this, he made time to spend a full day with us. I’ll always remember his smile, pointing to all the famous landmarks to make sure we didn’t miss a thing.

Carol Garcia, beauty queen

There are many of them. But definitely Bagong Anyo tops the list, the fashion show for the US President and his First Lady in Malacañang, and our European tour especially the one we did in the Sporting Club de Monaco and Marbella in Spain.

Conchitina Bernardo, founder, Karilagan Finishing School

I remember how at the Manila Press Club, some years back they had a santacruzan yearly. This was a major event and covered by the press, naturally. When we left after the last meeting they had not decided on a reyna elena, the star of the santacruzan with the young Constantine was at the end, and decidedly the main character, of the wonderful parade of sagalas. Every one of them was beautifully dressed by a famed couturier. Pitoy gave me a memorable pina masterpiece, with a crown of crystals and pearls and a huge crucifix that was embedded with jewels. When the committee saw me come in, they declared me the Maria Elena, and I walked down feeling every inch the queen that St. Helene was with a young Constantine (Pitoy’s nephew) at my side. It was not me, it was the beautiful embroidered piña gown and the accessories that accompanied it that ultimately led to their choice. Yes, I did wear it with aplomb, it was a beautiful gown.  It was a magical moment for me. I keep it as an event that is foremost in my book of memories.

Marilen Espino-Mendoza, businesswoman

It was my inaugural show for Pitoy in Beijing in 1991. He was comforting me during the time when Mt. Pinatubo erupted and my family was trapped  in Angeles City. It was also during this time when he encouraged me to join Bb. Pilipinas. Pitoy never left us the whole three days we were stranded in Beijing.

Menchu Soriano, homemaker/farmer

My most unforgettable fashion moment with Pitoy was many years ago when we were doing shows at Annabell’s London with Pitoy’s clothes and jewelry by Gerrard. There were pieces worth millions of British pounds: one emerald, diamond necklace worth £10 million, so every night there was this whole security group that brought the jewelry and would set up backstage just outside our dressing room and Pitoy would stand by the door making sure that no one would see us dressing up. He is always so protective of his models, always such a sweetheart!

Apples Aberin, Pond’s global PR manager

I was very fortunate to have had the privilege of working with Pitoy Moreno both here and abroad. I was but a newbie in the scene so being cast in the fashion czar’s shows was quite a coup. I’ll never forget the series of six consecutive gala shows he did at the Manila Hotel in the late ‘80s. The show was a retrospective of his work and was quite grand in terms of production value. We worked hard and long with brilliant director Boy Saulog to put those shows together, including filming video clips at the crack of dawn in Nayong Filipino, or at midnight at the haunted Film Center in Roxas Boulevard. We also had countless fittings in Pitoy’s charming abode in Malate where he would feed us with his famous pancit or arroz caldo and give us tips on how we should carry a long gown with a train or veil. His clothes were impeccable, with uncompromised craftsmanship and attention to detail. Pitoy got a standing ovation from a jam-packed ballroom for every single one of those six shows, proving that he was and still is one of the most iconic and well-loved Filipino designers ever.

Izza Agana Gonzales, model turned designer

Pitoy Moreno constantly tells models how to wear the dresses and how to walk the runway in his barely audible voice.

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