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Friday, May 31, 2019

Sichuan Street Style - Throwback Hanfu Fashion

chinese street style
My Dad is traveling around the Sichuan province of China this month. He sent back a few photos of the Chinese street style trend he was surprised to see. Young students everywhere were donning silky robes in the style of historical Hanfu.
While most vintage fashion lovers rarely wear clothing dating back more than the last century, the Hanfu styles of this trend have not been worn in 400 years. The fashion fans are not wearing ancient ancestors garb, many are shopping for updated versions readily available online. They are not wearing them like cosplay. I initially thought perhaps they were emulating historical soap operas.
According to students interviewed in the South China Morning Post, Hanfu fans wear this trend as a way to connect with their roots and past. It is a sense of pride in their identity.
It is hard to imagine Americans dressing up as pilgrims on the street, heading to class or office. That doesn't stop designers from trying to send pilgrim fashion and prairie style down the runway every few years though.
Whether you are knowledgable about the Han people or Chinese history, the style of the Hanfu fashion is quite pretty. Flowing robes and embroidery look elegant and comfortable as far as style trends go. I also like the idea that students are wearing these outfits as a way to identify with their past and ancestors. With the way the United States is divided right now, I am wondering how fashion influencers here would incorporate patriotism and history into their street style, and whether that is possible without controversy?
What do you think of wearing traditional dress as your go-to work outfit? Could you pull off a vintage style that is four centuries old?
I can't wait to see what other trends emerge after Hanfu fashion for Sichuan street style.
photos by David TW Leung

This article - "Sichuan Street Style and Hanfu Fashion" - was featured on Links à la Mode fashion roundup by Independent Fashion Bloggers.
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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Met Camp - Met Gala 2019 Exhibit

met camp exhibit
met gala jeremy scott
met gala exhibit 2019
gucci met camp exhibit
What is Met Camp? No, it is not a pretentious summer getaway for the fashionably inclined. The Met Gala 2019 exhibit titled Camp: Notes on Fashion explored the various themes of what makes fashion campy based on the ideas put forth in Susan Sontag's essay. Sontag describes camp as “something of a private code, a badge of identity . . . among small urban cliques.”

The curators and directors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art put together a beautiful collection of pieces they consider display the "camp aesthetic." Gender role subversions were a constant theme, from historic female impersonators to drag to emphasizing genitals like Christopher Kane's bodysuits to none at all. If there were a mascot for camp, a drag queen would probably be it. There were glammed up wigs and accessories on display.

While female impersonator Frederick Park from 1868 was credited early on in the exhibit, icons of modern camp aesthetic like Divine, RuPaul, John Waters, legendary performers of drag balls in Harlem, etc. were not acknowledged except for a video clip of Willy Ninja's Deep in Vogue. At least Met Gala guest Lena Waithe sought to correct that with her suited look with "Black Drag Queens Invented Camp" embroidered on the back. Pose's Billy Porter arrived at the gala carried on a platform in full glittering Egyptian God glory. At least ONE look from Dapper Dan was represented at the exhibit. The Met still struggles with diversity and inclusion with both their guest lists and catalog, but at least they are trying with baby steps.

High-end responses to pop culture, from Japanese designer Undercover's beautiful rendition of the twins from The Shining to Heatherette's dress of Hello Kitty dolls. Moschino featured heavily, as did Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano. Bob Mackie (pictured with me below) is a master costume designer who created many of the iconic looks of performers that defined camp as well. Some designer vignettes, like the "Artifacts Past Its Prime" looked very pretty, but I didn't see what was considered campy about them. Balenciaga and Gucci (main sponsor of the show) pieces were beautifully pieced floral looks, but how were they counter-culture to anything?

Personally, I believe what is considered camp is more a mindset than a defined aesthetic, and traditionally, it is the opposite of tasteful, expensive and Haute Couture. It is often a satire, a parody, a vulgar response to the establishment. Designers that an overwhelming percentage of society cannot afford is hardly the most inclusive representation of that. I would have loved to see examples of homemade costumes and looks of individual artists, drag queens, who were truly making a statement as art were represented, instead of just commercial collections. The fans lined up outside across from the museum, barricaded behind gates hoping to see their favorite celebs on the (pink) carpet sported DIY looks that were in the true spirit of the theme in contrast to the designer-clad editors at the press preview.

