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What’s Hot & What’s Not: May 2015


Celebrate what’s hip and happening and avoid those fashion pitfalls

What’s Hot & What’s Not: May 2015


Celebrate what’s hip and happening and avoid those fashion pitfalls

Style > Fashion



What’s Hot & What’s Not

May 29, 2015


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Who Are You: SS15 Womenswear Trends


Our pick of the best womenswear for summer 2015

Who Are You: SS15 Womenswear Trends


Our pick of the best womenswear for summer 2015

Style > Fashion



Who Are You

April 24, 2015 / by Sophie Wong  

Call it the legacy of Karl Lagerfeld’s sneaker chic for Chanel last season, or the impact of Alexander Wang’s recent cutting-edge ‘athleisure’ wear for H&M, but women’s collections for Summer 2015 see everything from sports-inspired high fashion to street wear and feminine prints and silhouettes. Candy-colours, bold stripes, and wild florals predominate, while voluminous silhouettes add experimentation and fun. Romantic, rebel, bohemian or poet, even a throwback to the ’70s, whatever your silhouette, summer offers something for everyone.

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T by Alexander Wang pays tribute to activewear in his new collection with white and green tennis dresses and rompers that reference Adidas’ iconic Stan Smith sneakers, electric body-con dresses that recall Nike’s Flyknit, and a range of techno fabrics. Preen by Thornton Bregazzi explores a mix of influences, brightening white cricket jumpers with multi-coloured, tribal-inspired stripes and accenting lacy skirts and dresses with stripe trims. Stella McCartney employs a more relaxed take on the sportswear trend with fluid, parachute silk flight suits and matching sweeping coats, while Marni presents sporty bralets in neutral hues, styled with fluid bottoms and judo belts.

This is all well and good but for those who are neither sporty nor street, there is femininity and romance.  Proenza Schouler plays with fringing effects: dresses and skirts ending in unravelling strands that exude the essence of modern, feminine cool.

Sharp stripes pervade collections, from rainbows at Kenzo, Valentino, Dries van Noten and Peter Pilotto, to monochromatic at Givenchy, and Victoria Beckham, while designers’ colour palettes, from electric-chilli-red and fiery-orange, are going kaleidoscopic.

Echoing the feminine trend, albeit more escapist, some designers have gone with sheer fabrics, slippery satins, and fluid shapes, exhibiting a lightness and effortlessness evocative of another era.  Chloé channels bohemian chic with pretty pieces in lace and silk highlighted by balloon sleeves, breezy blouses, and relaxed kaftans.

Proportions are also prominent.  Alexander McQueen and The Row, juxtapose slim tunics, cropped tops, and sexy bralets, respectively.  There are slouchy, flared trousers from Lanvin, roomy culottes from Alice & Olivia, and sculpted, voluminous tops from 3.1 Phillip Lim for elegance.

The great outdoors is getting an airing with amped up buds and wild flowers splashed across collections. Both Céline and Saint Laurent are serving up bright, 70s florals spliced and clashed together; Thakoon is going tropical with prints of palms in burgundy and bright turquoise; Alexander McQueen’s kimono-inspired collection features graphic, blown-up floral motifs, while Dolce & Gabbana features black lace, bright red carnations, Castilian gold and bejewelled detailing. Mary Katrantzou, Diane von Fürstenberg and Giambattista Valli, are all blossoming with bold floral prints.

Finally, denim dominates as designers reinvent the workwear wardrobe staple in high-low combos.  From retro silhouettes flared and high-waisted at Stella McCartney and J Brand, to “mum jeans” made fashionable by Rag & Bone Jean, everybody is joining in with Gucci and Bottega Veneta. Even Alexander Wang is getting in on the act offering a slim leg with minimal stretch to a relaxed cut. Options abound.

Here comes the summer.

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Mighty Men: SS15 Menswear Trends


Suits, sneakers, and stripes dominate the dashing gentleman’s wardrobe this season

Mighty Men: SS15 Menswear Trends


Suits, sneakers, and stripes dominate the dashing gentleman’s wardrobe this season

Style > Fashion


Mighty Men

April 24, 2015 / by Sophie Wong

With a collection called ‘Book Covers & Bruce Chatwin’, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey featured illustrations and typographic prints that took their cue from vintage English book covers. He also showed Pharrell Williams-inspired buffalo hats, oversized rucksacks and a range of colourful trenches. Meanwhile over at Carven, Guillaume Henry gave ’80s sportswear a slicker Parisian update with more industrial minimalist designs.


