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Fashion


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Fashion


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Poly Amour


Twenty-three students from Hong Kong’s fashion design programme at PolyU have created a unique sustainable collection for Swedish retail giant H&M

Poly Amour


Twenty-three students from Hong Kong’s fashion design programme at PolyU have created a unique sustainable collection for Swedish retail giant H&M

Lifestyle > Fashion


Poly Amour

May 23, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 

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Sweden’s high-street retail giant H&M likes to push the envelope in terms of its sustainability, innovation and functionality. With its clout, the Stockholm-based company places itself at the cutting edge as it strives towards a toxic-free future for the fashion industry. H&M has made a pledge that by 2030, it will only use 100% recycled or other sustainably sourced materials in its clothing; currently, that figure stands at around 40%. 

Enter the brand’s tie-up with 23 students from Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), who have designed a full collection for the fashion brand.“It all started with a simple idea of asking students to explore sustainable design,” says Hanna Hallin, sustainability manager of H&M Greater China. “The team took this concept to the skies and created innovative, edgy and authentic pieces, challenging the way fashion is made and enjoyed today.” 

H&M already has an annual line called the Conscious Exclusive collection, which utilises and creates sustainable fabrics, with the long-term goals of having zero garments going to the landfill and saving on natural resources. Customers can see where the clothes were made, what materials were used and who made them. 

The PolyU designers’ collection is called Clothes We Live In, which translates into a collection of trans-seasonal, functional and modern pieces that are wearable 365 days a year. “Throughout the creative process, we have been very playful and innovative with our approaches to sustainability,” explains Basia Szkutnicka, a professor of practice and the director of the master’s programme in fashion and textile design at PolyU. And behind the 23 unique pieces of the collection are 23 students, who have focused on sustainable fashion by using deadstock fabric or unwanted garments. 

The capsule collection aims to break down conventional boundaries and doesn’t limit itself in terms of age, gender, season or occasion. Silhouettes are loose with a sportswear influence, while the style is edgy and contemporary. Among the standout pieces, the oversized unisex Jessica jacket is windproof due to the clever sealed-seam construction on the inside, which ensures there is no waste from the cutting in the fabric roll at the production stage. The quirky, almost surreal Luna coat is a transformable piece that becomes a soft duvet when fully opened – perfect for romantic adventurers in the mountains. The Shubhi three-piece, meanwhile, has numerous transformational possibilities and is somewhat Issey Miyake-esque in its multifunctional approach – from a top to trousers, or even from a skirt to a dress. 

Although the outfits are currently unavailable for sale, select pieces will be exhibited in the brand’s Causeway Bay store from June 5 to 11. The collaborative project marks the first time a group of students has designed such a bespoke collection anywhere for H&M – kudos to the designers for their future-forward fashion take.

Images: Master of Arts in Fashion & Textile Design at Hong Kong PolyU

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A Love Supreme


The spring accessories sale at Christie’s features price points for all

A Love Supreme


The spring accessories sale at Christie’s features price points for all

Lifestyle > Fashion


A Love Supreme

May 23, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

It’s not just art anymore. Increasingly, auction house Christie’s has been highlighting rare accessories. Fashionistas can swoon over a selection of coveted Hermès bags on May 30 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Chief among them is the elegant matte-grey Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35, estimated at HK$600,000 to HK$800,000. 

Given the ever-growing appetite for men’s luxury products, Christie’s is also promoting a Louis Vuitton boxing set by Karl Lagerfeld, with a Louis Vuitton and Supreme backpack and jacket among the other goodies. 

“The demand for rare and fine handbags is surging in the Asia market,” explains Winsy Tsang, the Asia head of sales for handbags and accessories at Christie’s. “This season, we have more collectibles for men, while continuing to offer pieces that cater for day and night at every budget.”  Pieces start from HK$10,000. Get those paddles ready…

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Images: Provided to China Daily by Christie’s

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Corner the Market


Chinese handbag brand Zesh delivers luxury manufacturing at reasonable prices

Corner the Market


Chinese handbag brand Zesh delivers luxury manufacturing at reasonable prices

Lifestyle > Fashion


Corner the Market

May 23, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

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Established in 2014, the brand Zesh was founded in Shanghai by then-23-year-old Haoze Dong, a University of Southern California business school graduate and president of its Chinese Student Association. Specialising in contemporary, practical women’s handbags, Zesh’s prices range from RMB1,000 to RMB4,000.

