Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Designer: Oliver Tolentino

According to local showbiz writer Ricky Lo, Oliver Tolentino has yet again wowed the fashion community with his latest fashion collaboration with pop star Cee-Lo Green for the music video of his upcoming single, “I Want You”. For more than three years, Filipino fashion designer. He has been hailed as the country’s own “Valentino” because of his use of bold colors and colorful prints in his elegant designs using Philippine-produced materials such as piña and abaca. True enough, Oliver looks up to Valentino and other designers such as Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Coco Chanel. Like many of our fashion designers, Oliver Tolentino rose to fame because of hard work and determination and is a strong supporter of indigenous materials.

Oliver Tolentino's West Hollywood Shop
Oliver Tolentino was born in Orani in Bataan. As a child, he did not join the other kids as they played outside. Rather, he patiently watched their family seamstress sew clothes. At an early age, Oliver knew he wanted to get into fashion, and at the age of 18, traveled to Manila to pursue his dream. However, his mother advised him to take up a college course first. Oliver then took up Advertising in Miriam College and sew clothes for “well-to-do” classmates and organizations such as the Glee Club. Later on, Oliver studied Fashion at SLIMS School of Fashion Design and the Philippine Fashion Institute. He soon opened shop in Valle Verde, where he was discovered by celebrities. Oliver moved his shop to San Lorenzo Village and gained more clients there, notably Filipinos – Americans. Whenever Filipino – Americans would come home, Oliver was their go-to designer. And in 2009, he opened shop in the United States, in Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, California in July 2009, which is located near Dolce and Gabbana, Philip Lim 3.1 and Casa Armani. Oliver decided to open shop there in order to cater to his Filipino-American clients more easily. Additionally they wouldn’t have to go back here just to have something created by Oliver. Oliver has 35 workers to date and aside from designing, he also does the measuring and fitting. His shop also does repairing.

Madame Imelda Marcos
Lea Salonga

Regine Velasquez, ZsaZsa Padilla, Kuh Ledesma and Pops Fernandez
Since his rise to fame, Oliver Tolentino has dressed up many local and foreign celebrities. Among the Filipino celebrities whom he has dressed include Janelle So, columnist Janet Napales, television journalist Kara David for her acceptance of the Peabody Award in 2009, socialite Tessa Prieto-Valdes, former First Lady Madame Imelda Marcos for her 80th Birthday back in 2009, actress and host Ruffa Gutierrez, performers Lani Misalucha, Lea Salonga and Arnel Pineda for their shows abroad and performers Regine Velasquez, Zsazsa Padilla, Pops Fernandez and Kuh Ledesma for their concert Divas4Divas which ran from 2008 to 2009. Oliver Tolentino is considered a Hollywood darling as he has dressed up many American celebrities for major awards ceremonies such as the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Grammys and many other events. His work has been featured on the covers of fashion magazines and now, a music video. Aside from Cee-Lo, his clients include Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Disney star and granddaughter of Sylvia La Torre, Matthew Libatique and Gigi Dement, former Miss South Africa Margaret Gardiner, Amber Riley of Glee, Sophia Bush, Kelly Price, Tatyana Ali, Niecy Nash, Macy Gray, Camille Grammer, Jenna Ushkowitz, Eva La Rue, Aly Mischalka and Kimora Lee Simmons. Some of his gowns have also been auctioned off for charity in Manhattan and Greenwich, Connecticut.

Sophia Bush at Audi and J. Mendel's 2011 Golden Globes Kick-Off Party
Amber Riley at the 2011 Golden Globes

Anna Maria Perez de Tagle
Oliver Tolentino also participated in many fashion shows including  the 2009 Philippine Fashion Week held in Metro Manila, Philippines, the 2009 Bali Fashion Week held in Indonesia where he won the First Prize and his collection was used for Haute Couture Fashion Show, the 2009 Downtown L.A. Fashion Week, the  2010 Islands of the World Fashion Week held in Nassau, Bahamas where he won the Sustainable Eco Fashion Award and was Designer of the Week for the 2011 El Paseo Fashion Week in Palm Springs, California. Oliver has also held shows in New York’s Upper East Side, and the Las Vegas Strip. In 2010, Oliver was a finalist at the Oscars' Designer Challenge wherein contestants were asked to design a gown for the Oscar 'trophy girl'. Oliver did not win but through the competition, he gained lots of publicity.

The designer with his 2010 Oscars Design Challenge Creation

Oliver Tolentino’s designs also help sustain the livelihood of farmers and weavers’ from Aklan and Lukban, Quezon in the Philippines, a testament to his good character not only as a designer and entrepreneur but a Filipino, for he does not forget to look back on his roots and help those who are in need and help the environment. He even stated that he placed the word “Manila” on the window of his shop in Melrose Place and always emphasizes that he is a Filipino to his clients.

Downtown L.A. Fashion Week

Eco-Chic Geneva

In addition to his 2010 Islands of the World Fashion Week Award, Oliver also represented the Philippines to the 2010 United Nations EcoChic Geneva show wherein his piña dress was used as the finale. Oliver also represented the country in EcoChic Milan in Italy and EcoChic Asia in Singapore last March 2010 and May 2010 respectively. Oliver also garnered the SM Supermalls Notable Global Pinoy Award and the 25th Philippine – American Expo – Tri-Media Award in 2010.

El Paseo Fashion Week
With his first music video project in the works, many more opportunities will surely come Oliver’s way. We are proud that he is one of a kind one-of-our kind.

Mabuhay ka, Oliver!

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