Fashion Week El Paseo 2011 — Designer of the Week — Oliver Tolentino



Designer of the Week — Oliver Tolentino

Photo by Gerry Maceda

The Designer of the Week at Fashion Week El Paseo is always one who makes a splash. In 2009, the artistic sartorial creations of Juan Carlos Obando left guests eager to attend a charity function wearing one of his gowns. Last year, Colleen Quen’s floral, ballet-inspired pieces got multiple rounds of applause, and, surely, multiple new fans of the San Francisco-based designer’s atelier. This year, Filipino designer Oliver Tolentino held the headlining distinction and earned some standing ovations with his eco-friendly collection of origami-like cocktail dresses, evening gowns, and even bridal wear.

Tolentino, who expanded his Manila-based empire with an Los Angeles storefront in 2009, skipped the Los Angeles runway circuit this year in favor of Islands of the World Fashion Week in the Bahamas in November of 2010 and last week’s Fashion Week El Paseo.

“It’s like I’m in the Philippines,” the designer says of Palm Springs. “The weather is the same, the colors are the same. It’s like, lets have fun. Lets party!”

By the end of Saturday night’s showcase, fans were partying in the aisles in praise of Tolentino’s elaborate, structured feminine designs.

In lieu of patterns, Tolentino stuck to sheer, simple fabrics hand-dyed in rich jades, scarletts, and cobalts that were expertly twisted and turned to reveal strong, sculptural waistlines, layered bodices and 3-D quality textured skirts.

Skirts were a constant throughout the collection, most notably those with a full, flirty, 1950s silhouette and calf length hem. One at-the-calf pencil number featured a rich, square texture that matched an equally as rich yellow hue.

Because of his lack of pre-fab patterns, Tolentino also expertly played with the concept of movement and contrasting opacities in his fabrics. One teal evening gown featured a swooshing, textured teal skirt with a sheer asymmetrical hemline and a teal and white beaded bodice, one sleeve missing and the other capped. A cropped, puffy-sleeve jacket was both metallic and sheer.

While his more casual high-waited floral embroidered swing pants could double as a skirt, it was Tolentino’s dressiest pieces that made the most dramatic entrance in front of the fans on El Paseo.

A bright red ball gown featured a satin and beaded bodice and a full, princess-style skirt that appeared to be made of dyed fur. But upon further inspection, the skirt was actually comprised of hundreds of tiny, folded pieces of sheer fabric that fit next each other like a laser-cut puzzle. It’s a bit hard to believe that these play on textures come courtesy of eco-friendly pineapple fibers.

“They say that eco is for upholstery,” Tolentino says. “That isn’t true. My goal is to modernize the fabrics of my country.”

Judging by his well-rounded, cohesive collection of lady-who-lunch worthy goods, he clearly succeeded. It’s safe to say the next major desert social function will get a bit of Tolentino’s modernized touch, too. 

 

Visit the Fashion Week El Paseo web site for more photos, videos, and information on this year's events!

Add your comment:
Shop El Paseo

El Paseo

  • 73655 El Paseo

    Ste. F

    Palm Desert, CA 92260

    760-773-1763

    DeLuca Jewelers

    Category: Jewelry-Watches

  • 73200 El Paseo

    Suite 3A

    Palm Desert, CA 92260

    760-836-3366

    Category: Apparel-Accessories

  • 73880 El Paseo Ste. 5

    Palm Desert, CA 92260

    760-862-9013

    Sherry Mesa The Salon

    Category: Salons

  • 73399 El Paseo

    Suite 103

    Palm Desert, CA 92262

    760-346-4372

    Savory Spice Shop

    Category: Food

  • 73555 El Paseo

    The Gardens on El Paseo - Building D

    Palm Desert, CA 92260

    760-837-2900

    Saks Fifth Avenue

    Category: Department Stores

  • 73545 El Paseo

    Ste C1318 at The Gardens on El Paseo

    Palm Desert, CA 92260

    760-862-1930

    Category: Specialty Stores

  • 73375 El Paseo

    Suite R

    Palm Desert, CA 92260

    760-568-0888

    Dwight Polen Collection

    Category: Antiques

  • 73525 El Paseo

    Palm Desert, CA 92260

    760-862-1990

    The Gardens on El Paseo

    Category: Shopping Destination

  • 73151 El Paseo

    Suite F

    Palm Desert, CA 92260

    760-568-2661

    Roberto Coin Jewelers

    Category: Jewelry-Watches

Related Articles

What to Do Labor Day Weekend in Greater Palm Springs

Labor Day Weekend marks the symbolic close to summer, but it's also a long weekend filled with music, food, and a host of activities in Greater Palm Springs.

Explore Palm Springs: Sportsman's Headquarters

In addition to owning Sportsman's Headquarters and its Palm Springs rifle range, Harry Mann and his wife Ruby were quite the hunters.

Ernest Coffee Palm Springs Imports Local Baked Goods

The caffeinated buzz going on about Ernest Coffee in Palm Springs is as much about the coffee as it is about the fresh pastries coming from off-site bakers.

Thrillist Ranks Las Casuelas Terraza Among Top Mexican Restaurants

Las Casuelas Terraza in downtown Palm Springs has been named a “Top 21 Mexican Restaurants in America” by the editors of Thrillist.

Labor Day Vacation: Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands, California

Santa Cruz Island is a hiker’s haven, offering diverse terrain and trails that wind through the interior grasslands and along scenic coastal cliffs.

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.