Hybrid Theory

This year’s Singapore Fashion Festival (SFF), to be held from Mar 24-Apr 2, promises to be more exclusive and luxe than ever, with over 20 major fashion shows featuring high end labels such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Salvatore Ferragamo and Diane Von Furstenberg, to be showcased alongside cult local labels such as Alldressedup, Ashley Isham and Baylene . “Given the festival’s reputation over the years, it enables local designers to really have a platform to be seen by the greater international fashion community,” says Graeme Lewsey, SFF’s Marketing & Communications Manager. “We believe that the success of the festival instills confidence for emerging designers to grow.”
And even before the festival officially opens with a show featuring fashion brand Kenzo, at the festival’s pre-opening party on Mar 23, MTV Fashionably Loud is already setting the festival’s vibrant tone, featuring rock-influenced fashion trends and a live performance by über cool British band, Placebo. With famed British model Lily Cole (who will host selected shows in this year’s program) as the face of the festival, you really wouldn’t want to miss this party. Here’s our pick of some of the most exciting shows to look out for at SFF 2006.
Sky High
Apart from Lily Cole, celebrities from the Salvatore Ferragamo family—daughter Fulvia Visconti and grandson Salvatore Jr.—will be gracing the festival at the Salvatore Ferragamo show on Mar 25, 8pm. Its latest Spring/Summer collection, the exotic FIERA, featuring fiery animal prints and colors (hence its name), will tantalize with a cacophony of brilliant hues, clashing colors and striking pieces. One of the highlights of the show is the dragon stiletto, which is 10cm tall and sheathed in 18k gold leaf. You can’t miss this golden- colored showpiece, with its entwining chains which wrap around the ankle, and its finely chiseled flower designs.
The other major fashion show to look out for is from Diane von Furstenberg on Apr 1, 8pm, where her feminine yet bold designs are being shown for the first time at the festival. The Brussels-born designer’s works have been worn by the likes of Paris Hilton and actress Kirsten Dunst, and her carefully constructed pieces mix class with irreverence. Both her Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections are being showcased back to back, as the more showy and elaborate coats are juxtaposed with the lighter and brighter skirts and blouses.
Classic Italian label Missoni—founded by Rosita and Ottavio Missoni—will also have a go at the festival on Apr 2, 8pm, with its timeless designs that have wowed the fashion industry since the ’60s. This season, Missoni’s luxurious tactile materials are embedded with floral patterns and prints resembling stylized puzzles—a collection that marries art and function. But more than just that, corset dresses, fretworks, iridescent sequins and scarf bras will be presented on the catwalk show as well.
Other high-end international designer shows to check out: Kenzo (Mar 24, 8pm), where its most striking and beautiful Spring/Summer pieces will be unveiled, and Jean-Paul Gaultier (Mar 29, 8pm), which will collaborate with L’oreal for a selection of fashion-meets-beauty runway shows.
Local Motion
Numerous Singaporean designers will also be taking centerstage with their cutting edge designs, including the London-based Ashley Isham, whose modern gowns have been flying off the shelves in Paris and London. Hot out of the cutting room is Isham’s highly anticipated Autumn/Winter collection on Mar 26, 8pm, which will feature more of the designer’s trademark well-draped fabrics, Asian print motifs, beadings and exquisite threadworks. Isham’s gowns are lovely and versatile, and their floor-sweeping theatrics have won over many London fashionistas who have proclaimed him as the next big thing.
The talented Sven Tan and his successful label Alldressedup, will unveil a new collection which is still being kept under wraps. Inside word has it that Tan’s latest designs are a major departure from his previous African-themed collections. Industry observers are already making a beeline for the show on Mar 27, 8pm, which will focus on the cultures of Japan and Morocco. Look out for stunning origami and Islamic jacquard prints, as well as Swiss cotton, lined jersey and silk micro taffeta—complete with a color palette of red, white, black and gold. You heard it here first.
In an interesting collaborative showcase, Nicholas Wong from his eponymous label Nicholas and Baylene Li from Baylene will present together Show & Tell—Baylene & Nicholas on Mar 30, noon. Unlike the rest of the shows, the two young designers will have a post-show interactive session, where audiences can talk with the designers about their work process in creating the pieces. Baylene’s Spring/Summer collection is inspired by children’s playgrounds, and features wearable yet tailored pieces in loose silhouettes—a trademark of the designer’s—while Nicholas’ range is more serious, and fuses somber black coats and jackets and striped blouses with vintage retro finishing.
