For a sense of history and culture, millennials ought to get familiar with such multi-generational iconic names in the local fashion world as the late Ernest Santiago and Ramon Va-lera; living treasures Ben Farrales, Christian Espiritu, Pitoy Moreno; and even Patis Tesoro and Goullee Gorospe, the latter who just died a couple of weeks ago.
To imprint Goullee in the minds and hearts of Filipinos for his immense contribution to local fashion is in order.
Goullee, Reynaldo Reyes Gorospe in real life, who succumbed to a heart attack was cremated on June 3. His works will be remembered for sheer elegance, even if his friends fondly describe him to be “loka-loka” (crazy), “tiliera” (yeller), and a “kiti-kiti” (restless).
Now that he has passed, would there be a franchise of his brand? “No more. I think his talent is non-transferable,” said his elder brother Orly.
Moreover, Goullee was once known as the “designer of the stars” during his prime. From beauty queens Melanie Marquez, Margie Moran, Maria Isabel Lopez, and Nini Licaros; to top sportsman Manny Pacquiao, actors Lito Gruet, Ernie Garcia, and Joe Fabregas; to actresses Vilma Santos, Nora Aunor, Alma Moreno, Maricel Soriano, Carmi Martin, Carmen Ronda, Daria Ramirez, Lorna Tolentino, Beth Bautista, Jaclyn Jose, Angela Perez, Isabel Rivas, Dexter Doria; and singers Timmy Cruz and the late Didith Reyes.
As a matter of fact, Goullee made a name for himself early on in the fashion scene designing for showbiz celebrities, before he went on to cater to high society.
Remember the series of fashion parades of an all-star cast which he produced and presented in several hotels in the ‘80s? In between takes for the movies and TV, the likes of Liz Alindogan, Bambi Arambulo, Pinky Suarez, Anna Marie Gutierrez, Vida Verde, Melissa Mendez, Irma Alegre and a host of then sexy stars would sashay down the catwalk, giving top models a run for their money.
Thankfully, many of Goullee’s tinsel town’s clients remained his best friends until his last breath. Peers and colleagues Maribel, Liz, Daria, Laila Dee, Azenith Briones, Malu Barry, and Jade Ecleo were the first to pay their last respects during the designer’s wake at St. Peter’s Chapels in Quezon City.
Singer Dulce shares her fondest memory of Goullee: “Thank you for making my very first silver and black mestiza dress I wore for our Philippine Embassy events abroad. Enjoy the incomparable beauty and peace in paradise.”
Thespian Lito Gruet says on Facebook: “Another friend gone too soon….one by one…you were my very first friends in Manila along with Eddie Hernandez and Fanny Serrano…I will miss you! Let’s appreciate life…and all those who are still with us… because tomorrow is never promised.”
Also condoling with the Gorospe family were friends and fellow designers Larrie Silva, Robert Castañeda, Chris Ramirez, Oliver Tolentino, Boy Lizaso etc.
Later in his career, Goullee shifted to designing gowns for businesswomen, civic leaders, mothers and society doyennes, giving them due recognition in such fashion shows such as “Empowered Women of Achievement,” “Mommie Dearest,” and “Manila’s Loveliest Women.”
“You know, Goullee, you make these ladies happy and you boost their confidence,”once said a good friend of his.
And of course, these women were also at the wake to pay tribute to Goullee, among them Dr. Amy Tinaza of Asian Aesthetic Center, Thai lawyer Kitty Doll, entrepreneurs Ri-Nah Garcia, Gloria de Leon Cuaresma, Nikka Roma, Nanette de Lara Feliciano, and Cora Tan among others.
These women are planning to hold a tribute to Goullee come October to spotlight his works one last time.
And finally, as a brother, uncle, granduncle and cousin, Goulee is known to be a kindhearted soul. According to his nephew, broadcaster Howie Severino (his mom is Goullee’s elder sister), “To family, he was easily one of the most devoted, generous and loving men we’ve ever known.”
Rest in peace, dear Goullee.