By Michael Karlo Lim
THE 25th HKTDC HongKong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer ran from 9-12 July at the HongKong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Apart from a showcase of up and coming local Hong Kong designers and regional talent, Hong Kong Fashion Week was also a fashion buyers delight. Featured were suppliers displaying their items across pavilions from the Indian Apparel Export Promotion Council, The Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council and other exhibitors from the Chinese mainland, Sri Lanka and Thailand’s Department and Industrial Promotion.
Getting into Hong Kong through the tail end of that week, we missed a majority of the shows frontloaded into the first few days of the event. The concurrent fair ran all throughout, and we particularly enjoyed the sample sales on the last day. We also met suppliers and subcontractors of many high-end “it” products, giving us a peek into the economics and politics of the fashion world.
Of course, we dressed the part. I hopped on the Big Suit Train for my arrival. Literally went the full nine yards on the volume trend by unearthing an old boxy suit jacket to pair with oversized, pleated slacks.
We also thought we’d rep the PI for this trip by wearing items from Filipino designers in a show of pride. I never thought I’d actually get to use the word skorts, but I sported a pair by Mike Yapching for, in the wise words of Cole Sprouse, “fashion.” The wide-legged short pants fall below the knee with a panel of the same material folding over the entire front. The top, still of the same textured, semi-sheer textile, sports sleeves of exaggerated length with barrel cuffs left unfastened. There’s the ludicrous Double Shirt by Balenciaga, and there’s Yapching’s utterly practical Backpack Jacket: wear the bomber-blazer fusion as is or allow it to hang from built-in straps for hands-free convenience when it gets too hot.
I copped a shirt from Filipp+Ina at the Tatsulok Fair by Holicow a couple of months ago, and I’ve put off wearing it for some big event. Chambray was made artisanal through detailed hand-embroidery of traditional tribal motifs by T’boli women from a partner community. The shirt also features delicate, hand-tooled mother-of-pearl buttons. Picking up what I understood were comments about the beautiful handiwork and getting nods of appreciation on the street made me realize that to push the cause of cultural preservation and to support indigenous artisans was to incorporate these items more into our everyday.
Hong Kong definitely had me “In The Mood For Love.” I pulled my best Tony Leung with a bit more casual styling in a brown plaid double-breasted suit from Tiñosuits x Spectre Manila. Apart from its fully handstitched construction, this half-lined suit is particularly special given it was eight months in the making with three fittings spread out over those months and the distance between Cebu and their Manila shop.
Hong Kong weather is bipolar in July and between sudden rain showers are usually static periods of humid heat. Kept fresh in an oversized, long-line tee with shodo calligraphy print by Oj Hofer from his “Empty Line, Full Heart” series.
For the requisite Chunking Mansions pilgrimage, they do have the best Indian restos in town, I took a last-season, deconstructed suit jacket by Mike Yapching for another spin.
I saw an ensemble by Rachel Rama backstage while in line to walk for the Freedom: Fashion Expressions show and just had to rock it off the runway. The all-wool suit was perfect for our rather cold, wet and gloomy last day in the city. The grey plaid jacket in a boxy cut has quirky covered buttons in an assortment of prints. The matching pants feature bold side stripes in pink satin. Wore it with an old block-printed floral shirt from India to complete the print clash.
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