Tribute to Jose Pitoy Moreno Jr.

Jose “Pitoy” Moreno Jr. has died due to cardiac arrest at 2:48 pm Monday afternoon,  January 15, 2018 . With a career spanning over 60 years, Moreno’s creations has graced local and international catwalks from Manila, Los Angeles, New York, Milan, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo and London. His works was featured on the pages of international fashion magazines like Vogue Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.

Jose Pitoy Moreno
Maria Clara and Barong Tagalog inspired costumes ( Photo courtesy of: Skyscrapper City forum)

The fashion designer has been the favorite among the who’s who of Philippine politics and society thanks to his beautiful terno designs, Maria Clara-inspired gowns with his clever use of Filipino fabrics and patterns brought these costumes up to date.

Fashion Icon of Asia

Jose “Pitoy” Moreno or “”Pitoy” Moreno been credited in popularizing piña, jusi, hablon and mixing other indigenous materials, presenting them to the global audiences. He also designed the costumes at one point in time of the Bayanihan Dance Company during its early years.

Elizabeth Berroya during the 1992 Miss Universe pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand
Elizabeth Berroya during the 1992 Miss Universe pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand

Most of the Binibining Pilipinas -Universe representatives like Gloria Diaz, Maria Lourdes Gonzalez ,Elizabeth Berroya, Dindi Gallardo, Charlene Mae Gonzales, Joanne Santos- Quintas, Janine Tugonon, have worn costumes designed by the fashion icon during their stints at the international pageant.

Jose Pitoy Moreno
Charlene Gonzales national costume in 1994 Miss Universe pageant

Charlene Gonzales’s national costume which was an inspiration from two ethnic tribes T’Boli and Manobo that he created in 1994 have won ” Best National Costume” at the Miss Universe 1994 pageant held in the country.

Jose Pitoy Moreno
Joanne Quintas

Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) , the organization behind the national pageant since 1964, had long included Moreno as its executive committee member. the organization had paid tribute to Moreno in 2013, by having candidates parade in his creations. This earned him the moniker ” Fashion Czar of Asia”.

He authored  a book which showcases the evolution and history of our national costumes, the rich tapestry of embroideries and art behind these dress.

International Clientele

Among his clientele included most of the first ladies of the Philippines and the United States — Nancy Reagan and Pat Nixon.

Queen Sirikit
Queen Dowager Sirikit of Thailand ( Photo courtesy of Bureau of the Royal Household of Thailand )

International celebrities like Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias, Cristina Ford Among world’s royalties such as Queen Dowager Sirikit of Thailand, Queen Margarretta Saxe-Coburg-Gotha of Bulgaria, Princess Margaret of Britain, Princess Suga of Japan, Queen Dowager Sofia of Spain are also among long list of clients .

In 2009, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared Moreno the second National Artist for Fashion Design after Ramon Valera in 2006. However, awarding on this batch which included theater proponent Cecile Guidote Alvarez, filmmaker Carlo J. Caparas, architect Francisco ‘Bobby’ Mañosa was met with protest and controversy that the Supreme Court was forced to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the conferment.

His passing marked an era of Philippine fashion industry. His legacy will never be forgotten by a generation who have seen his works.



Rence Chan

writer and contributor

social media writer, food lover, heritage advocate, philatelist , deltiologist , numismatist , notaphilist , toy collector, key chain collector, bibliophile , orchid fancier , plant lover , environmental advocate, freshwater aquarium fish hobbyist, tour consultant, memorabilia and art connoisseur.