FASHION designer Cesar Gaupo died on Saturday, Jan. 19, having just celebrated his birthday. He had just turned 72 on Jan. 6.
Sources say that he died in his sleep in the morning after his birthday celebration with friends and names in the fashion industry.
Mr. Gaupo found his footing in the 1970s, working alongside SM (whose founder, Henry Sy, Sr. also passed away this week) for ready-to-wear (RTW) lines. Through the decades that followed also made his mark in high fashion but never leaving his RTW work behind.
In the early 2000s, Mr. Gaupo moved to Hong Kong to serve as head creative director of international brand Shanghai Tang. He moved back to the Philippines later to dabble in lifestyle and home design.
His area of expertise knew no bounds: Mr. Gaupo not only designed separates and cocktail dresses, but also evening gowns, and his designs reflect a certain ease of flow and movement. He also designed shoes, and his gravity-defying high heels were apparently a model for comfort.
His designs in various disciplines are woven by a common thread: an imaginative use of color, and a disciplined elegance.
The fashion world mourns him, as a Facebook post from designer Rajo Laurel would attest: “You are a rare breed in fashion. You are forever relevant and forever loved. Rest In Peace my friend.”
Couturier Michael Cinco posted: “I always admire his work and great talent. For me he is one of the best Filipino designers who really made Filipinos proud when he became the head designer of international label Shanghai Tang… He is a very humble and simple person. His sudden death is a big loss to the fashion industry… Rest in Peace…”
Magazine editor and former model Myrza Sison wrote: “You always, always sparked joy. Thank you and farewell, Cesar Gaupo.” — JLG