Tolentino shows Eco at 'Gorgeous & Green' in San Francisco
Hollywood-based Filipino designer Oliver Tolentino closed the fashion show at the prestigious "Gorgeous & Green" gala in San Francisco last December 6th. The formal dinner event, where tickets started at $1,000 per plate and went up to $2,500 & $5,000 to sit in the front row, is the annual fundraiser for Global Green USA, the environmental activist organization that counts actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton among its board.
Singer Michelle Branch performed several songs while actress Rosario Dawson and Jennifer Newsom, wife of former mayor and now California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, served as honorary hosts. Celebrity chefs Michael Mina, Joseph Humphrey (Michelin 2 stars), and Bill Corbett supplied the meal. Actor Omar Miller from CSI: Miami and Global Green president Matt Petersen were front row.
Oliver presented a dozen outfits made from native Philippine fabrics of pineapple fiber (piña) and abaca (green plant) fiber, as well as a new fabric made from water-lily leaves and jute. Many of them were dyed naturally and embellished with beads and crystals. His final piece was the white piña & abaca gown that won the Eco-Sustainable Award in the Bahamas last year. Most of the looks were part of his 75-piece Samsung MetroWear Icon show last month in Manila. The San Francisco crowd had never seen these fabrics before.
According to socialite & philanthropist Nadine Weil, who wore a green Oliver Tolentino piña gown to co-host the event with Zem Joaquin, most women wear vintage gowns in order to be "green" by recycling rather than requiring new fabric to be used to create a new gown. Ms. Weil commented, "I'm thrilled now to know about these fabrics and that eco can be couture. We can wear something new and modern. I also love the story of how this helps the people in the Philippines who create these fabrics and weave them by hand. Oliver's collection took our annual Gorgeous & Green fashion show to a whole other level and we're so pleased he agreed to be a part of it."
The gala was held at Bently Reserve, the former Federal Reserve Bank building owned by event vice-chairs Christopher and Amber Marie Bently. Oliver's collection was selected to close the show that also featured local designers Sara Shepherd, Karen Caldwell, and the duo of Mina Yazdi & Olga Dzilikhova.
Oliver just returned from Manila where he was honored as 2011 MetroWear Icon in a gala show featuring celebrities and televised on ABS-CBN. Last month, "Bottomline with Boy Abunda" featured him in a one-hour interview, Kris Aquino interviewed him on "Kris TV," and Gwendoline Ruais wore his red gown to come in Miss World 1st runner-up. Currently, METRO magazine devotes dozens of pages to his Icon runway show and collection in its December issue.