Can you see it? The Chinese medallion embroidery and crocheted dresses echos some of the afghans of the 1970's but in much more sophisticated colors. The plunging necklines and sexy slim gowns had their roots in the disco chic dresses of the decade. Smocked peasant blouses were given a contemporary interpretation by being made in rich bold colors and more tailored placement in the smocking.
The cave reference is a little tougher to discern. There was a cream ground print that at first glance looked abstract, but you see that has highly stylized, ancient motifs with a painterly effect. The old frescos in the caverns had animal imagery, which were blown up into bigger graphics in some o the bolder prints as well. There were a series of marbleized patterns that looked they took their muse from Italian marble papers popular as liners for posh leather-bound books of the era.
Handbags were an important presence this season. Several of the purses had a structured, square shape that reminded me of my own mother's handbags in 1970's. They had the shaped handle or colorblocked details. Some had the square shape, but softer, shinier finish. Some had a shaped flap that reflected the Chinese motifs in the clothing embroidery. This was a great collection of bags that complemented the clothing well, but still stood on their own.
I love that Vivienne Tam always executes the modern East meets West aesthetic in a fun, not-literal or cliche way. There are too many non-Asian designers who cop to stereotyped, tired Chinoiserie ideas. Vivienne Tam has shown us a more evolved, much more interesting way to go.
|photos by David TW Leung|