A designer who started his career in Manila in the late 90s, Oliver Tolentino became the first ever Philippines-based fashion designer to expand into the United States when, in 2009, he opened a Los Angeles boutique.
Prior to opening his U.S. shop, Oliver already had secured a place in his native country by designing gowns for the elite, including socialites, celebrities, and government officials at the highest levels. He created the gown for former First Lady Imelda Marcos for her 80th birthday celebration in 2009. Because of his intricate, hand-made, time-consuming couture, Oliver often has been dubbed “the Valentino of the Philippines”.
Within 4 months of the L.A. opening, Oliver was one of a handful of designers who were invited by Downtown Los Angeles Fashion Week (DLAFW) to preview a Spring-Summer 2010 collection at the prestigious Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. On October 15, immediately preceding the week’s finale, a vintage Valentino collection, Oliver presented a 40 piece collection comprised mostly of eco-friendly fabrics, including his native piña (pineapple fiber).
His couture collection and backstage interviews were featured in many media, including nationally on E! (The Entertainment Channel) and on his native TFC channel. Many write-ups lauded the couture show as the closest thing to New York with one noting Oliver was one of the “stand-outs.”
Over the past 5 years, Oliver has created dramatic gowns for the Philippines’ biggest concert stars, including the four “divas” of the Philippines (Kuh Ledesma, Regine Velasquez, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Pops Fernandez), for their “Divas4Divas” 2008-2009 U.S. tour. Oliver also has dressed Filipina songbird Lani Misalucha for many of her concerts and is currently dressing her for her running show at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas.
Since opening his Melrose boutique, Oliver has dressed Arnel Pineda (lead singer of Journey) and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle (actress in “Camp Rock” and “Fame”). Arnel wore Oliver’s clothes on CBS’s “The Early Show,” and Anna Maria was photographed in Oliver’s gown on the red carpet at the VH1 Divas show in 2009.
Oliver has attracted not only the attention of Manila’s fashionable set, but also America’s. He designed a dress for the wife of rocker Joe Walsh of the legendary Eagles who was photographed wearing it on the red carpet to a Grammys event in Los Angeles.