Oliver Tolentino shows at 75th Anniversary Philippine-Thai diplomatic relations & 126th Independence Gala

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Beverly Hills-based fashion designer Oliver Tolentino wowed an 800+ person crowd in Bangkok, Thailand, last Wednesday night as part of the 75th Anniversary of Philippine & Thai Diplomatic Relations and 126th Independence Day Gala.  The event was produced by the Philippine Embassy in the ballroom of the luxury Siam Kempinski Hotel and hosted by Ambassador Millicent “Tinta” Paredes.  She kicked off the evening (in a Tolentino piña gown) with a toast in honor of the Thai King, and Thai Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Russ Jalichandra reciprocated with a toast to President Marcos.

Guests mingled while enjoying Filipino dishes and drinks as they viewed native dances and an art collection by local Manila artists.

Tolentino’s fashion show was the main event with a 29-piece collection presented by professional models in front of a capacity crowd of ambassadors, diplomats, and members of Thai society, including the President of the Senate, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Minister for Social Welfare and Human Security, Governor of Bangkok, and former Thai ambassadors to the Philippines, Ambassadors Ruangprateepsaeng & Upatising.

The designer featured a collection mostly made of handwoven piña, abaca, inabel, ikat fabric (from Mindanao), raw silk cocoon (from Visayas), and Thai silk to represent the two countries’ native fabrics. Tolentino modernized and manipulated the fabrics into wearable couture.

He featured structured piña bell skirts alongside pantsuits with tops of abaca, ikat, and inabel paired with piña bottoms.  One set featured piña pants accented with solihiya-weaved Thai silk.  He closed with hand-painted and embellished piña gowns and colorful gowns with dramatic hand-draped abaca bodices.

According to the designer, “The embassy put on a first-class event that really impressed the international diplomatic audience. I was proud to be flown in to showcase our native fabrics to support the local weavers, embroiderers, and fabric painters,” Tolentino added. The designer is one of the biggest promoters of Philippine fabrics on the international stage, with even Hollywood celebrities wearing pina and abaca on the red carpet. Tolentino noted, “It makes me so happy to help all the talented hard workers in the province.”

Tolentino, the first Filipino couture designer to expand operations to the U.S., maintains walk-in boutiques in Makati and Beverly Hills.  For more info:  OliverTolentino.com or IG: @theOliverTolentino

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