A recent photo of Ito Curata and Bob Miller with their son Taj (center).
Geremy Pintolo
You were a masterpiece, Ito Curata
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - April 3, 2020 - 12:00am

Dear Ito,

You were cut from the most fabulous cloth by the Creator, soft at the edges, firm at the seams, of vibrant hues, tailor-made for exquisite creativity. You wore your fabric well, Ito, as you made sure you draped many women with your talent, turning them into belles of the ball, whether on the red carpet to the altar, or on the red carpet in Hollywood.

American actress Sharon Stone, during her active years in Hollywood, was among those draped by your creations. You once recalled. “I will never forget what she said: ‘My God, Ito, what did you do? You gave me the ass of a 20-year-old’.”

Sharon wore the dress on the cover of a US magazine, which you later had framed and proudly displayed in your atelier.

In 2015, you were honored as one of PeopleAsia magazine’s “Men Who Matter” awardees. It was then that you revealed just how happy you were with the pattern of life that you cut for yourself. “Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness,” you said.

Ito, you were not only a fashion designer, you were a painter (you were a Fine Arts major at UST), a portrait artist, a chef, a party planner, a humanitarian who shared not just your resources, but also your time, with street children. Despite your busy schedule, you, Bob and Taj made time to help feed underprivileged children and the elderly with the group, Angels for Street Kids.

Most of all, you were a loving partner to Bob and a devoted father to Taj, whom you were thinking of in your last known phone call as Bob preceded you in the ICU, where he continues to fight for his life as I write this.

We would never understand why you put down — forever — your drawing pen, closed your sketch book, and hung up your magic shears last March 26. But we take solace that it was in God’s perfect time.

You were a great friend. You loved to make people happy by throwing them parties in your home, which, just like you, is fabulous, Hollywood-esque. The way you paid every attention to detail in the gowns you designed was the way you decorated your home, every nook is photogenic.

I remember my very first statuette. It wasn’t from any award-giving body. It was from you. It read, “Birthday Girl.” You gave me the statuette during an Oscar-themed birthday party you threw for me in your European-themed home. You asked guests to come in their Hollywood best. Since it was the year Jennifer Lawrence won the Oscar for Best Actress (and tripped on her way up the stage to receive it), you made me a gown almost just like hers — but better.

You unfurled a red carpet on the ascending driveway leading to your front door, beside which was a giant bronze statue of “Oscar” himself! In resin, but it didn’t look like resin. That night, you gave me the gift of magic. You made me feel like a star.

And you made all guests to the party feel like they were stars, too.

Recalls PeopleAsia managing editor Paolo dela Cruz of that “Oscars” night: “Ito Curata, fabulous and kind, was always a comfort to see in a sea of well-heeled people. I remember a party he threw for my boss Joanne Rae, in his house, back when I was super green and intimidated by my new job. I was so nervous because I virtually didn’t know anyone except for a few people. Still, Ito and Bob, gracious hosts that they were, made me feel so welcome. He was a class act and an act of kindness rolled into one.”


As features editor Alex Vergara wrote in an article for PeopleAsia.ph, Ito was “everyone’s BFF.”

“He was one rare fellow whom you tended to like and gravitate to the minute you meet him. From his warm smile down to his quick, inoffensive wit, he had an easiness about him that instantly soothes and draws you in,” Alex wrote.

True. True. Social media was flooded with tributes to Ito, and each tribute was like a tight hug — you knew the person who wrote it was going to miss a friend. Dearly.

STAR’s Büm D. Tenorio Jr. wrote in his Facebook tribute to Ito, “Your welcoming smile, your warm friendship, your generous heart, your good vibes, your joyful disposition, your naughty whispers, your sumptuous cooking — everything about you will be missed.”


Fare thee well, dearest Ito. Growing up, I was an overweight and awkward little wallflower, not often invited to the ball. And then there I was, suddenly in the midst of balls as part of my work, and turning to you to make me look my best in them. I would twirl like a little girl in front of your life-size mirror, swishing my ball gown left and right during fittings. And with your magic wand, a bit of salagadula menchikaboola, bibidee bobbidee boo, you would turn me into the belle of the ball — at least in my husband Ed’s eyes.

“Ito was always so proud whenever you were wearing his gowns,” Ed told me.

I asked your 13-year-old son Taj, a very brave young man, what your favorite song was, and he said, All of Me by John Legend.

Ito, you gave all of yourself to those who knew you, and loved you, and whom you loved in return.

From all of me, thank you, Ito.




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