Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Auspicious start for mom with ambitious designs

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Chris Chang's Poesia was loud and proud. Jules Quartly

First impressions are everything in fashion and Chris Chang's debut women's wear show in Beijing left the audience wanting more.

Poesia was a riot of color, with nods to pop art and Chinese minority costumes. It was edgy and humorous at times, but highly wrought and technically sound.

The smart set assembled at D-Park in the 798 Art Zone on Friday was suitably impressed and after the final model vogued and sauntered off stage, showed its appreciation in traditional fashion with an ovation and flowers.

It was a bold beginning for the Taiwan-born, North American-raised woman who intends to become China's first big-name designer and build a global brand.

"I hope to be the premier designer here," Chang said after the show. "I think I should be because I don't think China has a leading designer yet - and there's so much possibility."

The former Prada executive, who was educated in the art of design at Parsons New York, is confident of her ability and tautological when it comes to her cultural identity.

"I consider myself a Chinese national because so much of my life is about Chinese-ness. Being Chinese should be about being international. China is international and that's why I am Chinese."

As for her collection she said its main theme was women's destiny, hers in particular.

"The inspiration of this collection was circles ("yuan"), which in Chinese is associated with destiny ("yuanfen"). I find it weird that I have been a designer for so long but it was my destiny to hold my first major collection here."

Stark silhouettes caught the eye as a variety of sleeveless pencil dresses pinched model's waists and cinched their hips. If three words could sum up the collection they would be: feminine, flouncy and cute.

For example, a silk, rose and gold patterned mini dress had an expansive ruffled hemline; while transparent panels over the chest of other outfits were set off by bright silhouette figures of a girl.

Horizontally-striped maxi dresses were draped with pastel-colored lace frippery; while the finale was an eye popping combination of black silk, layered with circular pop flavored panels, a ruffled waist and swathes of material winding down the legs, topped off by a hat/hand waving goodbye.

"Most of the people here believe the clothes are evening wear," Chang said. "For me they are equally day wear. Anything like this, slightly over the top, can be worn any time, day or night."

She suggested going to the races, a lunch date, or a girls' get-together as opportunities to wear her garments.

"I think anything exaggerated or eccentric should be encouraged within Chinese society."

As you might guess, Chang is not designing for what she calls "normal people". They cannot afford her clothes and probably wouldn't appreciate them.

It is this attitude that gave her a start as an independent designer, when she realized her frustrated wish to buy fashionable threads for her 4-year-old daughter indicated a gap in the market.

Consequently, she formed a clothing line for kids that can be described as haute couture for the really young at heart, which sold well at Barneys New York and in Los Angeles' baby boutiques.

Buoyed by this success, Chang decamped to Shanghai and in 2007 opened her first store, Poesia, which offers custom-made outfits for the city's trendsetting ladies.

She readily admits her children's line was a platform to get into women's wear, step one in a campaign to form an international label.

It was natural, then, that her daughter was the first model on the runway Friday night. And it was predictable that her children's collection received the most oohs and aahs.

Taken From : China Daily

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