Legends never truly die. The works and legacy they have left behind live on, speaking volumes of their impact on people’s lives. Though the Philippines’ fashion world has lost a hero in Cesar Gaupo’s passing last January 19, 2019, he is remembered by the industry as the fashion icon he truly is.
For almost 50 years, Cesar Gaupo has been a stalwart steward in the Philippine fashion scene. Industry players all hold him in regard, noting him as one of the pioneers of local fashion design. Cesar at once pushed both made-to-order clothing and ready-to-wear, establishing himself as a trailblazer early on. Having worked with retail giant SM in the ’70s, he elevated off-the-rack fashion with his high-end design philosophy, never compromising the quality of his clothes.
While Cesar Gaupo’s name is almost always attached to prêt-à-porter, he will be remembered for his designs as an acclaimed couturier. His penchant for structured silhouettes juxtaposed with his inclinations for ornate orientalia would be seen throughout the collections he sends down the runway. He favored satin in structured eleganza, waist-cinching obi belts, pleated offerings of chinoiserie fabrics, and—his pièces de résistance—intricately embellished dresses.
Nowhere was this more evident than in his celebrated tenure as creative director for the international brand, Shanghai Tang. For his first collection for the brand in 2001, Cesar effortlessly combined his signature style with Shanghai Tang’s trademark design. Flowing down the runway were asymmetrical chiffon tops, embroidered capri pants, delicate tops with Oriental prints, and pops of vibrant colors.
Constantly putting feminine sensibilities on the design pedestal, he always championed style over fashion. It’s evident in both his ready-to-wear offerings and runway designs—chic separates that allow for ease of movement and wearability. His designs spoke to career women at the time with its easy-to-wear quality fused with the trends then.
Here at MEGA, we remember Cesar Gaupo and his sartorial contributions to our growth as a fashion magazine. A fitting tribute to his legacy, our archives are chockfull of his design, runway collections, and achievements throughout the years.