Piña, abaca, Philippine silk all feature in Oliver Tolentino’s LA fashion week show
Filipino fashion and textiles continue to make their mark on international runways, with more and more designers getting inspired by native materials and silhouettes. It’s also becoming more common now to see Filipino design work on Hollywood red carpets and A-list events.
The recent LA Fashion Week is no exception, as Hollywood fashion designer Oliver Tolentino wowed the fashion world with an all-eco collection that showcased native fabrics at the exclusive Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on Oct. 19.
Tolentino, who has boutiques in Los Angeles and Manila, made a bold statement by crafting couture pieces using Filipino materials, such as piña (pineapple), abaca, water hyacinth, and Philippine silk. The collection aimed to introduce these fabrics to a crowd that was largely unfamiliar with these unique textures and characteristics.
What set this collection apart was its focus on sustainability and innovative use of native fabrics. The challenge was apparent in working with abaca, a stiff fabric that required a delicate touch to highlight the models’ silhouettes. Tolentino found the answer by blending silk with abaca, resulting in a softer material that allowed him to create unique drapes and shapes reminiscent of Van Gogh’s paintings. Environmentally-friendly hand dyes were employed to produce vibrant greens, purples, blues, yellows, and reds.
Tolentino’s dedication to native fabrics has garnered international acclaim over the years. His eco-friendly designs have graced Hollywood red carpets, fashion shows, and magazines. Celebrities like Carrie Underwood, Emmy Rossum, Jessica Alba, Sophia Bush, and Gabrielle Union have embraced his sustainable creations.
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Tolentino’s eco couture collection at LA Fashion Week was a definitive moment in the fashion industry. His commitment to showcasing the beauty and sustainability of native Filipino fabrics resonated with an audience eager to embrace eco-conscious style. Beyond the glitz and glamour, Tolentino’s work reflects a broader movement towards environmentally-friendly and socially responsible fashion.