The Met Camp: Notes on Fashion exhibit was another glossy, gorgeous themed fashion of the elite designers of the last century. A triumph for the team behind it, putting a commoner's idea on a pedestal.
bob mackie met gala

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

NYC Easter Parade 2019

easter parade new york
new york easter parade
mariana leung easter parade
photos by Mariana Leung, Adam Weinstein, Evan Currie
Here we go again! New York City Easter Parade 2019 where Fifth Avenue is the city's runway for the most creative in headgear. Millinery enthusiasts, Easter Bunny fans, spring fashionistas all came out for a (marshmallow) peep show.
Yours truly showed off my red butterfly ensemble, spending hours and hours the night before with a hot glue gun. I was truly lucky to have my sister, brother in law, nephew, niece and husband with me as an awesome bunny brigade. They were amused to see dressed up dogs. I was particularly amused to see a guinea pig named Piggy Stardust in a sparkly egg.
Trends this year were Alice in Wonderland themed looks. Always popular are NYC landmarks made into hats. I love groups that celebrate their cultural heritage with an Easter themed update, like the beautiful QiPao Society ladies, combining traditional Chinese garb with flowery bonnets. Another popular group were the Norwegians who mashed up horned helmets with lots of spring blooms.
The NYC Easter Parade attracts fans of all ages and cultures. Everyone walks around with a big smile on their face.
Which Easter Parade 2019 look was your favorite?

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

#NYBFW Theia Bridal Spring 2020

bianca jagger wedding
theia wedding dress
Happy Bridal Week! Theia Bridal Spring 2020 collection was a sparkling tribute to 1970s style icons. This decade was a beautiful era to showcase the body flattering draped crepe fabrics that Theia has been producing in recent seasons. Designer Don O'Neill paid tribute to the disco era, not with cliches, but evoking the spirit of women like Bianca Jagger and Farrah Fawcett. Plunging necklines, jumpsuits, silver and hand-beaded details all give the Studio 54 vibe, but with an elegant upgrade for a dance down the aisle.

Sure, there are big ballgowns of structured, heavy, uncomfortable dresses out there. The Theia Bridal collection is for the bride on the move, who wants something comfortable and elevated expression of her personal style. The looks from this 2020 bridal collection are sexy and sleek for a range of body shapes. Models of different shapes modeled them on this runway to demonstrate just that.
Styling the show, you saw Bianca Jagger's signature hat and an update of the brushed back curls of Farrah. The makeup was close to natural with a hint of extra shine on the lips. The glittering flowers and orchids as the backdrop were created by Fleur de Pascal.

If you plan on dancing throughout your wedding and need the glamour, the Theia Bridal Spring 2020 collection is perfect for you!
All photos by Mariana Leung
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

#NYFW Studio 189 from Rosario Dawson

Today we are taking a trip to Africa. Studio 189 Fall 2019 was one of my favorite presentations on several fronts. First, I was reunited with two immensely talented ex co-workers who now work on this brand. Jennifer Chun is amazing designer who know doubt was responsible for the best looks you see here. Ngaa Bedell, now relocated to Ghana, worked her magic from across the world and back in NYC to make sure it looked good.
Founder actress Rosario Dawson established Studio 189 as a sustainable fashion label celebrating the craftsmanship of African communities and the art of indigo dying. The silhouettes were incredibly chic and modern,  showcasing the updated expressions of local patterns beautifully.
The model casting was equally beautiful and diverse. The presentation incorporated dance and lots of team members excited to talk about their work.
Congratulations to everyone who worked on the Studio 189 fall 2019 collection. What a triumph!

All photos by Mariana Leung
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Blogger Love: Refreshing Seasonal Style

Hello! It has been awhile since I shared a collection of Links à la Mode by Independent Fashion Bloggers. This week, my fellow bloggers are sharing their tips for refreshing their closets for the season:
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