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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Zang Toi Fall 2020 - New York New York

New Yorkkkkkk! Zang Toi's fall 2020 collection brought all the glamor home this season with a tribute to NYC.
Toi's NYFW shows are usually a classic, escapist fantasy inspired by jet setting destinations. Classical music, big band, aristocratic soundtracks often accompanied his elegant runways.
For fall 2020, his muse is his adopted home of New York. While the clothing was no less luxurious, it had a distinctive, urban, sharper, almost grittier appeal?
You could hear the change before the first model with a thumping contemporary soundtrack, beginning with Jay-Z's now-iconic New York duet with Alicia Keys. It continued with other rappers who expressed their love for Gotham, only ending with Frank Sinatra's New York, New York, for his final bow.
The day looks had chic shades of gray tweed, black, representing the elegance of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The architectural looks gave way to lots of black (the unofficial uniform of the NY fashion set) paired with ultra-bright pop colors like red, fuschia, purple, green, blue inspired by the Downtown art scene. The color palette brought me back to the urban glam and polished looks that dominated billboards in 90s New York.
Most stunning were the looks incorporating the New York City skyline with intricate embroidery and beading.
Zang Toi has been somewhat controversial the past few seasons by having members of the Trump family as guests and having Rudy Giuliani sit front row for this show. While I can't vouch for his politics, Giuliani WAS mayor of the city during one of its most difficult times. 
In the previous season, the show was held at the Women's Republican house, which made non-Republicans uncomfortable. Zang expressed how Ivana Trump was an early supporter of his business, as well as the rest of the family, and he wanted to show his appreciation of his opportunities, politics or not. 
Here is where I learned a lot about diplomacy from Zang Toi: As an immigrant and employer of immigrants, he made a point of having all of the guests stand for the Malaysian national anthem, in a room of barely concealed MAGA hats. The collection that year was of traditional Malayasian silhouettes and textiles, giving guests an instant education on another culture whether they liked it or not. Third, while the Republicans stocked their seats with GOP trophy wives, Toi likely brought more diversity and inclusiveness from HIS guest list (like me) than that building has ever seen, forcing everyone to mingle and socialize.
As a designer, you can choose to ignore all politics. You can choose to design your collection and make the clothes an instrument of political messages (like Pyer Moss). You can choose to make your presentation an expression of your beliefs like Naeem Khan. Zang Toi, as a designer chose a fourth option, to use fashion as an occasion to bring disparate groups together to appreciate something together, the beauty of style.
I plan on voting and urge everyone who cares about their fellow human beings to vote. We all know which party and which candidates do and don't care about people from their actions and words. Keep it classy. Keep it kind. Make Zang Toi and his beloved New York Proud!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Sukeina Fall 2020

I love discovering new labels. Sukeina is a favorite of supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Natalia Vodianova. The glamorous statement looks are the creation of Senegalese designer Omar Salam. Like me, he is an alumnus of Parsons School of Design. His resume before launching his own label include Sonia Rykiel and Christian Lacroix. 
Salam's Fall 2020 collection brought in neon brights, bright pastels, and primary colors. Luxe details included embroidery on sporty mesh. Voluminous ostrich feathers brought high drama to this runway for his evening looks.
origami folds
For Sukeina day looks. The suiting and tailored looks sported a signature pleating detail with origami folds. These were a great way to elevate "work clothes" from utilitarian to wearable art. 
I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next!
Photos by Mariana Leung


Monday, February 10, 2020

Pornhub x Namilia Fight Asian Stereotypes at NYFW

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asa akira runway model
Kung Pao! Me So Horny. Namilia designers Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl struck out against the fetishization of Asian women in pop culture and adult entertainment. Their partner in this mission? None other than Pornhub.com and adult film star Asa Akira. 
This dynamic runway featured an all Asian model cast. By Asian, this didn't mean only East Asian or South Asian, the models spanned all shades, colors, shapes that represent the diversity within the community. The tongue-in-cheek collection skewered (sometimes literally) the various fetish, submissive, objectification of women are subjected to in entertainment and in real life. Whether the microaggressions have to do with food, racism in regards to the Coronavirus, characters like Chun Li or Dragon Lady cliches, the looks on the catwalk mocked them in sexy, stylish fashion.
The message the models got across was that they would crush these stereotypes and the idiots that imposed them in their claws or under the considerable, big heavy shoes and feet (a deliberate contradiction to dainty bound feet I'm sure).
To be honest, when I first read "Pornhub," I chuckled, wondering how a site where clothing seems irrelevant would be anything more than a stunt collaboration. After seeing Namibia's sex-positive, woman empowered history, and Pornhub's record of "woke" adult entertainment (check out their campaigns for environmental conservation and saving the bees), this collection was very timely.
Many of my community are celebrating Lunar Near Year this week. As an Asian-American, of course, I have dealt with the stereotypes both professionally and personally, so this collection resonated with me quite a bit. The fact that the fashion is fun and sexy is a bonus.
Rock on, ladies!

