Manny knocked ’em out and Clint’s costumes kill ’em in New York

Art June 14, 2016 01:00

By The Nation

3,196 Viewed

With Manny Pacquiao (probably) retired from boxing, Filipinos are in need of someone else to brag about, and on Sunday they got one in the form of Clint Ramos, dressmaker to the stars.



With Manny Pacquiao (probably) retired from boxing, Filipinos are in need of someone else to brag about, and on Sunday they got one in the form of Clint Ramos, dressmaker to the stars.
The New Yorkbased designer of stage sets and costumes won the Tony Award for the latter skill as applied to “Eclipsed”, a hit Broadway play starring Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Oscar for getting beaten up in “12 Years a Slave”.
In fact the play has an allwoman cast and crew (including playwright Danai Gurira and director Liesl Tommy), as Ramos acknowledged in his acceptance speech. “I just want to say thank you to everybody, to a group of women who are unbelievable,” he’s quoted as saying in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Ramos had earlier said on Instagram that being nominated validated his work. It meant, he said, “that design dealing with contemporary themes is worthy of rewarding, that powerful, modern costumes are just as complex as the pretty period ones”.
For the show about five women enduring the second Liberian civil war, Ramos combined traditional African fabrics like lapa, woven cotton with colourful patterns, and Tshirts emblazoned with American popculture images (Nyong’o wears the Rugrats). 
He studied photographs of the war and found shirts and fabrics in shops selling vintage clothing and African merchandise. All the outfits were treated with dyes to mimic sweat or bloodstains that wouldn’t wash off when the costumes were laundered.
Born and raised in Cebu, Ramos took up theatre arts at the University of the Philippines, doing design work for Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. He got a master’s degree in stage and film design at New York University’s Tisch School on a full scholarship.
He has since designed costumes and sets for more than 100 productions around the world, most recently for “Frozen: Live at the Hyperion”, a musical based on Disney’s animated movie that’s one of the attractions at Disney California Adventure Park but will be tackling Broadway in 2018.
He also did the clothes (and rags) for the Broadway production of “The Elephant Man” featuring Bradley Cooper, and “Here Lies Love”, a musical about Imelda Marcos to be staged in San Francisco next year.
Ramos is assembling quite the trophy case, having won, among many others, a 2013 Obie Award and a National Commission for Culture and the Arts gong and Lucille Lortel Award in 2014. Now he’s got the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre.
Actually the Tony Awards have seen several Filipinos earn honours. Lea Salonga was best actress in 1991 for her star turn in “Miss Saigon”. Investing producer Jhett Tolentino has Tonys for the 2014 revival of “A Raisin in the Sun”, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Best Musical that year) and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (Best Play 2013).
And composer Robert Lopez, who’s of Filipino descent at least, claimed the prize for Best Original Score in 2004 with “Avenue Q”.