Fashion icon Ben Farrales passes on at 88

Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2021 04:17 PM | Updated as of Mar 08 2021 07:28 AM

MANILA - Fashion pillar Ben Farrales, one of the pioneering designers who first put the Philippines on the international map, has passed on due to complications of prostate cancer. He was 88. 

His grandniece, Leana Farrales Carmona, told ABS-CBN News he died peacefully at his Bel-Air Makati residence at 7 p.m. Saturday. 

“He exceeded all doctors’ expectations but eventually he could not continue the battle," she said. 

Following his cremation, the Farrales family is planning an online memorial this week with his kin and long time friends to honor his legacy. 

Although ill for some time, Farrales was still able to mount his shows, the last one was for the Pasinaya Festival of his community in Bel-Air Makati in 2017. 

Best known for his Islamic-inspired designs and innovations, Farrales lorded the local fashion scene for over six decades with his stunning collection showcased in many international circles. 

He was also known as the dean of Philippine fashion for his strict demeanor. 

One of his models, Bong Regala, recalled how he commanded discipline on all his models, as well as respect for creations and couture work of other designers.

“I want Mang Ben to be remembered as the scariest and most lovable person you can meet in one minute," Carmona also said. 

“He was larger than life. He had this strict mentor image but inside, he had pure love for people. I’d like him to be remembered for his legacy and contribution to Philippine fashion."

Aside from virtual masses online, the Farrales family has also set a two-day wake at Chapel 10 of Heritage Park Taguig City beginning Monday. Following health protocols, Carmona told ABS-CBN News Sunday night that the family can only accommodate 15 people at a time inside the chapel. The rest of the mourners can wait for their turn in a standby area. The farewell mass for Farrales is set at 6pm on Tuesday, March 9.