Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vote for Filipino designer in OSCARs Designer Challenge 2010!

Listen up, kids! Acclaimed Filipino designer Oliver Tolentino is among a few selected designers whose original designs made the shortlist of this year's Oscars Designers Challenge.

He needs our votes.

Here's how you do it:

1) Go to: http://www.oscar.com/
2) Click on box: Oscars Designer Challenge 2010
3) Select Oliver Tolentino gown, and
4) VOTE

Join/Register email address for vote to be counted

Winning gown will be worn on the stage at the 82nd Academy Awards. It would be the first time that piña fabric will be worn on the Oscar stage!

One vote for every email address daily so vote every day through March 1st!

Here's a related press release:

********** FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE *********

DESIGNER OLIVER TOLENTINO FINALIST IN “OSCARS DESIGNER GOWN CHALLENGE”

Filipino fashion designer OLIVER TOLENTINO has been selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as a finalist to compete in “Oscars Designer Challenge 2010.” (The Academy awards Oscars® every spring in Hollywood.)

Oliver was chosen from among applicants who submitted design sketches from all across the United States. Only nine designers were selected to create one gown for possible appearance on the 2010 Oscar® telecast on March 7. The winner of the challenge will receive two tickets to attend the show and witness his/her gown being worn on the stage by one of the “trophy girls” who brings the Oscar statuettes to the presenters.

At a press conference and fashion show held today at the Academy’s Beverly Hills headquarters, the nine designers presented their one-of-a-kind gowns before hundreds of members of the international press. Today at 5:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time), the gowns and fashion show video were posted on www.oscar.com the Academy’s official website. The winner will be determined by the gown that receives the most public votes between February 23 and March 1 (voting is restricted to one vote per registered email address per day). The winning gown will be announced on the Oscar pre-show immediately before the 82nd Academy Awards® telecast.

Oliver created an elegant off-white, “green” eco-friendly mermaid gown out of his home country’s native piña (pineapple fabric) and abaca fabrics. The bodice is asymmetrical layered strips of piña accented with Philippine freshwater pearls all over the neckline. Pearls line the plunging back and extend in an asymmetrical swirl around the waist. The long piña skirt is covered with piña & abaca rosette hand-cutouts, broken up by two concentric strips of accordion-like piña fabric.

Oliver explains why he used piña. “I am really trying to promote my home country’s native fabrics wherever I go. It promotes an entire industry that employs so many talented, skilled workers. I feel it’s my duty, but fortunately it’s also my pleasure and honor to work with piña. I love it and I love seeing the reaction of Westerners when I tell them that piña is pineapple fiber. They are in awe when they hear that and see what elegant gowns can be made from it. It makes me so proud,” beams Oliver.

Born in the small town of Orani in the province of Bataan, Philippines, Oliver started his career in the 90s in Manila and recently became the first ever Philippines-based fashion designer to expand into the United States when he opened a Los Angeles boutique in July 2009.

Prior to opening his Melrose Avenue shop, Oliver already had secured a reputation in his native country by designing gowns for the elite, including socialites, celebrities, and government officials at the highest levels. Just last year, he created the gown former First Lady Imelda Marcos wore to her 80th birthday gala celebration. Oliver often has been called the Philippines’ own Valentino.

Over the past few 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). Oliver has also dressed Filipina songbird Lani Misalucha for the stage in her running show in Las Vegas.

Just this January in Switzerland, Oliver was the only designer to represent the Philippines at the United Nations’ Palais des Nations for EcoChic Geneva. The event celebrated sustainable fashion and accessories to mark the UN International Year of Biodiversity and was organized by the UN Conference on Trade and Development and Hong Kong’s charity group, Green2Greener. Over 40 designers presented 1 eco-friendly look, including Diane von Furstenberg (Belgium), Thakoon (Thailand), and John Rocha (Ireland). Oliver created a dramatic gown, also made of his native piña (something the eco-friendly organizers had never heard of), based on his country’s folklore of Maria Makiling. His entry was selected as the show’s finale.

With the Designer Challenge, Oliver says he’s already a winner. “I know people always say this, especially at the Oscars, but just to be selected as one of the nine designers after only opening my boutique 8 months ago, I already feel like I’ve won so much,” Oliver confesses. “Of course, I’d be so honored to win, but more because a Filipino would be winning. But all of that will be up to the public vote. I hope people will vote for my gown if they like it and are proud of it.”

Look for Oliver Tolentino gowns on the red carpet and beyond in 2010. In the meantime, Oliver will anxiously await the outcome of Oscars® Designer Challenge 2010 on March 7.

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