The local fashion industry mourns the passing of one of the country’s top fashion designers, Ito Curata.
While the Philippines’ fashion industry is busy fighting the global pandemic producing PPE gears to our beloved front-liners, we’re in shock to learn that a fashion designer close to our hearts, Ito Curata, has lost his battle due to pneumonia complications brought about by COVID-19.
With over 30 years of dedicating his life to creating breathtaking gowns and ternos, Ito Curata is a name a lot of people are familiar with, both on the local and international fashion scene. The veteran couturier has garbed notable personalities such as the Emmy and Golden Globe Awardee Sharon Stone, former President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Miss Malta Ivanka Hipolito at the Miss Universe 2018.
And perhaps the reason behind that is Ito has this unique talent and skill in making a gown look feminine and simple yet exudes the right amount of sophistication. Staying true to what he learned in fashion school, Ito understood the importance of the design philosophy of form follows function. He has been the kind of designer who won’t resort to using theatrics in his gowns just to show everyone his creations are beautiful because his gowns are already beautiful as it is.
Ito lived in San Francisco, California for 29 years where his atelier in the US is located. And when he got back in the Philippines seven years ago, Ito continued his passion for fashion garbing Philippines high-society. Recently, MEGA got in touch with a few of Ito’s close friends in the industry—from society figures to his fellow designers. Here are their heartfelt message to their dear friend, Ito Curata.
“It seems like I have lost a brother and not only a good friend because Ito was like family to us. I’m still deeply hurt and in utter disbelief with his passing because it happened too fast without any goodbyes.
I will miss his voice and his laughter as all his friends knew he had a great sense of humor. The parties he hosted at his beautiful home were always a hit and will definitely be missed. Time just seemed to fly when you were around such a charming man like Ito, and we could always just chat and laugh the whole night through.
He was a super nice and lovable guy that everyone adored having at their parties. He really made us all so happy simply with his endearing presence and a warm smile. Celebrations will never be the same without him.
You were one of the most generous, talented, sincere, lovable, and kind-hearted souls that anyone would be lucky to have called their friend. I will miss you, BFF Ito.”
“Ito was a much-celebrated designer in the industry, but it wasn’t until last year that I wore his work. He had asked our mutual friends if I would be willing to be dressed by him for an upcoming formal event. The event was in one week’s time and it flattered me so much that he wanted to dress me, so I said yes. I was worried for him because he didn’t have a lot of time to make something, but in that short week, he measured me and made the most stunning saffron gown which fit me like a glove—and that was with only one fitting.
We became fast friends and bonded over San Francisco (a city we once called our homes), and his love for Spanish fans and European objets d’art. He had a larger than life presence, a hearty laugh, a pure heart, a generous soul, and that on top of this insane talent, I wish I had discovered much sooner. The Philippines has lost a treasure, but his talent and his exceptional personality will never be lost on those who were privileged to have met and known him.”
“Ito was a bubbly and sincere friend. He was full of life! He never missed any gathering I hosted whether it was my birthday celebrations, Christmas dinners, or any other occasion—even if it meant he had to make the long trek from the south to my place in the north.
I have always loved his design aesthetic: simple and elegant. Last time I saw Ito was at the People Asia People of the year event last February 20. As usual, we had a selfie from his camera and mine with my selfie stick. He will surely be missed. May you rest in peace.”
“Ito was one of the people who helped me when I was down a few years ago. He called me and came to visit me in my old atelier and gave me cash to help me get by. I will never forget him. I will miss him and his cooking. I used to visit him in his Alabang estate and he would cook. I will invite him and Bob to my apartment and will cook for them also. This is so heartbreaking.
Ito Curata is the Oscar Dela Renta of the Philippines.”