LOS ANGELES — Oliver Tolentino had a star-studded fashion show at the Los Angeles Fashion Week.
At the show, which had a red carpet theme, he showcased 33 pieces in his own style of Hollywood glamor. He also included a gown with Filipino fabrics, a black and gray piña and abaca gown.
"My collection was wearable pieces but with couture finishing. I had a series of red, pink, gold, silver, and black looks with sequined gowns, chain mail dresses, printed brocade gowns, and voluminous layers of tulle," Oliver said.
Oliver, who became a favorite on the Hollywood red carpet after he established a shop in Beverly Hills, has been a big advocate of promoting and using indigenous fabrics by using them in his creations and proudly promoting them on the international fashion stage.
"My piña tuxedos were the first ever worn to the Oscars and Golden Globes by nominees. My piña dress was the first one worn on live American television when Carrie Underwood performed in a peach piña gown on American Idol," he said.
More of his creations were worn by other celebrities and personalities like Tara Lipinski, Emmy Rossum, and Kara David in prestigious functions abroad.
"Jessica Alba, Sophia Bush, Maggie Grace, Maria Menounos, and Tatyana Ali have worn Philippine native fabrics. I've made it a point to include our fabrics in my collections shown in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Springs, Bangkok, the Bahamas, Barbados, and Manila," he said.
In his most recent show, one of the models who graced the LA fashion ramp for the first time was Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados from Dapitan City.
A top 20 semi-finalist in the Miss Universe pageant and winner of the Best National Costume award, Gazini surprised everyone when she came out as one of the models that night.
"A mutual friend mentioned Gazini was in LA and put us in touch with each other. I'm so happy she made her Los Angeles modeling debut in my LAFW show. She's so nice," Oliver said.
Meanwhile, a regular face in any Oliver Tolentino fashion show is model Tutay Maristela-Fasano, Oliver's muse and an ER nurse by day. The supermodel, who is a nursing graduate from the University of the Philippines, is also a wife and mother.
"She has confidence when she walks and puts on a show," Oliver said about her. "She's also very funny! I enjoy having her backstage before my show."
For Oliver, the highlight for his LA Fashion Week show was to show a collection after the lockdowns due to the pandemic and seeing the crowd again support him.
The VIPs who watched his runway show included Black Eyed Peas Apl.de.ap, boxer Nonito Donaire, former Miss Universe Margaret Gardiner, Fil-Am actors Mike Cabellon (co-stars with Ted Danson in "Mr. Mayor"), Carlin James (co-starred in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace" with Darren Criss and Isa Briones), Anna Maria Perez de Tagle (co-starred in "Godspell" on Broadway), singer Kiana Valenciano and Consul General Edgar Banajos.
"I was honored they all attended," Oliver said. "Apl is really into fashion, and Nonito loves artistic things outside of boxing. He's very funny, too. He joked that his wife Rachel, who was seated beside him during the show was saying, 'Oh, I want that; I like that; I want that.'"
"I like that some of the Filipinos and Fil-Am artists and VIPs got to meet each other at my show. I like bringing our community together," Oliver said.
Oliver also shared why he came back to LA Fashion Week after a while.
"I'm based here in LA with my Beverly Hills boutique, so I don't always feel the need to showcase here. I've shown in Bangkok three straight years before COVID-19," he said.
"LAFW approached me to close Friday and Ralph Lauren's nephew Greg to close Saturday. I accepted because I was flattered, and I really wanted to show again after the long COVID-19 shutdown. I closed for only two months because of COVID, so I had a lot of built-up creativity," he added.
Come November 4, Oliver is preparing for another fashion show. It will be a part of Kornit Fashion Week LA, produced by the long-time founder (10 years) of Kornit Fashion Week in Tel Aviv, Israel.
"My collection will be different because I've been asked to show more ready-to-wear, but with my couture touches. Also, I love that they want to celebrate 'the woman' and are casting models of all various colors, shapes, sizes, heights, weights, and ages. They want women with a story to tell," he said.
The plan is for a first-class show in the historic Pacific Stock Exchange building in Los Angeles.
Oliver also teased another upcoming show, but said he will give more details come spring.
—MGP, GMA News