Dong grew up in a family business that manufactured luxury handbags, which gave him the rare privilege of understanding how premium bags are made. Aiming to showcase the high level of quality that “Made in China” products can achieve, he works with local factories that have manufactured high-end bags for more than 20 years, as well as leather suppliers that have served luxury brands. Zesh’s team, which consists of young designers who studied and worked in Europe as well as industry veterans, is heavily inspired by modern architecture.  

The signature collection is called Cubelet, with bags featuring three corners – the fourth corner is “cut off” and covered by triangular hardware in gold or silver, inspired by deconstructivism. In Chinese, “someone with edges and corners” refers to the type of person who is uncompromising and firmly stands by their beliefs. With such implications, the brand says it wishes to design for women who have edges and corners – meaning they’re independent, imperfect and don’t blindly follow trends. 

With a clear focus on the millennial market, Dong thinks that the younger Chinese generation is open-minded and eager to embrace new things. In five years, he wishes to build Zesh into one of the biggest China-based handbag brands and to ultimately change people’s stereotypes about the country’s fashion as “a Chinese fashion brand that truly has a global influence on the industry,” explains the young entrepreneur. 

When Dong was studying overseas, he realised that many of his friends would avoid buying “Made in China” products. Today, this ambitious young man intends to overcome that mentality and let Zesh’s quality speak for itself.

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Images: © Zesh 2014-2017/www.zeshlife.com

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New Vintage


From the Silk Road to the neo-Chinese cityscape, Shiatzy Chen channels your urban goddess

New Vintage


From the Silk Road to the neo-Chinese cityscape, Shiatzy Chen channels your urban goddess

Lifestyle > Fashion


New Vintage

May 23, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Combine some 21st-century neo-Chinese chic with early 20th-century Gabrielle Chanel, then overlay the influence of eclectic adventurers and travellers across the ancient Silk Road, and the structure for Shiatzy Chen’s autumn/winter 2018 collection takes glamorous form. 

In a modern homage to the romantic spirit of this era, Wang Chen Tsai-Hsia, the brand’s founder and head designer, evokes the rich colours of Dunhuang and its majestic caves in the Chinese province of Gansu. 

A commercial trading centre between East and West containing 1,000-year-old examples of Buddhist art, this provenance suffuses the collection with a rich narrative of peony pink, pastel green, gingko yellow, indigo, beige, orange, bronze and ink black. 

The design palette embellishes intricate lines and abstract geometric patterns across short coats, bouffant skirts, sports jackets and Chinese-style robes, which evoke the heavenly beasts and flying goddesses adorning the walls of Dunhuang. Among the flamboyant fabrics are jacquard prints, colour-blocked wools, lace, organza and satin. 

The necessity for balance on the accessories side sees embroidered leather bucket bags with jade clasps and jade bracelet handles for the arms, and flats with straps and sneakers in black and white for the feet. Legendary and grounded, this contemporary silhouette’s one for the silky urban goddesses. 

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Images: Shiatzy Chen

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Check Mix


Can’t decide on stripes, plaids or tartans? Pro tip: wear them all together

Check Mix


Can’t decide on stripes, plaids or tartans? Pro tip: wear them all together

Lifestyle > Fashion


Check Mix

April 6, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Checks are huge this year, but forget that old stereotype of them being conservative. Creativity is essential to a winning ensemble, with a wide mix of chequered patterns, lines, squares and various geometric prints seen on the runways from Paris to New York. Modernity is another key to the look. Perfect your style with some standout hues: anything floral, wild and unconventional.

Missoni

Print mixology ◆ rainbow stripes ◆ light and breezy

 
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Hermès

Geometric beauty ◆ modernistic palette ◆ madras-style squares

 
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Daks

Day to night ◆ the classic double-breasted coat ◆ British chic

 
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Sacai

Asymmetrical ◆ semi-sheer ◆ art of hybridity

 
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Viktor & Rolf

Surrealism ◆ dimensional play ◆ hand-woven

 
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Images: Jean-François Jose (Hermès); Missoni; DAKS; Sacai; Viktor & Rolf

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Fashion Statement


From bold protest slogans to wearable tech, the humble T-shirt has gone through numerous incarnations, but one thing’s for certain: it’s never gone out of style

Fashion Statement


From bold protest slogans to wearable tech, the humble T-shirt has gone through numerous incarnations, but one thing’s for certain: it’s never gone out of style

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Fashion Statement

April 6, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Images above: “I Wear What I Want”

  T-shirt design by Beth Postle

T-shirt design by Beth Postle

Though it might seem to be the ultimate manifestation of 20th-century American mass consumerism or British punk protest culture, the T-shirt is much more than that. The ongoing London exhibition T-Shirt: Cult, Culture, Subversion at the Fashion and Textile Museum celebrates this historic, ubiquitous and universal garment. 

