Fil-American designer wins Daytime Emmy for costume design | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Angelo Santos with his Emmy
Angelo Santos with his Emmy


Filipino-American designer Angelo Santos and his team bagged the Outstanding Costume Design for a Drama Series in the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. To our knowledge, it’s a first for a Filipino.


Santos won for the daytime soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.”


The Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards were given in April, earlier than the 70th Emmy Awards given on Sept. 17.


The Tarlac-born Santos, now based in Los Angeles, has been in the creative team of the CBS daytime soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” for almost 15 years.


“I work as a couturier on the show, collaborating on the designs, but solely responsible for creating the gowns used by the different characters, from cutting and sewing to fitting and beading, up to the last detail,” Santos told Lifestyle in an e-mail interview.


Missi Pyle in the 2012 Oscars, in Santos’ eco-friendly gown


20 characters


“I have two seamstresses who help with alterations. We have 20 characters on the show and we can’t build all the costumes from scratch. We always have big fashion shows, weddings and parties on the show.”


The series, which premiered in 1987, is one of four long-running soaps in the United States. It focuses on the lives of families in the fashion industry.


“B&B is the most watched soap opera in the world, with an audience of about 35 million viewers daily, and is broadcast in over a hundred countries. The Guinness Book of Records lists us as the most-watched daytime show in the world for the past nine years,” he said.


His path to winning an Emmy was a long one that started when he and his sister migrated to the US in 1981.


Santos, then a new graduate from high school, enrolled in a nursing school and finished with a degree in nursing. His passion, however, was in fashion design.


He went to enroll at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), where he was mentored by Jack Stitsworth, a famous couturier from the 1940s to the ’70s.


“Stitsworth noticed that I was very interested in haute couture and that my style leaned toward the classics. Through him, I learned the finer techniques of making a dress,” Santos said.


Even if Santos was unable to complete his studies at FIDM due to financial difficulties (he transferred to LA Trade Technical College, where he graduated), that first mentorship led to more opportunities to work with other people in fashion, like June Van Dyke, a close friend and assistant of costume design icon Edith Head.


Head was one of the most awarded costume designers in Hollywood. She won eight Academy Awards for her work in “The Heiress,” “All About Eve,” “A Place in the Sun” and “Roman Holiday.”

Angelo Santos

Hollywood legends


Upon the death of Head, Van Dyke inherited all her costumes, which she exhibited in museums around the world.


“Since these costumes were old, many of them needed alterations because of loose beading and ripped seams. I was able to help in restoring these museum pieces. I was so fortunate to just touch and work on gowns worn by Hollywood legends like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Ginger Rogers,” Santos said.


He went on to apprentice in the couture house of James Galanos. This was followed by stints with costume designer William Travilla, who made the pleated ivory cocktail dress Marilyn Monroe wore in the  1955 film, “The Seven Year Itch,” and Jean Louis, who was the head designer of Columbia Pictures from 1944 to 1960.


Santos opened his atelier in Tarlac in 1989, but closed it two years later, as the distance between the US and the Philippines made it difficult to sustain  operations.


He then worked with other designers and brands like Kevin Hall couture, Jill Richards, Gene Roye and North Beach Leather.


At North Beach Leather he made leather and suede clothes for Tina Turner, Paula Abdul, Cher, Bruce Springsteen and top models Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Marcus Schenkenberg.


The Daytime Emmy win was not the first time Santos earned recognition for design.


Six years ago, he was asked to create the first eco-friendly gown from silk peace chiffon. The silk used is from cruelty-free silkworms that have lived their full life cycle.


Santos’ creation was worn by actress Missi Pyle at the 2012 Oscars, where it drew international press coverage. A month later, Santos was asked to create a six-piece collection for the inauguration of the Zuellig Building, the country’s first eco-friendly building.


“This year, I was fortunate to be nominated at the Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for a Drama Series. I did not expect to win, although I hoped and prayed I would win.


“I was so exhausted and had lost my voice, so I just held the statue and exited. To my knowledge, I’m the lone Filipino-American recipient of an Emmy Award in Costume Design. It’s such an honor,” Santos told Lifestyle.


“Even if I have been a long-time resident of the US, I believe that the formative years I spent in the Philippines and the struggles of being in a foreign country helped me to become what I am today.”

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