This year’s Audi Fashion Festival 2010 was clearly the most successful by far, with big sponsors and bigger fashion names. City News attended the Marchesa show.
Part of the Asian Fashion Exchange, the Audi Fashion Festival featured top local and international designers in a five-day extravaganza of beautiful clothes and equally beautiful people. Held at the Tent@Orchard outside Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, the Festival opened on April 28 with Canadian duo DSquared2’s high octane mix of grit and glamour and a surprise performance by German glam-rock group Tokio Hotel (reportedly fans of the designers).
The AFX combines its predecessors—Singapore Fashion Week and Singapore Fashion Festival—into a power-packed fashion week. Apart from the AFF, the other pillars of the AFX are Blueprint, a business-to-business trade show, the Asia Fashion Summit, a networking event for creative directors, retailers and designers, as well as Star Creation Competition, a local and regional talent-spotting contest.
Launched last year, the AFF is the high-profile pillar of the AFX, starring local labels like alldressedup and Raoul, regional labels (South Asian designers have their own feature show) as well as big international names like the king of print Roberto Cavalli; Madonna’s designers for her Drowned World Tour, DSquared2; red carpet favorite Marchesa and London label KTZ.
Marchesa was founded in 2004 by Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, who met at London’s Chelsea College of Art and Design. The brand has since shot to fame as Hollywood’s red carpet label of choice. The duo named their company after 19th century aristocrat Marchesa Luisa Casati, famed for her striking sartorial tastes, including wearing live snakes in her outfits.
While there were no live reptiles at the Marchesa show, there were certainly gowns given to flights of fancy. A “retrospective collection” that displayed the best of the label, the pieces took the audience from Marchesa’s Asian inspiration to the best of its Hollywood red carpet collections (including the gold column gown Sandra Bullock won an Oscar in this year). Other Marchesa signature looks included intricately detailed bodices and Grecian silhouettes.
Claire Yeo, 21, owner of an online shop, said, “The show was wonderful. The dresses were so beautiful. The models were great, and the crowd was good!”
Korean supermodel Song Kyunga anchored the show, opening with a purple over-the-shoulder number, while Singapore favorite Sheila Sim modeled an astounding origami cocktail dress.
Gavin Lim, 44, director, said, “It was good! It was short, sharp and sweet, and the music was well-matched.”
The Marchesa show was presented by Samsung, which held a launch of its own at the AFF for its brand new mobile. Singapore designers Desmond Yang of Abyzz and Ben Wu of BenWU were commissioned to create accessories to complement the new Samsung Wave. They also pitched concepts for 3D glasses to accompany Samsung’s 3D TV.
Both Abyzz and BenWU were exhibited at Blueprint, the AFX’s tradeshow, and Yang and Wu were present at the Samsung after-party to exhibit their collections.
Yang’s collection, titled “Wings—Take Flight” featured three different necklaces, “Soaring,” “Independence” and “United.” Known for his “transformational” designs, Yang’s necklaces can be worn differently for varied effects.
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Wu, an interior-designer-turned-fashion-designer, applies an architectural aesthetic to his creations. His collection, titled “Archetype,” was inspired by the diamond shapes on the Samsung Wave smartphone. Comprising a hoodie (“Fanatic”), a glove (“Addict”) and a handbag (“Ethic”), each is uniquely designed to work with the Wave smartphone. “Fanatic” and “Addict” both feature new ways to carry the phone, while “Ethic” is sound-proof, for “when you don’t want to be disturbed,” Wu explains.
The AFX proved a success, with local and regional designers lauding the tradeshow as a place to see, be seen and be signed by agents and boutiques, while international labels like KTZ and DSquared2 are drawn by the chance to penetrate Asia, given the rise of the Asian luxury consumer.