Foremost Filipino designer Cesar Gaupo died early this morning in his sleep, a source close to him told Inquirer Lifestyle. He turned 72 last January 6.
One of the designers who shepherded Filipino fashion design in its golden age from the ‘70s to the ‘90s, Gaupo helped pioneer Philippine ready to wear, particularly with SM, and also made a name in high fashion, with his innovative designs and flamboyant colors.
He had the Cesar Gaupo RTW line for SM for decades, and became one of the trusted team of the Sy family, particularly Tessie Sy Coson.
Gaupo earned the rare distinction of having designed a leading foreign fashion brand, Shanghai Tang. He was one of only three Filipino designers to have headed the creative design team of a foreign fashion house. (The other two are Roy Gonzales for House of Jean Patou in Paris and Monique Lhuillier who founded her brand in California.) Gaupo headed Shanghai Tang design team in the mid 2000 in HK, where he was based. He designed its full year-round collections.
He returned to Manila after he left Shanghai Tang to pursue home design as well. He expanded his thrust to include lifestyle design.
A poignant detail was that his colleagues in fashion—from designers to models—feted him last night for his birthday. His former bosses Tessie Sy-Coson and Elizabeth Sy were around.
He had a full night of fun and reminiscing. He didn’t wake up from last night’s sleep.