Decorated T-shaped tunics date back as far as the 5th century CE and screen-printing was documented during China’s Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE). In the modern era, the garment’s precursor was established in 1913 by the US Navy, whose regulation uniform kit included a lightweight short-sleeved white-cotton undervest. The first known literary usage came in 1920, when famed American writer F Scott Fitzgerald referenced the word “T-shirt” in his debut novel This Side of Paradise. That same year, the word was officially added to Webster’s Dictionary.

Today’s iconic screen-printed T-shirts came into full swing in the UK during the 1960s and ’70s – some prominent examples include the government’s “We Don’t Smoke” in 1969 and the Rolling Stones’ “Tongue and Lips” by John Pasche the following year. In 1971, punk pioneers Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren opened their legendary Let it Rock shop, which sold rock ’n’ roll memorabilia and slogan-adorned T-shirts. 

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  Vivienne Westwood protesting backstage

Vivienne Westwood protesting backstage

In 1977, Milton Glaser’s “I Love NY” design was unveiled as part of a new marketing campaign for the state of New York. Inspired by pop art, the iconic heart has become one of the most lucrative T-shirt designs of all time. 

As T-shirts transformed into identity platforms, the voice of political protest wasn’t far behind. Famed English fashion designer Katharine Hamnett met British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at London Fashion Week in 1984; the former wore a shirt that read “85% Don’t Want Pershing” – a reference to public opposition to the relocation of US missiles. (Two decades later, in 2003, Hamnett sent models down the catwalk wearing shirts with the slogan: “Stop War, Blair Out” during the Iraq War.) 

By the year 2000, the rise of fast fashion meant that more than two billion T-shirts were being sold each year – that’s about one for every three people on the planet and that figure has since risen. The endless push for consumerism has driven many designers towards a goal of sustainability. 

  Face No. 3 Jordan by Kitsch-22, 1977

Face No. 3 Jordan by Kitsch-22, 1977

Technology has started to play a role today – and the textile industry has seen lots of innovation. The first bulletproof T-shirt and another that could block up to 99% of UV rays arrived in 2010. Next, the world’s first programmable T-shirt – a collaboration between Ballantine’s and wearable tech company CuteCircuit – was born two years later, allowing its wearer to display status updates and more on an LCD screen. 

Then, the humble T-shirt seemed to go through the stratosphere. In 2013, for the centennial celebration of the garment’s provenance, French luxury purveyor Hermès released the most expensive T-shirt of all time, made entirely of crocodile skin and priced at US$91,500. A year later, “athleisure” overtook denim as the most popular shopping category and the release of Alexander Wang’s collection for H&M helped solidify the trend. Suddenly, T-shirts in lycra or neoprene, once reserved for the gym, became perfect for just about every other activity. 

Two years ago, Vetements released its now-notorious DHL T-shirt, noted as much for its “real-life meme” as for its US$300 price tag (an original purchased directly from DHL costs about US$7). In an Inception-esque move, this was followed by the launch of Vetememes, a parody brand drawing on the social media-fuelled success of the brand that left everyone wondering if the T-shirt had finally jumped the shark. 

But perhaps we’re moving into a simpler era where do-it-yourself T-shirts will take the lead. When everyone’s goal is to go viral, you don’t necessarily need a designer brand or a giant budget to create a style seen by millions. Last summer, during his performance at the Panorama Music Festival in New York City, singer Frank Ocean donned a shirt that read “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you could just be quiet?” Social media went ballistic – as did the business of 18-year-old Kayla Robison, who makes the T-shirt for her brand Green Box Shop, where it retails for just US$20. 

Maybe it’s back to basics – but whatever happens, this 5th-century icon looks as contemporary as ever. 

