26 October 2011; Makati City – RIIR Designer LinE, in partnership with premier universal bank, Metrobank Platinum, has redefined fashion with the launch of its latest collection of couture bags designed by internationally-acclaimed Filipino designer Oliver Tolentino. The collaboration has resulted to an awe-inspiring line of clutches and totes in vibrant hues, bold patterns and distinctly Filipino design.
Dubbed, “MaSAYA,” Tolentino draws inspiration from the blissful spirit embodied by the women of Payatas, the artisans who painstakingly hand-weaved the fabric materials used for the collection. “I wanted the bags to stand out from the typical brown, tan, black handbags. I hope they will be conversation starters and confident women will happily and proudly share the inspiring story behind the bags,” quipped Hollywood’s most in-demand Filipino designer.
Muses cascaded the runway at the Gallery of Greenbelt 5 in original Tolentino-designed dresses, an inspiring backdrop for the eco-ethical bags. A burst of vibrant colors, the collection also showcase the “kantinares” pattern of the indigenous women of Bangued, Abra, who celebrate their Tingguian origin by continuing their living traditions of fabric weaving in the hopes of passing it on to younger generations. Like the women of Payatas, their valued skill is also the source of their sustenance.
All pieces from the RIIR MaSAYA collection by Oliver Tolentino utilize scrap fabric materials that are converted into functional and high-fashion products through a process called ‘upcycling.’ The use of discarded materials is part of an advocacy to help conserve the environment while providing a sustainable source of income for the artisans behind the products.
“Sustainable fashion is the hottest thing right now and wherever I go I promote our native fabrics. I personally have introduced them to the fashion dean of Parsons in New York, the owners of Paul Mitchell, an eco fabric charity in Hong Kong, the crowd at the Ronald Reagan 100th birthday gala, and my fashion shows in the Bahamas and Palm Springs. I get a lot of pride out of exposing what we, Filipinos can create to people who have never seen our indigenous fabrics,” said Tolentino.
Undoubtedly one of the most celebrated designers today, Tolentino has been recognized for his contribution to haute couture all over the world. His slew of recognitions include being named Designer of the Week in March, 2011 at the prestigious Fashion Week El Paseo in Palm Springs, California, USA; he was hailed as winner of the Sustainable Eco Fashion Award in 2010 at the Islands of the World Fashion Week in the Bahamas; and one of the finalists at the Oscars Designer Challenge in 2010, among others. His collections have been regularly featured in international glossy titles like Beverly Hills Lifestyle, Serendipity, and Hong Kong Tatler. His creations have been worn by three Grammy winners, two Emmy winners, an Oscar nominee, an NAACP Image Award winner, and by attendees at the esteemed Oscars and the Golden Globes Awards. Hollywood celebrities Cee Lo Green, Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz, Sophia Bush, Kimora Lee Simmons, Vivica Fox, Patty Austin, Macy Gray, Arnel Pineda, Lea Salonga, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Camille Grammer, Niecy Nash, Tatyana Ali, Eva La Rue, Wendy Davis, and Aly Michalka have all worn his designs.
Tolentino is known for promoting local fabrics and Filipino culture through his pieces. Tolentino and event partner Metrobank Platinum are staunch advocates of RIIR’s eco-ethical style – a coalescence of fashion, social responsibility and preservation of the environment.