By Robert R. Requintina
PUERTO Rican actress and singer Rita Moreno made a big throwback and stole the spotlight at the 2018 Oscar Awards show in California last Sunday night when she wore an evening gown designed for her by the late Filipino designer Pitoy Moreno in 1962.
It was the same gown Moreno wore when she won Best supporting actress for the movie “West Side Story” which won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
In her interviews for AP and ABC news, Moreno said that she did not expect to win that night because she was up against Judy Garland for the movie “Judgment at Nuremberg.”
Moreno, 86, recalled that the gown was made in the Philippines where she just shot a movie about World War II.
She identified the Filipino designer as Jose Moreno, popularly known in the Philippines as Pitoy Moreno. They have no relations whatsoever despite the same surname.
Dubbed the “Fashion Czar of Asia,” Pitoy is one of the most celebrated fashion designers in the Philippines. He passed away on Jan. 15. Pitoy was 92.
At the height of his career in fashion, Pitoy dressed up US first ladies, royal families from Thailand, Bulgaria, Greece, Britain, and Japan; and Filipino celebrities.
Moreno said that she was hoping Pitoy was watching the 2018 Oscars ceremony so that “he gets to see this extraordinary dress again.”
She added that her evening gown has been hanging in her closest for 56 years now.
Moreno presented the award for Best Foreign Film won by Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman.” It was the first time Chile won an Academy Award.