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Fashion


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Fashion


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Christian Dada SS/19


Japanese label Christian Dada’s spring/summer 2019 collection awed the runway with its Nobuyoshi Araki tribute

Christian Dada SS/19


Japanese label Christian Dada’s spring/summer 2019 collection awed the runway with its Nobuyoshi Araki tribute

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Christian Dada SS/19

March 6, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Founded by Japanese designer Masanori Morikawa, the brand Christian Dada has been a hot pick for numerous celebrities, including Lady Gaga and K-pop singer G-Dragon. The label’s name itself brings together two seemingly opposing concepts; Morikawa’s grandfather (a Christian and an embroidery craftsman who deeply influenced the designer’s fashion style) clashes with the avant-garde Dada art movement, suggesting a duality between order and chaos.

For the brand’s spring/summer 2019 collection, Morikawa simultaneously presented women’s and men’s collections, inspired by Nobuyoshi Araki’s two-volume photography book Laments Skyscapes/Laments from Close-Range, which honoured the photographer’s late wife with an atmosphere of loss and absence. As a result, the collection presented an ethereal sense of sentimentality through anoraks, flowy fabrics, drawstring trousers and kimono-esque wide sleeves on an Oxford shirt, all of which kept the audience on the edge of their seats.  

Images: Photos by Li BoHan

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Street Heat


Pioneering Japanese street style label White Mountaineering brings 1990s hip-hop back to the runway with the spring/summer 2019 collection

Street Heat


Pioneering Japanese street style label White Mountaineering brings 1990s hip-hop back to the runway with the spring/summer 2019 collection

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Street Heat

February 20, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Japanese designer Yosuke Aizawa, a protégé of Junya Watanabe, has long been committed to blending traditional and street culture elements. His brand, White Mountaineering, has become a top choice when for outdoor activewear with creative patterns and colour matching. After its initial success in Japan, it has become a worldwide phenomenon and has undertaken big-name collaborations with famous brands including Adidas and Timberland.

At Paris Fashion Week, the brand’s spring/summer 2019 collection took to the runway with the theme “Connecting the Past and Future”. Inspired by the street-style standards of the 1990s, it centred on bright colours, plaids and stripes of various sizes. Outerwear, trousers, shirts and shorts made of functional fabrics also caught the crowd’s eyes. To hammer home the ’90s style, the brand invited renowned Japanese hip-hop icon DJ Muro to produce the show’s music; classic tracks by famed New York hip-hop collective DITC added some heat from the street.  

Images: ©Rainer Torrado

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Oh! You Pretty Things


Cutting-edge South Korean label Wooyoungmi unveils its androgynous, rock-infused menswear collection for spring/summer 2019

Oh! You Pretty Things


Cutting-edge South Korean label Wooyoungmi unveils its androgynous, rock-infused menswear collection for spring/summer 2019

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Oh! You Pretty Things

January 30, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Founded in 2002 by Korean designer Woo Young-mi, her namesake label is famed for its exquisite designs for men from a woman’s perspective. After succeeding her mother at the helm, creative director Katie Chung has also proven a keen observer of details. This shines through in the Seoul-based brand’s creations, which focus on the concept of balance and a precise colour mix such as sky blue, cream and sulphur.

In its recent seasons, Wooyoungmi has featured a variety of fabrics and silhouettes that meld vintage with futurism. For spring/summer 2019, Chung’s second collection as the sole designer, oversized shoulders and pointed suit collars garnered a great deal of attention. The brand also paid tribute to late rocker David Bowie with a matching jacket and shirt in glam yellow, as in the famed photograph by Terry O’Neill, while the enduring combination of PVC pieces and tight trousers also pointedly expressed the rock ’n’ roll spirit.  

Images: Li Bohan

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Gen-Zheng


Award-winning HKPolyU MA student Jessica Zheng just could be the region’s next big thing in fashion design

Gen-Zheng


Award-winning HKPolyU MA student Jessica Zheng just could be the region’s next big thing in fashion design

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Gen-Zheng

January 30, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

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When Chinese designer Jessica Zheng’s The Little Emperors collection appeared on the catwalk of The Mira hotel last June during the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s MA fashion show, the spirit of the onlookers rose with it. There had been some quirky and highly trend-driven collections, but Zheng’s was particularly distinguished from the rest by its boldness, exaggeration, decadence, eccentricity, satire, colour and, most importantly, humour. In its seemingly indulgent grandiosity, it felt like something of a design moment. 

Zheng believes fashion is the carrier of culture and a tool for narrative, and she considers herself as fashion storyteller. The collection, which mixes traditional Chinese weaving techniques with laser-cut technology, handmade silk and six different types of leather, is based on the 80s generation in China, when every family was allowed one child only. Zheng’s collection tells the story of growth and strife of this generation through the work – the obsessive and overly protective parental love, and how though everyone thought the generation would turn out to be the nation’s weakest they have worked hard, succeeded and overcome their ‘little emperor’ status. 

