He was famous for wearing off-the-shoulder blouses—but Louie Cruz was definitely more than the fabric missing from his tops.
To Manila’s night owls from the '70s to the early 2000s, he was an icon. The '90s party crowd will remember him for Giraffe, the Makati restaurant that turned into the most happening club come night time, attracting the city’s most gorgeous and the country’s most powerful. As it’s publicity and events manager, Louie organized the club’s much talked-about events, many of them for a good cause.
For close friend Thelma Sioson San Juan, he gave Boracay a social scene. “He redefined the Manila club scene—and no doubt about it — he turned Boracay into a go-to destination as early as the '90s by inviting friends who are legions to eat and party there,” says the veteran journalist.
Louie is the son of former ambassador to the United Kingdom, JV Cruz. In the '70s, he was among a group of fabulous young men, stylish and bohemian—Budji Layug was part of this group—who traveled around Europe. On their return to Manila, after finally heeding the request of their parents, Budji designed furniture and put up Budjiwara, while Louie helped establish Manila’s party scene.
He was a bon vivant, an art collector, and a great party host. Before the People Power of 1986, Louie also organized the Halakhakan gatherings, a series of parties whose aim was to temper the intense political tension between the Marcos and Aquino camps at that time. After the Marcoses left, he began writing a column—called Off the Shoulder, but of course—for the lifestyle section of the Manila Chronicle.
Louie passed away today, Friday, according to his nephew, at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in BGC at 2:08 in the afternoon.
In 2014, Louie wrote about his plans for his own funeral for the Inquirer, going into detail about not wanting a coffin and using a hospital gurney. “Just cover me with a white bedsheet up to my neck as if I were asleep,” Louie wrote. “Place a black off-the-shoulder top on top of my remains before cremation, so when I enter heaven I can wear it. Easier to find me.”
He wanted a party to immediately follow the mass. The text invitation would say: “I believe death is a celebration of a new life. Bring your own bottle to send me off with a blast! Casual attire. This is my last wish. It has been a wonderful world! Thank you to all of you! Love you! See you all in heaven!”