From Left: Spring/Summer 2015 Accessories by Carven- Cap; Duffel bag; Sneakers; Luggage hang tags

From Left: Spring/Summer 2015 Accessories by Carven- Cap; Duffel bag; Sneakers; Luggage hang tags

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Margareta van den Bosch of H&M


H&M’s creative advisor on Marc Jacobs, Hong Kong fashion, a decade of designer collaboration and the brand’s success

Margareta van den Bosch of H&M


H&M’s creative advisor on Marc Jacobs, Hong Kong fashion, a decade of designer collaboration and the brand’s success

Style > Fashion



Margareta van den Bosch

April 24, 2015 / by Charles Oliver


“One of many keys to our success is efforts to keep improving product lines and stores, from design, to the customer experience when shopping, and via the electronic platform”

H&M broke the haute-couture/high-street mould, which had existed like church and state, with its pioneering 2004 Karl Lagerfeld collaboration. Now the Stockholm-based retailer is celebrating its first decade of such high-profile projects, which have been credited with democratising fashion and consumer taste. The crossovers have changed the lexicon, too, with words like “masstige” – a portmanteau of mass-market and prestige, and “massclusive” – mass-market and exclusive, entering fashion-speak. Most recently, at the end of 2014 the brand successfully collaborated with Alexander Wang on a sports-couture line.

H&M creative advisor and former head of design, Margareta van den Bosch, says at the outset the company never envisaged such success. “The biggest surprise is that the collaborations went on for a decade. Originally, we thought there might be three or four,” she says in Hong Kong, prior the opening of the Swedish retailer’s inaugural Taiwan store in February.

The learning curve for all designers, H&M, its competitors and consumers, has been steep and meaningful. “It was great PR, something the customers loved, and although we didn’t see it at the time, it gave H&M a lot of credit in the eyes of the fashion industry; that we could upgrade the clothing quality for collaborations and yet still sell them at such affordable prices,” says Van den Bosch.

Initially sceptical couturiers were soon converts. “They were very happy with the results, got lots of attention and, in many cases, reached a new audience, even if just for two or three weeks.”

The “less is more” mantra was fundamental to success. “We insisted on limited-edition collaborations. If we’d been too greedy and made too much, you might have had items still on sale at a later date, which wouldn’t have benefited anyone’s branding.

“Collaboration also made us better. We had to work ever harder on quality control for these projects, and it really helped us.”

But has the Instagramable gratification of today’s world tired of H&M crossovers? “Oddly, it feels like they’ve now become something of a tradition and people are expecting them. We have 250 designers involved one way or another, comprising 20 different nationalities, including Chinese.” In 2004, H&M had less than 100 designers.

All positive news for Hong Kong and China’s design graduates on occasions when Van den Bosch comes to town, be it at Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design, or in Shanghai, as she was last year for H&M’s annual design awards, or at Hong Kong International Fashion Week, where she presided as one of this year’s judges in January. “These days I enjoy seeing graduation shows more than fully fledged fashion shows,” she says.

Of the former: “If someone catches my eye, I tell my colleagues back in Sweden. I’ve always been interested in design and an education in design. As a designer myself, I know what it takes to create and make clothes. I started as head of design at H&M.”

What did she think of Hong Kong designers’ work at January fashion week?  “Very handicraft, lots of embroidery, with felt fabrics, prints. There is a tendency to work with volumes, and draping. It was an interesting experiment in creativity.”

While we wait to discover whether a Hong Kong fashion design student can win H&M’s annual award, the retailing juggernaut rumbles on, experimenting and diversifying.

H&M Beauty will be introduced this year in response to the US62$ billion global cosmetic industry.  The company may also debut another of its subsidiaries “& Other Stories”, in Asia. Currently only available in Europe, it is their own womenswear and accessory brand, for which, unusually; they bring in other labels such as Nike.

There’s no resting on laurels for Van den Bosch and H&M.  “One of many keys to our success is our efforts to keep improving product lines and stores, from design, to the customer experience when shopping, and via the electronic platform.

“It can get messy in stores, hard to find items. We need to make it less so.” Some stores lack guidance for needy shoppers, she explains. “The shopping experience can always be improved.”

How does Van den Bosch assess the work of arch competitor Zara? “H&M has a younger clientèle; our price-point is slightly different from Zara. But they’re doing a very good job, too,” she says.

And how about going counter-culture and re-establishing the hierarchy it has made mass – H&M couture? “We already make complicated things. In the Martin Margiela collaboration, for example, we made the belts ourselves. However, our mass global customer is very much about price and once you start down the couture route it gets very expensive.”

And what of more designer collaborations on the horizon? “We have approached Marc Jacobs as he’s free of Louis Vuitton,” she says. [Jacobs headed design at the French luxury heavyweight from 1997 to 2014]. “Now he’s the big boss it becomes easier.”

She’s not about to reveal his answer, but appears to remain cautious. “So far that hasn’t been decided. He has several lines. He may feel that it might be too competitive to collaborate with H&M. But we love what he does.”

For H&M, signing up Jacobs would be a triumph, and would be applauded by expectant fashionistas. Here’s to a second decade of collaboration.

Photo: courtesy of H&M

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