Six months later, Zheng won the Best of the Best Fashion Graduate Award, an initiative set up by the government-supported Fashion Asia Hong Kong. She cites a lofty group of designers as being inspiration: Iris van Herpen, “a haute couturist who creates works that push boundaries and uses materials that are specially created to communicate her concepts – her speciality is the use of rapid prototyping (3D printing)”; Alexander McQueen for his ability to “technologically transform garments from concepts into couture”; and Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake, who are “deconstructive designers, though their designs are so different.” 

With plans to head to the UK to continue her studies, Zheng credits PolyU’s Basia Szkutnicka, the programme director of the MA in Fashion and Textile Design, for much of the success of her collection. “Basia always had room for us to develop and find our own personality. She was leading me to arrive in my own space – she is experiential and unlimited. She specifically inspired my use of colour.” Previously, Zheng had tended to occupy the safety zone of black, but in this collection, she “finally created the red of my own.”

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Szkutnicka joined PolyU in 2017 and has a considerable fashion pedigree. She graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins and worked with mentor Isabella Blow on a series of avant-garde projects photographed by Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Roberts and Judy Blame. The former director of the study-abroad programme at the London College of Fashion for 15 years, she’s also the author of two books on fashion. At PolyU, she aims to produce “creative, forward-thinking designers who will be encouraged to evolve their personal design identity and bring a new proposal to the fashion landscape.”

In other words, Szkutnicka knows raw talent when she sees it – and such is Zheng. “Jessica’s work contains her design DNA, which sets her apart from many other young designers who don’t necessarily know who they are or are unable to express themselves visually,” she says. Szkutnicka thinks time spent in the UK can only be positive for Zheng. “Going to study the technical aspects of design in the UK will be highly beneficial for her, as it will place her in a dynamic, foreign environment that will stimulate new ideas and emotions. Plus, of course, she will be challenged with a higher level of design experimentation and practice.” 

Zheng already has a strong sense of her own fashion mission and hopes to launch her own brand shortly after. While she acknowledges Japanese designers like Miyake and Yamamoto, she wants to go beyond that influence. “Deconstruction does not follow the ruels of dressmaking – for example, the silhouette can be created however the designer chooses. My works will be different from these designers because it will be based on our country’s culture and traditional craft, which combines deconstruction and modern surface design technology.” 

A colleague on the same design course, Rue Li, who admired Zheng’s combination of “unique fabrics with poetic silhouettes” and is now working as a brand ambassador to help broker cult sneaker brand Andrew Kayla’s entry into China, thought the prize marked as much a significant cultural as an individual moment. “I think the winning prize is significant for both Jessica and all designers in China,” she says. “It showed the public what a designer does isn’t just about following the current trends, but also about keeping an eye on exploring the symbolic relationship between human beings and our society.” 

Szkutnicka thinks the sky could be the limit for the Guangdong-born designer. “Once she started to fly, there was no stopping her. I believe that she should start her own brand and I rarely encourage young designers to do this, as we have too much mediocre fashion product in the world already. But she has the drive, talent and ability to stand above the rest. She could, if she put her mind to it, become extremely successful and the next big designer to emerge in this part of the world.” 

As for Zheng the mission is clear: “I hope that I can be a communicator to show our culture to the international world. This is China, this is our culture.”  

Images: Leung Mo

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Boyy Meets Girl


This below-the-radar Thai-American label takes its next big step – to Milan

Boyy Meets Girl


This below-the-radar Thai-American label takes its next big step – to Milan

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Boyy Meets Girl

January 30, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

“Meet your new best friend, Boyy. He’ll be better than any male in your life – more stylish, well-built, will coordinate with your plans and will hold all of your belongings for you.” So runs the tagline on the website of progressive fashion retailer Browns on London’s South Molton Street above a list of covetable streamlined bags and shoes made of the highest-quality Italian leather, with names such as Karl 24, Green Romeo, Multicoloured Bobby and Blue Deon. 

Boyy is Italian-sourced, a label previously based in New York, then in Bangkok and soon to be relocated to Milan, that espouses the perfect combination of cool and classic – style beyond fashion. Your new best friend – if you haven’t met him or her yet – was set up in 2007 as the brainchild of Jesse Dorsey and Wannasiri Kongman, he an American musician and she a former buyer for Bangkok department store Central. The pair met by chance in New York at an event and instantly shared common creative ground in all matters style and aesthetic. 

Strolling the streets, Kongman pointed out what she liked when she saw it and, after months of noting It-bags, the pair decided fashion would make more sense if they created the bags themselves. Boyy was born, and its motifs are funky and quaint. With python, shagreen and croc exotica featuring prominently, the design, functionality and luxury of each product makes it a genre unto itself – and a must-have on Instagram, where the bag has been spotted on Kim Kardashian and the like. “Oh, I’m obsessed. Another @boyyboutique bag I need!” enthuses one of Boyy’s legions. “Want now… how to get?” implores another.

