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Fashion Week El Paseo announces Oliver Tolentino as its ‘Designer of the Week’

Fashion Week in El Pasero, based in the city of Palm Desert in the Palm Springs area of California, announced that fashion designer OLIVER TOLENTINO will be its honored “Designer of the Week” at the annual event held in March. El Paseo is the name of a trendy street often referred to as the “Rodeo Drive of Palm Springs,” just two hours by car from Los Angeles.

“Designer of the Week” is the honored marquee spot of the week, with only one designer featured every year.  Past honorees have included well-known designers Lloyd Klein and Kevan Hall.  The honor means Oliver will close out the fashion week with a solo 50-piece gala on Saturday, March 26, 2011, before 600 Palm Spring area socialites.

According to Fashion Week El Paseo’s press release:

Fashion Week El Paseo features a week of fashion-related events showcasing luxury brands and more then 50 participating merchants that host in-store events, including trunk shows, informal modeling, fashion seminars, champagne receptions, and more.

“We are thrilled to have Oliver Tolentino as our ‘Designer of the Week’ to bring his international flair and star power to Fashion Week El Paseo,” says Susan Stein, producer of the event and fashion editor of Palm Springs Life magazine.

The release describes Oliver as “a rising star known for his meticulous attention to detail in his designs” and noted the “young international talent has dazzled the fashion world with his designs and led the eco-fashion industry by developing and incorporating in his collections indigenous Philippine fibers derived from pineapple fibers and raw silk cocoon.”

“I was so flattered when the organizer contacted me about the event,” Oliver reports.  “I was surprised when they said they had heard about me and wanted me to be their annual featured designer.  El Paseo is so prestigious because the community is supportive and Palm Desert and Palm Springs Life magazine provide so much support,” adds Oliver.  “I’m preparing a 40-minute show full of elegant couture with many pieces made from our Filipino fabrics.  After introducing our fabrics in the Bahamas and winning, I can’t wait to show how elegant they can be to the Palm Springs socialites,” Oliver proudly shares.

Palm Springs has been known since the early days of Hollywood as the place where the rich & famous get away for golfing, swimming, and the dry heat.  The desert cities of Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, and Palm Springs comprise the area often referred to simply as “Palm Springs.”  It’s here that over 2,000 social events take place every year, making the area one of the most social locales in the world.

Oliver’s career has been on a steep trajectory this year after opening his Melrose Avenue boutique in July 2009, making him the first Philippines-based fashion designer to expand to the United States.  Within the first year, Oliver wowed at L.A. Fashion Week, was chosen by the Motion Picture Academy for its Oscars Designers Challenge, represented the Philippines at the United Nations, attended the Golden Globes and the Oscars parties, and surprised the L.A. world by quickly dressing the famous.

Oliver dressed Niecy Nash for her creative Emmy win, Grammy winner Macy Gray for her performance on the “Jimmy Fallon” show, and Grammy winner Patti Austin for concerts at Lincoln Center.  Former Spice Girls Mel B wears his wedding gown in the opening credits of her TV show, Kimora Lee Simmons wore his dress on a magazine cover, Vivica Fox wears his gown in a to-be-published book, his gown was the inaugural cover of “Serendipity” magazine, and his piña gown was featured in Hong Kong Tatler.

Oliver is still a proud Filipino and has dressed everyone connected to the Philippines, including Kuh Ledesma, Regine Velasquez, Pops Fernandez, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Lani Misalucha, Leah Salonga, Arnel Pineda, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, and former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

More important, Oliver has single-handedly been promoting the natural fabrics industry of the Philippines internationally.  This year, his Maria Makiling-inspired piña gown was displayed in Geneva, Milan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and featured in July’s issue of Hong Kong Tatler.  He introduced the eco-fabric charity Green2Greener to piña & abaca fibers.  His Oscars Designer Challenge gown was made of piña and abaca and was the first time many in Hollywood had seen such material.  The dress Oliver made for Kara David to accept the Peabody Award in New York (only second time ever that a Filipino has won) was purple-dyed piña and Kara noted that even actor Forrest Whitaker insisted on touching the material.  And in 2008, Oliver won first prize at Bali Fashion Week for an outfit made of capiz shells.

More recently, Oliver represented the Philippines as one of three international guest designers at “Islands of the World Fashion Week””held in the Bahamas in November (Project Runway – Season 1 winner Jay McCarroll was one of the other two).  Oliver won the “Sustainable Eco Fashion Award” for a piña, abaca, and raw silk cocoon gown and received a standing ovation for his 40+ piece native fabric collection.

Oliver has re-confirmed his commitment to the Philippines by opening a new Makati boutique in Legaspi Village near the Greenbelt 1 mall last October, with Madame Imelda Marcos, Kuh Ledesma, and Tessa Prieto-Valdes cutting the ribbon.

For more information, please visit www.OliverTolentino.com, the Oliver Tolentino Facebook fan page, or  www.FashionWeekElPaseo.com.

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