MANILA – (UPDATED) Stella Marquez-Araneta, chairperson of Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc., is planning to pay tribute to pioneering Filipino fashion designer Pitoy Moreno, who passed away on Monday.
Araneta confirmed the plan to ABS-CBN News’ Mario Dumaual early Tuesday, on the sidelines of the marathon selection process of Binibining Pilipinas 2018 candidates at the Kia Theater in Quezon City.
The same national pageant honored Moreno during its “Gold” or 50th edition in 2012, when candidates paraded in his designs. That was Moreno’s last public appearance, before his health condition worsened.
“I’m very sad,” Araneta said of Moreno’s passing. “It’s hard to accept that he’s no longer with us. We were very, very close for many, many, many years. I love that man.”
She added: “He was very kind. He was an unbelievable designer [who] made a name in Europe, in the United States, making gowns for First Ladies.”
Araneta was referring to past American First Ladies like Nancy Reagan, Pat Nixon, and Betty Ford. European royalties, such as Princess Margaret of Britain, also wore one of Moreno’s designs.
Dubbed the “Fashion Czar of Asia,” Moreno was known for his take on the classic “Maria Clara” terno. This was evident in his creations worn by Gloria Diaz in Miss Universe in 1969, and by Charlene Gonzalez for her national costume during Miss Universe 1994.
“He was a big man, and he was a very humble person,” Araneta said, “but he did well in everything that he touched.”
The wake of Moreno will be held at the Capilla del Señor, Sanctuario de San Antonio Parish in Forbes Park, Makati. Public viewing will start Wednesday until Friday, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
A final mass will be held Saturday morning at the same venue, before the funeral at Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque at 2 p.m., according to Moreno's family.