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Fashion Flashback: Who Is The Filipino Designer Who Made Rita Moreno’s Iconic Oscars Dress?

During an interview in the 90th Academy Awards red carpet, Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno, who is the presenter onstage this year, gave special emphasis on the dress she is wearing. The elegant black dress, with a puffed skirt and golden floral embroidery, was the same dress she wore during her 1962 Oscars win for Best Supporting Actress in “West Side Story." "The dress was from the Philippines," Rita remarked briefly before moving on from the podium.



In her autobiography, succinctly titled “Rita Moreno: A Memoir," it was revealed that her iconic, black dress was actually designed by Pitoy Moreno; they are not related to each other. Hailed as the “Fashion Czar Of Asia," Pitoy put the spotlight on Philippine fashion during his rise in the 1960s.

Pitoy is best known for his intricate beadwork and embroidery, a distinct craft among Philippine artisans. In the span of his legendary career, Pitoy had dressed countless of muses and international figures, including Nancy Reagan, Pat Nixon, Princess Margaret of Britain, Queen Sophia of Greece, Queen Sirikit of Thailand and many, many more.



On January 15, 2018, Pitoy passed away at the age of 88 years old, and while the whole Philippine fashion scene mourned his death, there is also a celebration of his legacy as more and more Filipino designers are following his footsteps and owning the spotlight in the international scene.


Lead photo from @marieclarebr