The creative director and designer is the first person of color to win the Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Play.
“I feel like these past 10 years have been about me coming back home,” says a visibly emotional Clint Ramos. “Things just happen in life, and you set sail to go somewhere. Two years after the pandemic, the winds have been strong and led me back here [to Manila]… These past two years have been about really reconnecting with home.”
The award-winning creative director and designer spoke earnestly at the second Vogue Philippines Mystery Dinner, a monthly event that brings together a diverse group of people and a surprise guest. The premise is simple: spark a conversation with the person next to you and seal the connection over the course of dinner.
After the launch last March at Manila House with internet sensation Bretman Rock, this month’s Mystery Dinner features Ramos, a renowned name in theater and the global creative stage. He has designed costumes for Broadway shows like The Rose Tattoo, Once On This Island, Torch Song, and the set design for Slave Play. He has the distinction of being the first person color to win the prestigious Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Play. Currently, Clint is the creative director for Encores! at New York City Center, one of the many productions he is working on.
This month’s dinner was held at the home of philanthropist Nena Tantoco in Sta. Elena, Laguna, a 45-minute drive outside of Metro Manila. Tantoco welcomed guests with a string quartet, a menu prepared by chef Billy King, and lush table settings highlighted by Jo Malone London candles. At one point during the balmy night, she gave away abaca fans to the guests.
The intimate dinner was attended by guests from the creative industries, like filmmaker Kim Jones and actor Jericho Rosales, Tats Manahan, restaurateur Ana de Ocampo, Mike Miranda, multi-awarded dancer Madge Reyes, interior designer JJ Acuña, theater director Chris Mohani, and artist Kat Cuenca. Vogue Philippines editors Audrey Carpio, Trina Epilepsia Boutain, Joyce Oreña, and Pam Quiñones were also in attendance.
“We wanted to bring people together who do not know each other very well. And this is really an opportunity to have a deep conversation with the person across the table or the person beside you,” says Vogue Philippines editor-in-chief Bea Valdes in her welcome talk. “Maybe discover something new about yourself as well.”
She then introduced the designer, who then spoke unabashedly about his experience as a creative and a Filipino immigrant in America. “I left the Philippines in ’92, right after college. My father brought me to the States, and I wanted to pursue theater there,” he says. “But he saw through it, he saw what I was going to do, so he brought me there, and he left me there. He said, ‘Find schools here and find your way. And someday, you will realize what you are running from, and you will come back.’”
Clint carried his dad’s words to heart, finding himself on a constant journey back to his roots. During the multiple-coursed dinner, he hopped from one table to another, sharing stories and not a few laughs.
At the end of the evening, guests brought home fragrances from Jo Malone London, gift cards from popular optical store Ideal Vision, and the March 2023 issue ofVogue Philippines. It was a night to remember, one that hopefully inspired people to take their time in their journeys of finding their way back home.
Leonardo de Ocampo and Ana de Ocampo
Kat Cuenca and Manny Cuenca
Jericho Rosales and Kim Jones
Erika Reyes and Mina Manuel