T-Shirt: Cult, Culture, Subversion is at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum until May 6. (ftmlondon.org) 

Images: Courtesy of Beth Postle; Graham Pearson (My Booze Hell); Marta Lamovsek (Vivienne Westwood Tshirt and Vivienne backstage protesting); Boneshaker Photography (The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist); photo: Susan A Barnett, published in T: A Typology of T-Shirts © 2014. All Rights Reserved (All Over Trump, Girl with Pearl Earring, I Wear What I Want); courtesy of Fashion and Textile Museum (Don’t Be a Waster, Single-Use Plastic is Never Fantastic); photo: Sheila Rock, courtesy of Paul Stolper Gallery (Face No.3 Jordan, 1977. Kitsch22); photo: Derek Hutchins, © Dove/White, courtesy of Paul Stolper Gallery (Exploding Mickey); Fashion and Textile Museum

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Around the World


French jeweller Lydia Courteille’s collections form a unique atlas, inspired by the flora, fauna and the history of her travels

Around the World


French jeweller Lydia Courteille’s collections form a unique atlas, inspired by the flora, fauna and the history of her travels

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Around the World

April 6, 2018 / by Philippe Dova

When Lydia Courteille created her brand in 1987, she initially focused on antique jewellery. After collecting and selling some 7,000 vintage pieces, she turned her hand to jewellery design. For more than 30 years, her haute joaillerie collections – each piece unique and quietly provocative – have been displayed with theatrical flair in her shop on the Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. She counts global celebrities among her fans, including Madonna, Karl Lagerfeld and Nicole Kidman.


  Designer Lydia Courteille

Designer Lydia Courteille

So how often do you introduce a new collection? 

I create a collection with a new theme every six months. Each one comprises around 30 unique pieces. 

Your Rosa del Inca collection, presented last January at the haute joaillerie event of Paris Fashion Week, was your 57th. Where do you get your boundless inspiration? 

Travel inspires me enormously. This collection is a tribute to rhodochrosite, the national stone of Argentina, which I discovered during a trip there; the Argentines call it Rosa del Inca. I was inspired by the different civilisations that have left their mark on the country’s history – the Mapuche, the Inca and, much later, the Spanish. The history, the folklore, the colours, the fabrics, the animals and the plants that I discover during my travels are inexhaustible sources of inspiration.

My previous collection, Un Automne à Pékin, was inspired by my visit to the Forbidden City when I was in the Chinese capital for an exhibition at Lane Crawford. There are lots of feng shui references, with grasshoppers, frogs, dragons and fish – animals that symbolise luck, wealth, prosperity and longevity. 

The colours of your designs are very soft and harmonious. 

That’s the intention of every collection, the source of its beauty. All the objects reinforce one another. There has to be a consistency in the colours and the shapes. It mustn’t be monotonous. It’s about creating a harmonious whole and that isn’t necessarily easy to achieve. When I start to design a piece, I first have to find the stones, then decide the subject, then the colours that I’ll be adding to create the finished work. Lastly, it has to tell a story and spark desire. 

How would you define yourself? Are you an artist? A jeweller?

I’m a dream merchant! [laughs] I sell dreams, stories and beauty – at least I hope I do! I think a woman should be beautiful when she wears the jewellery. When she holds the object in her hand, she has to feel a love for it. It has to be well made, rare and precious – and above all, there has to be a story behind every piece.

Images: © Lydia Courteille 2016

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Fringe Binge


It shimmers, it sways, it’s a little bit festive – and it’s everywhere this year! Thankfully, fringe is actually practical to wear as well. See our picks, based on different budgets, to help you with some smarter shopping

Fringe Binge


It shimmers, it sways, it’s a little bit festive – and it’s everywhere this year! Thankfully, fringe is actually practical to wear as well. See our picks, based on different budgets, to help you with some smarter shopping

Lifestyle > Fashion


Fringe Binge

April 6, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

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Tracking the Trends


Expect glitter and lots of sparks this year. From the luxury powerhouses to the boutique labels, the spring/summer 2018 collections indicate that we’re in for a year of innovative fashion. Here are some of the most prominent elements that are worth a look in your wardrobe this season

Tracking the Trends


Expect glitter and lots of sparks this year. From the luxury powerhouses to the boutique labels, the spring/summer 2018 collections indicate that we’re in for a year of innovative fashion. Here are some of the most prominent elements that are worth a look in your wardrobe this season

Lifestyle > Fashion


Tracking the Trends

March 2, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Bling Thing

Start with a glittery dress, or take the look head-to-toe – just remember, there’s a fine line between ostentatious and glamorous. The style can be enhanced with a matching sparkling ensemble (as at Mary Katrantzou) or more subtle when paired with a monochrome top (Molly Goddard).

