CENTRE OF ATTENTION
A TRIO OF ASIAN-BASED FASHION LABELS LIGHTS UP THE CENTRESTAGE RUNWAY
Asia’s premier fashion event made a splash last month, attracting 8,700 international buyers to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The four-day event showcased 230 brands from 22 countries and regions, including three Asian-based labels selected as this year’s Centrestage Elites. Japanese avant-garde streetwear label Facetasm, Hong Kong ready-to-wear womenswear label Idism and Chinese luxury womenswear label Ms Min presented their spring/summer 2019 collections to an audience of more than 1,000 guests at the opening gala show on September 5.
Julio Ng and Cyrus Wong – a self-described yin and yang – launched their label Idism in 2016. Already into their sixth season, the designer duo came to Centrestage with a mission to share the process behind their creations. “The fashion industry is so fast that we felt garments are not well appreciated these days,” says Ng, a Central Saint Martins graduate who has worked at Gareth Pugh. “People don’t have as much knowledge about fabric or the creative process, so we wanted to create a collection to tell people to feel a little bit more in terms of seeing and feeling.” The Idism collection featured minimalist shapes and graphic prints designed by the pair to ensure optimal effect. “Every designer is different, but for me my influence is paper patterns. It’s one of my influences and really drives my design,” explains Wong, who trained at the London College of Fashion and worked at Huishan Zhang.
Looking ahead, the pair are hoping to slow down and refine their message even further. “The first five seasons we were always doing shows,” Ng says. “The next season we feel like we need to stop doing shows and construct an even more forward collection.”
A pioneer in merging luxury and streetwear, Facetasm designer and founder Hiromichi Ochiai set out to discover the “missing part” of the fashion world in designing his spring/summer ’19 collection. His forward-looking “neo-urban” vision translated into asymmetric checked shirts, lace-finished bomber jackets and suede-fringed ponchos – showcasing Ochiai’s love of combining different fabrics and styles, as well as crossing age and gender boundaries. Ochiai – who showed at Milan Fashion Week in 2011 on an invitation from Giorgio Armani, and was shortlisted for the LVMH prize in 2016 – emphasises the importance of making an emotional connection. “[What is] the most important is how clothes can touch people’s hearts,” he says. “What you believe is right is not always the same in other people’s eyes, but it is important as a designer to have your own faith in what you see. The work of a designer is to bring happiness to people.”
Min Liu – who studied at London College of Fashion and spent time in Amsterdam at Viktor & Rolf and in Xiamen at Ports 1961 – launched Ms Min in 2011. The brand quickly caught the attention of consumers and buyers alike with its dedication to fabrics and construction. After her first show at a contemporary art fair, Liu’s designs were picked up by Lane Crawford for its first mainland stores as well as Saks Fifth Avenue and Opening Ceremony. The designer also appeared at New York’s Met Gala, and in 2016 was nominated for the LVMH prize. Her contemporary designs feature traditional Chinese elements, inspired by Liu’s own search for traditional clothes on the mainland, and are produced at the brand’s own factory. The collection shown at Centrestage paid tribute to 1920s Shanghai, with rich colours and fabrics that recall traditional Chinese fashion. The spring/summer ’19 collection was also her first since becoming a mother. “I’m working hard on the development of the collection,” she said in the lead-up to the Centrestage show, “and I think you could say it’s very much influenced by my feelings of joy and femininity at this moment.”