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For a face during its earliest days, Boyy used then-unknown Thai schoolgirl Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, more commonly known as Aokbab. The 22-year-old now models, acts, counts 465,000 Instagram followers and represents the house of Chanel in Asia. Writes Olga Yuen, Chanel’s fashion PR in Hong Kong, via email: “Aokbab and Boyy – yes! Totally. The brand really has an eye for style.”

Despite riding the contemporary waves of Instagram, Boyy was desirable long before IG. Like many below-the-radar labels, Boyy’s apocryphal moment came via a chance New York encounter with French singer, model and actress Lou Doillon, the daughter of Jane Birkin. A paparazzi shot of Doillon on the street sporting a Boyy bag, smoking and espousing insouciant French chic, set Instagram ablaze. It-girl Chloë Sevigny followed soon after and in the blink of an eye came a huge order from Colette’s Sarah Andelman in Paris. Boyy grew up – in a shot. 

Boyy now sells in more than 85 stores worldwide, including Selfridges in London and I.T (which has carried the brand since 2015) in Hong Kong. “It’s been popular in the market since our first launch in autumn/winter 2015,” says Candy Lau, I.T’s assistant merchandising manager, who oversees Boyy. “It always sells out within two weeks of the launch.” 

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And to what does she attribute its desirability? “Customers are attracted by its buckle with a masculine shape, as well as its fine quality,” she says, adding that Boyy produced a special bag in celebration of I.T’s 30th anniversary last year. “It also offers mid- and mini-size versions of its Karl and Bobby bags, in addition to its seasonal details of colour blocking and fabrications (such as shearling and PVC), which is fashion-forward and maintains freshness for customers.” Karl 24 has been Boyy’s best-selling product in Hong Kong over the last three years. Boyy has also started producing shoes and sunglasses, and is considering other categories, but won’t rush into them until the time feels right. 

And why should it? Boyy’s sales reached US$22 million in 2018 – from a brand that’s still independently run, has no internal PR strategists and does more or less what it pleases. The brand runs four boutiques in Thailand and one in Copenhagen, and Dorsey and Kongman are eyeing Hong Kong and the Middle East. So far, everything has been self-funded. 

“Hong Kong is very high on our list, but it’s not so simple,” says Dorsey. He explains that being a 100% independent brand means large corporates want reassurance that the label is affiliated with a big fashion conglomerate or distributor. “We encountered this hurdle in Bangkok when we first started putting down our footprint,” he says. “It’s a challenge we’re familiar with and have succeeded with. It just takes time.”

Despite the move to Milan, Boyy was still based in Bangkok at the time of print. “We are renovating what will be our permanent showroom/apartment in Milan. It’s an incredible space,” says Dorsey. Abundant with design history, the ground floor of the structure was boldly renovated in 1972 by Vittoriano Viganò, Italy’s most luminous brutalist architect, and the space has remained untouched since, capturing a living snapshot into an incredible era. The structure also boasts a huge private garden curated by Pietro Porcinai, one of Italy’s landscape design legends. “When I first saw the space, my jaw dropped,” enthuses Dorsey, who spent seven months closing the deal to acquire the space. “It was instant love.” 

While Dorsey and Kongman continue to broaden their horizons, there’s a ton of affiliations to keep them occupied. “We’re exercising the world of pop-ups and exclusives,” says Dorsey. “We’ve been bombarded with requests and are carefully curating the options, along with doing our own pop-up.” He explains that even though the quantities may be small and exclusive, each project requires almost equal energy and manpower as a regular season collection. It’s a lot of work, but it’s clearly worth it – much like the Boyy effect.  

Images: Provided to China Daily

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Poetry in Motion


The renowned haute couture house of Poiret is revived through a modern tribute to its namesake founder

Poetry in Motion


The renowned haute couture house of Poiret is revived through a modern tribute to its namesake founder

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Poetry in Motion 

January 16, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Influenced by Eastern cultures, French fashion designer Paul Poiret liberated women from the corset at the beginning of the 20th century. For his namesake maison Poiret’s autumn/winter 2018 collection, the relaunched brand’s artistic director, Yiqing Yin, blends playfulness, movement and personal expression. In this collection, dresses and coats reprise the cocoon shape for which the house’s founder was famed. A dress can be belted or loose, or worn back to front. Pieces such as oversized knits, shawl collars, harem trousers and Greenland lambskin coats express Yin’s pursuits towards minimalism and are imbued with a leisurely spirit. There are a variety of colours, with the classic ivory, grey and black alongside canary yellow and beyond. The concept of the“infinite” skirt can be found in the wrap jumpsuit, in jacquard or liquid silk. Paul Poiret was renowned for the “robe de minute”, a tunic made of two simple rectangles – and the industrial-inspired jewels and heels in this collection echo his groundbreaking designs – a fitting tribute to a master of haute couture.  

Images: Provided to China Daily

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