 
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Artistic Touch

This season, stay inspired by the canvas. Luxury powerhouses such as Prada and Versace are spicing up pieces with their odes to the arts – be it graffiti, pop art, collage or even watercolours, as seen at Céline.

 
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Utilitarian Chic 

Shorts are essential for warmer weather, but you’d better make sure they’re practical – with belts and multiple pockets. With a focus on neutrals and comfortable materials, they’re probably not going to be the standouts of your ensemble, but they’ll probably match every outfit.

 
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Fringe Fever

It’s time to get a little frivolous. This season, long fringe has been spotted flowing all over – on shoulders, waists and legs. When accompanied by feathers and coloured threads, it harks back to the 1920s flapper era and makes a great party look today.

 
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Country Garden

For a perfect spring outfit, florals are always in. Abandon all those over-the-top flower patterns, though; instead, opt for subtle micro-prints and pastel shades. In essence, go as natural as possible. 

 
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Glamour Punk

Plaid, leather and fishnets get a feminine makeover, from Wolk Morais’ fitted tailoring to Balmain’s mermaid tail. Punk stylings return to the catwalk with a refined, graceful take on unconventionality.

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Images: Fendi; Versace; Céline; Kamil Kustosz/Molly Goddard; Chloé; Balmain; TOM FORD; Mary Katrantzou; Stella McCartney; ©Paco Rabanne; Prada; Instagram @wolkmorais (Wolk Morais); Getty Images (Tadashi Shoji); Sandro

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Plastic Fantastic


The très chic fashion comeback in 2018 – are you a material girl?

Plastic Fantastic


The très chic fashion comeback in 2018 – are you a material girl?

Lifestyle > Fashion


Plastic Fantastic

March 2, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Image above: Three models wearing waterproof coats, circa 1965

  Look from the resort 2018 collection, Chanel

Look from the resort 2018 collection, Chanel

Andy Warhol once famously said of the denizens of Los Angeles: “They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic – but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.” The fashion world definitely agrees with these magical polymers this year – the cool, shiny, futuristic material. 

The use of plastic in fashion started around the 1920s, when a range of colours were introduced to Bakelite, an early synthetic plastic that was developed in 1907 for mass production purposes; famed fashion designer Coco Chanel created jewellery in Bakelite. Her rival of the time, Elsa Schiaparelli, also applied this material to buttons. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, was plasticised in 1926. The shiny plastic-coated fabric of polyester looks like patent leather, but it’s glossier and even cheaper, making for a great substitute.

The wild 1960s ushered in a new era of embracing boldness, energy and contrasting beauty; this happened alongside the rise of pop art and the youth fashion movement. Mary Quant, the Welsh fashion designer and style icon of the period, rose to fame with her miniskirts, pinafore dresses and shiny, plastic raincoats – her bright colourways and dynamic prints still make for a mischievously chic expression today. 

The comeback of plastic in fashion raged back in earnest last year, spotted on a range of designs from street fashion to luxury brands. Calvin Klein’s autumn 2017 ready-to-wear collection introduced a number of plastic-covered jackets for both men and women, as well as dresses; the translucent material reminds one of a plastic sofa cover – what’s underneath
ranges from a plaid wool jacket or a sheer silk dress to a dyed fur coat. Yeezy, Kanye West’s footwear brand, introduced a pair of thigh-high boots in entirely transparent PVC as part of its Season Four collection. 

Wonder what haute rainwear looks like? Check out Karl Lagerfeld’s spring 2018 runway show for Chanel – it was held in the Grand Palais in Paris with a waterfall as the backdrop. The luxury brand interpreted waterproof fashion in a very Chanel way, such as styling the classic tweed jacket with a variety of clear PVC accessories, including bucket hats, raincoats, rain capes, gloves, boots and handbags.

This year, are you ready to be one of the plastic people?

Images: Jamie Hodgson/Getty Images (1960s models); CHANEL; Yeezy; Acne Studios; Valextra

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