This post was featured on Links à la Mode fashion roundup by Independent Fashion Bloggers.
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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Badgley Mischka Fall 2020

This is the week of romance for NY Fashion Week. The Badgley Mischka Fall 2020 collection was exactly what I wanted to see ahead of Valentine's Day. There were my favorite fabrics of velvet and silks. There were tons and tons of opulent embroidery on long sweeping gowns. Big pouf sleeves are all over the runways I have shot so far and continued here. Most of the silhouettes were very curvy, with a mermaid or trumpet silhouettes. The shapes were generally slim, with no giant ballgowns. 

Look at this elaborate embellishment. I am drooling. There were big chunky jewels used. Also, fabric flower appliques, handmade, cut, torn, and then stitched. In the world of fast fashion, it is decoration like the pieces in this collection that separate luxury from the masses. 
Do you see this beautiful headpiece? This was the signature accessory of the Badgley Mischka fall 2020 collection. There were several variations of this jeweled, beaded vine-like headpiece that wrapped around the back of the head to frame the pulled back topknot hairstyles.
The designer duo is clearly gunning for the red carpet and gala crowd here. They deserve it.
Which is your favorite look?

Also on Ms. Fabulous:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

NYFW: Veronica Beard Spring 2020

all photos by Mariana Leung
Surprise! Women come in different sizes than the runway model. Veronica Beard(s) cast models across the range of their clothing offerings, something which is exceptionally rare (but shouldn't be). The collection had beautiful retro-inspired prints. I loved the suits and tailored looks. Full disclosure, I did work on some of these styles as a technical designer. 
For the full-figured looks, the Kedic Fashion Workshop helped this brand translate its fit to looking fabulous on different body shapes. 
There was a certain, laid-back mid-century modern vibe to the season. There were structured details, but the look was flowing and draped. A signature style detail was the mini-pouf to many of the sleeves. Fabrics include lovely silk prints, gorgeous textured jacquards, menswear fabrications that stretch, some sequins for sparkle.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

NYFW: Chromat Babes - Spring 2020

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breast cancer nyfw
nyfw chromat
All hail the army of Chromat Babes that stormed the NYFW runway last night. This was by far the most inclusive cast of models I have EVER seen at a major fashion show. The incredible diversity and inclusiveness is a mission of this hot swimwear and bodywear brand, not a pandering gimmick that other designers have shown.
Instead of the token few people of color, or single model of non-stereotypical size, the Chromat show truly represented a range of ALL women, gender fluid fans and male allies. The models represented all the sizes the brand sell. The body types had super curvy, athletic, slim, top-heavy, bottom-heavy, short, tall, maternity, breast cancer survivors, mature fashion divas, babies, you name it.
The looks were very body-conscious, showcasing the body lines of every model with pride. There were some fun cage-like accessories made from covered boning. These pieces acted as dramatic framing for some looks as well as some outfits that lit up (see our YouTube video for Chromat).
The inclusiveness didn't stop at the casting. A significant announcement at the show was that the company was changing its business model. They would no longer sell wholesale, opting to sell directly to the customer as a way to make their pricing more accessible to more fans. Chromat only works with fair trade and ethically produced suppliers, so they couldn't compromise on their production price. That is a massive change for a brand and one that won't be easy.
This was another 9 PM show that completely energized the crowd, had guests dancing in their seats. The goodwill from guests, fans, designers, and producers kept the hype going all night. The finale included a performance by Rico Nasty. Rather than the creative head director or financial owner taking the bow at the end of the show, entire teams from different departments took a bow, showing inclusiveness starts at "home."
Bravo Chromat, for showing NYFW and the fashion industry at large it can be done!
All photos by Mariana Leung
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