By Liza Ilarde
Randy Ortiz has always been one of the constants in the Philippine fashion industry. You don’t read about him designing super-trendy items that are worn by everyone and her mother, that are knocked off by other designers or trickle down to the tiangge. You don’t see his face splashed on every society column, attending this ball or that gala, surrounded by stylish party girls. You don’t hear about him being praised as the designer du jour, the one that everyone wants to wear to events.
But what I do know is that Randy has been quietly designing suits and gowns for the powerful people, for the beautiful movie stars, and for the loyal clients who want to be dressed in an impeccably constructed outfit—which he has been doing for 30 years. And last week, those same people—the powerful, the beautiful, the loyal—all came to The Peninsula Manila to celebrate Randy’s 30th anniversary as a professional designer.
At Randy O 30 Homage, he presented an 80-piece collection that showed the range of his aesthetic. Known for his sharp tailoring, tasteful embellishments, and mastery of color, the long gowns, coats and jackets, and men’s suits that paraded in front of us did not disappoint. He opened the show with what could easily pass off as bridal gowns in ivory, ecru, and beige with crystal beads or lace inserts. The black-and-white suite was punctuated by an appearance by guest model Juliana Gomez, the 18-year-old daughter of Lucy Torres-Gomez, who is Randy’s most famous muse. Not to be missed was the menswear portion, modeled by celebrity clients John Estrada and Ogie Alcasid, as well as the (tall) sons of retired supermodels Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez and Marina Benipayo.
But my favorite was the finale of jewel-toned gowns in color combinations that is a true Randy signature—orange and green, purple and fuchsia, pink and red, olive and aquamarine… Just thinking about these shades and tints together in an ensemble sounds like a color-blind disaster, but in the hands of Randy, it was pure magic.