Respected Filipino fashion designer Danilo Franco, dubbed the country’s “Dean of Fashion Illustrators,” died Tuesday afternoon. He was 65.
A Facebook post written by his good friend JP Fenix detailed that Franco’s sister recounted the designer “went to the (UST) ER for relief of arthritis on his knee but got his usual asthma attack and [had]cardiac [arrest]simultaneously. [He] went into coma and was never revived.”
Born September 12, 1951, Franco began his career by obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Fine Arts major in Advertising from the University of Santo Tomas. But even before graduating, Franco was already working for the now-defunct newspaper Philippine Daily Express as a humble layout artist. He continued his work and eventually became the paper’s Art Director until 1985.
After honing his skills in art and illustration at the paper, Franco followed his heart’s calling and pursued fashion design by building his own fashion boutique.
He soon made a name for himself and found loyal clients, among them the who’s’ who of high society and the Philippines’ A-list celebrities.
But perhaps, Franco is best known for bearing the flag of the often-underrated aspect of fashion: illustration. His beautiful and detailed illustrations, an often-overlooked skill in the industry, earned him respect from fellow designers. Some of them even tapped Franco to illustrate their ideas.
With this skill and immense knowledge for design, Franco eventually went to teach in several fashion design schools in the country. Before passing away, he was a faculty member at the SoFA Design Institute in Makati City. The same school honored him in 2016 with an art and design exhibition entitled, “#Design Your Story: Danilo Franco.” His fashion illustrations and hand-painted designs for women’s wear and even Barong Tagalogs took the spotlight.
In one of his final works, Franco designed the gown of Miss Canada Siera Bearchell for the 65th Miss Universe pageant. The Canadian beauty finished in the Top 9, and caught the hearts of many as an anti-body shaming advocate for her full and curvaceous figure.
Franco’s wake began at The Sanctuarium in G. Araneta Avenue, Quezon City on Wednesday. Details of interment have yet to be announced.