The industry has lost one of its greatest and the world is a bit dimmer because of it, but “Señora” will forever be remembered for his designs and big heart.
Social media has been abuzz with news of top fashion designer Pepito Albert’s passing. Director Jackie Aquino, fellow designer and mentee Rajo Laurel, restaurateur Margarita Fores, to name a few, all expressed their grief at his demise.
“The industry has truly lost one of its greatest,” said Jackie.
Rajo shared, “The world is truly less brighter now.”
Margarita, who was one of Pepito’s best friends, wrote, “You will be with me forever.”
Pepito, who had been battling colon cancer for two years, leaves behind a legacy of cutting-edge designs that highlighted silhouette, proportion and impeccable construction. But more importantly, he leaves friendships that have remained tested and true over the years.
Pepito’s lean, streamlined, architectural designs that had nary an ornament proved to be the right contrast to the overly intricate gowns and dresses that were still favored by Manila’s social set.
Pepito first dawned on the Philippine fashion scene in the early ‘90s. After attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and gaining the attention of publications like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Pepito found his way back home to shake up a complacent industry that was still mired in the 80’s and its over the top sensibilities.
His clean, streamlined, architectural designs that had nary an ornament proved to be the right contrast to the overly intricate gowns and dresses that were still favored by Manila’s social set back then.
His work also paved the way for a direction in fashion that emphasized the importance of quality tailoring and fabrication. He popularized the corset, which became quite the fashion staple in the local scene. He was the catalyst that the Philippine fashion industry needed to elevate design and construction.
As groundbreaking as he was in his field, Pepito was the most media and camera-shy fashion star. He guarded his privacy fiercely and refused to even have a solo fashion show. He barely granted interviews and when captured on film, he mostly glowered at the camera.
Pepito, who had been battling colon cancer for two years, leaves behind a legacy of cutting-edge designs that highlighted silhouette, proportion and impeccable construction.
His success was not a result of marketing campaigns, media blitzes or unapologetic self-promotion. He became one of the most respected designers in the Philippines simply because of his vision, creativity and eye for detail and beauty. Pepito had a strong sense of self and his designs reflected his style and aesthetics. All this while ensuring that the woman wearing his garments was never overshadowed by his work.
A fashion insider said that Pepito was an “acquired taste.” No, not because of his designs but possibly due to his acerbic wit and intimidating stare. Truth be told, Pepito was one of the most loving and well-loved friends anyone could hope for. Generous to a fault, warm and welcoming, fun and funny, he was fondly called “Señora” by fashion insiders and friends.
As much as the industry honors Pepito and his stellar body of work, he is equally remembered for his big personality and even bigger heart. The industry has lost one of its greatest and the world is a bit dimmer because of it but Señora, without a doubt, will forever be remembered.