Welcome to our three-part series covering NYC Fashion Week! We are pleased to bring you a firsthand look at the Spring 2009 collection of not one, not two, but THREE talented young Asian female fashion designers over the course of this week.
I had the pleasure of attending the Bryant Park debut show of our first feature, Thuy Diep, a fast-rising star of the designer women’s ready-to-wear market. Lan and I arrived at the Salon at Bryant Park about 10 minutes before the show was scheduled to start (9pm). After all was said and done with navigating the masses and waiting on lines, we finally got into the show at 9:30pm and of course the lights didn’t dim until 9:40pm. This, I assume, is not an uncommon way to run things in the fashion world and the explanation for the term “fashionably late.”
Thuy’s Spring 09 line was lovely. It was inpsired by Naomi Watt’s character Kitty Fane from The Painted Veil, a classic emblem of worldliness and strength that Thuy reimagines as the “Chic Pragmatist” of contemporary society. Given the Chinese setting of the movie and Thuy’s own roots as the daughter of Vietnamese tailors, I expected to see a lot of Asian-influenced design. Indeed her use of billowy forms and constant play of ying-yang like contrasts in colors, materials, and textures reflected such considerations. There was a fairly regular switching pattern from light to dark with each model that came down the runway, and within each look Thuy had cleverly juxtaposed bright techno-synthetic colors (teals, purples, oranges, and silvers) with natural ones (beiges, browns, and blacks), shiny flowing fabrics with matted structured materials, ethereal single-item dresses with layered, paneled sets, etc. Yet she was careful to maintain some steady themes such as bulbous, wispy hair, blue laced ankle boots by Lincoln’s New York, big glittery earrings, trompe l’oeil drapery, and a sexy little horizontal slit on the upper arm of each sleeve.
What I loved most about the design quality was how wearable they were and how much they spoke to my own tastes - casual, clean, and comfortable looking pieces that demonstrate a keen sensitivity to harmony and careful editing of decorative elements such as ruffles and belts. Some of the looks were not perfectly constructed or looked a bit out of place with her vision, i.e. there was one shirt that was way too thin and clingy to wear without a bra and a skirt that I’m not sure was intentionally asymmetrical. Overall, however, it was very clear that Thuy is a very intellectual and skilled designer who gives a lot of thought to the way her clothing moves with the body and fits into the modern woman’s lifestyle. I can’t wait to see her designs mature and showcased at future Fashion Weeks!
I also thought I’d mention that Thuy herself is really pretty and her shiny long hair perfectly matched the movement and texture of the self-designed outfit she wore on the runway at the end. I love it when the designer looks just as fashionable and lovely as the models. How depressing is it when a designer comes out in yucky jeans and unshaved after all that glamour and glitz?
Outside of the fashion show itself, I was most impressed with the centerpiece arrangement of the main tent - a Swarovski chandelier creation draped over a fountain encircled with poppies and different interpretations by famous designers of Dorothy’s iconic Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz in celebration of its 70th Anniversary. Complete with HD screens displaying runway shows from the last few days, this lavish and brilliant centerpiece was the crowning image of what Fashion Week represents in the popular imagination - fabulosity ;D
Take a look at our selections from the event and the line, brought to you by our very own Lan!