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Vote For Oliver!

Oliver Tolentino is a finalist in the Oscars Designer Challenge
Vote For Oliver! Oliver Tolentino is a finalist in the Oscars Designer Challenge

Only eight months after opening his Melrose Avenue boutique in Los Angeles, Oliver Tolentino is already inching his way into the design scene of Tinseltown. The bi-coastal designer (he still maintains an atelier in San Lorenzo village in Makati) is one of nine contestants who made the cut for the Oscars Designers Challenge 2010.

According to the competition's official website, he was asked with creating a gown “to be worn by an onstage statuette handler (commonly known as a 'trophy girl').” Oliver created an elegant, off-white, piña gown with a mermaid silhouette. The bodice was draped with asymmetrically layered strips of piña, accented with freshwater pearls along the neckline and back. Piña and abaca rosettes covered the length of the skirt.

“I am really trying to promote my home country's native fabrics wherever I go,” says Oliver on his choice of fabric. “It promotes an entire industry that employs so many talented and skilled workers; I feel it's both my duty and my pleasure and honor to work with this fabric. I love seeing the reaction of Westerners when I tell them that piña is made of 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.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (better known as the Oscars) announced the names of the nine finalists last February 23 at a fashion event held at the Academy's headquarters in Beverly Hills. Each designer and their assigned model was introduced to the press through a mini show, the videos of which can be viewed at the website (

Registered users can vote for their favorite, once a day, until March 1, when polls close at 11:59pm, Pacific Time. The winner, determined solely by the number of online votes, will be revealed on the pre-show that comes immediately before the telecast of the 82nd Academy Awards, in Hollywood on March 7, 2010.

Apart from winning two tickets to attend one of the biggest events in entertainment, the winner's design will get some airtime during the ceremony, together with their assigned model.

Oliver confesses to feeling a sense of triumph at simply having been nominated. “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 eight months ago makes me feel like I've won so much,” he reveals. “Of course, I'd be so honored to win, 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.”

Click on to see Oliver Tolentino's entry for the Oscars Designers Challenge 2010.

Click here to view Oliver Tolentino's contact information.

—Isha Andaya, Managing Editor

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