For something more rambunctious, Jo Soh’s first ever solo show for her label Hansel, which has a strong local following, will feature trained dogs that will also act as sideshow models on Mar 27, noon. The label’s name is based on Soh’s very own canine, but the clothes are anything but playful. Hansel’s Spring/Summer show features feminine, chiffon dresses crossed with masculine check fabrics, and is one of Soh’s strongest collections yet.
Department store, Tangs, will also present a selection from its Wardrobe collection, namely new local brands including Martina Pink, Tamara and Moonstone on Mar 25, 4pm. The Martina Pink pieces, in particular, are eye-catching and extremely wearable, as a wide range of colors from viridian green to vintage gold grace the soft and handcrafted fabrics—creating an elegant yet accessible collection.
Street Smarts
For those looking for something edgier, look no further. The G-Star show on Mar 25, noon, featuring a selection of beautiful models specially selected from a nationwide competition held last month, is the one to go to. Its Spring/Summer selection is a mix and match of checks, stripes, unconventional graffiti prints and rock music influences, topped with bright hues of orange, white, blue and green. If that is not street style, we don’t know what is.
Also being unveiled in Singapore for the first time is the Unique range from ubiquitous high street UK label, Topshop, on Mar 31, 4pm. The latest collection is a move away from the Topshop’s previous vintage looks, and features pieces with higher price points. Some of the highlights include jackets with exposed seams, softened silhouettes with more deconstructed shapes, and sexy plunging low-cut dresses in slinky silk jersey for that wow factor. The collection also establishes the usually affordable Topshop label as a major fashion force to be reckoned with.
More Brit greats can be discovered at Hybrit 06, Mar 25, 6:30pm, where newer upcoming designers and accessory makers such as Robert Cary-Williams, Jesse Noy and Anamika Khanna will be there in person to present their pieces. Cary-Williams’ works are characterized by delicate dresses made from soft leathers and luxurious silks, while the Noy’s funky designs are inspired by BMX bikers and skate culture. But more than just a one-off fashion show, Hybrit 06 will also see various other designers, such as design duo Stereotype customizing one-off T-shirts, and hat maker Bernstock Speirs creating special headgear throughout the event’s eight-day run till Apr 2.
For more group shows, head down to the Mercedes-Benz Asia Fashion Award—Regional Finals on Mar 28, 7pm, at Zouk where emerging Asian talents such as Singapore’s Sekino Keisuke and Aloysius Liew Guo Jian and Taiwan’s Frank Hu will compete for the top prize in the regional showdown. Some of these creators’ best pieces will take centerstage in this smorgasbord of indie fashion.
With so much to see at this year’s SFF, you had better make sure that you’re all dressed up for the stellar lineup.
All shows are held at The Tent @ Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Rd. Hybrit 06 is held at City Square, 1/F, Raffles City Shopping Centre. Log onto www.singaporefashionfestival.com.sg for updates.
Into the Woods
Arguably Singapore’s most successful fashion export, WOODS & WOODS’s Jonathan Seow will present his Autumn/Winter collection, which is already a hit in Paris.
Taking place at the Red Dot Traffic Building as part of the mammoth celebration of arts, fashion and culture, the Motorola SUPER-StyleMix 06 is where revered local designer Jonathan Seow from WOODS & WOODS will present his Autumn/Winter collection on Apr 4, 7:30pm. Seow’s highly established designs are regarded for their meticulous cut and detailing that evoke modernity and exclusivity, and ranks alongside Martin Margiela and A.P.C. as some of the most sought-after casual wear among fashionistas in the know. Here, Seow waxes lyrical as he lets us in on his upcoming fashion show.
How is this show going to be different from your previous ones held in Singapore?
The theme of the show, and the title of the collection, is “Beasty Beuys.” The title itself is an expression and an attitude … how we loosely describe the kids who will be models in the show. They are mainly street chaps who are constantly related to the simultaneous remoteness and uncanny familiarity of old pictures. Their youthful lethargy, or vigor, in turn, instigates a series of takes on daily street codes, and having injected romantic sensibilities, they take on a transformation of an “existential urban dandy.” However, in the show, we would like to reflect another side of these kids as well. All the models in the show are basically from the streets.
But more than just a fashion show, “Beasty Beuys” will also feature photographic works and design elements, courtesy of fashion photographer Ivanho Harlim and graphic designer Melvyn Quek. Tell us how this collaboration came about.
Well, me and Ivanho Harlim have been working together for the past four to five years on various collaterals, photography exhibitions etc. Some of these previous collaborations may not have been presented here, but they were shown in Paris during Fashion Weeks. I think this recent collaboration is only natural since Ivanho and Melvyn understand and enjoy working together. We see the chemistry between each other’s works, and it’s not forceful at all. We respect each other’s works and we do not see collaboration as simply a matter of style.