Paris Fashion Week: Chinese Designer Yang Li

Story by Ruby Veridiano.

There was something eerie in the air inside the Palais des Beaux Arts as everyone hushed to prepare for Yang Li’s Autumn/Winter 2014 debut. Perhaps it was the elongated silence followed by Bruce Springsteen’s somber voice belting “Dream Baby Dream” that created a bit of a haunting feeling. That, and the word “DREAMER” in all capital letters mysteriously kept appearing.

It felt as if everyone in the room held their breath until the first look appeared on the runway. It was a steely blue dress that stopped inches above the kneecaps, clean and crisp except for the waist, where an overflowing peplum spilled out to be caught and held by the model’s right arm. If one piece described the tone of the entire show, it would be this one– a contrast between the seriousness of Li’s tailoring and an effort to bring an air of optimism through volume. Models slowly sauntered down the runway with a detached demeanor about them, adding to the air of seriousness, mystery, and goth. And yet, by etching the word “DREAMER” in a floor length skirt and an oversized top, Li still makes an effort to infuse a ray of hope amidst the gloom, making for something beautifully strange.

With black as a dominant color, asymmetrical, long-sleeved dresses paraded down the runway with lengths long in the front and short in the back. Paired with black hats, it looked like an outfit fit for a modern day witch with a prerogative to cast her spell. Burgundy and camel also made the palette, appearing as high-buttoned jackets, long skirts, and straight-legged pants that reminded me of military uniforms.

Fur pieces and unexpected peplums disrupted some of the seriousness in Li’s designs, hinting at a bit of whimsy. After all, no matter how dark a personality, there is indeed, a dreamer inside everyone.

Yang Li is a Chinese designer born in Beijing. He moved to Australia at age 10 where he played basketball and skateboarded frequently. He studied fashion in London at the famed Central Saint Martins School. He is a protégé of Raf Simons.

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Asian Designers at the 86th Academy Awards

While we’re ecstatic for Robert Lopez, the first Filipino American to win an Oscar for composing Frozen‘s “Let it Go,” the Academy Awards was once again slim when it came to Asian nominees.

But there were plenty of Asian-designed gowns gracing the red carpet at the 86th annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsEmma Watson, who joined Joseph Gordon-Levitt in presenting the award for best achievement in visual effects, dazzled in a metallic gray and black Vera Wang dress.86th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsA very pregnant Kerry Washington, star of the hit show Scandal, sports her baby bump in a simple lavender Jason Wu number.

oscars384 year-old June Squibb, one of the best supporting actress nominees for her role as Kate Grant in Nebraska (she lost to 12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o) wears an emerald green, form-fitting Tadashi Shoji dress.oscars4Idina Menzel, who showed off her powerhouse vocals last night in a performance of “Let it Go” –– the hit song from Frozen that ended up winning best original song –– wears a sweeping Vera Wang dress.

The Real Reason Behind Japan’s Surgical Mask Trend

Even if we don’t understand it, we’ve all seen it before– the strange trend in some Asian countries to wear surgical masks.

So what’s the reason behind this phenomenon? In some cases, the justification is perfectly understandable. For instance, residents in China are often seen wearing masks because of the poor air quality. In some cases, this is even a requirement. During a runway show in Jiangsu province last year, models were forced to wear surgical masks because the smog was far too dangerous to inhale.

So what about Japan? According to Rocketnews24, there are 5 main reasons for the popular mask trend.

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1.) For health purposes.
While China residents wear the mask to protect themselves from the unfit air quality, Japanese residents wear the mask for any sort of contagious disease. However, the mask is not used to protect themselves. Instead, it is used to protect other people. Because Japanese residents often come in close contact with one another, it is common courtesy to wear a mask if you are sick.

2.) To avoid social awkwardness.
Rocketnews24 reported that the mask is sometimes used by an individual who simply does not want interaction. A Japanese psychologist added, “When we deal with others, we have to judge whether to do things like smile or show anger. By wearing a mask, you can prevent having to do that. The trend of wearing a mask to prevent directly dealing with other may have roots in the current youth culture in which many of them are more accustomed to communicating indirectly through email and social media.”

3.) For warmth. 
Tired of wrapping a scarf around your face to keep it warm? Why not try a surgical mask?

4.) For the lazy.
Have you ever wanted to go out, but you’re too lazy to put on make up? Or maybe you have a pimple and you’re just too tired to cover it up. Maybe its just one of those days when you just want to leave the house for a quick errand and dolling yourself up seems like a hassle. Apparently, Japanese women have decided that a quick way around this is the surgical mask.

5.) In the name of fashion.
We certainly expected this one. As the popularity of the mask grows, more and more people are finding ways to incorporate it into their outfit. Black masks and printed masks were created for that very purpose.

 

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Asians in Fashion: Park Shin Hye Pays Tribute to Audrey Hepburn

The March issue of Marie Claire Korea is certainly one to look forward to. What are we most excited to see? Park Shin Hye’s gorgeous looks as she pays homage to Audrey Hepburn– the film and fashion icon during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Clearly, Hepburn’s legacy is one that has endured long after her death in 1993. In fact, the American Film Institute named Hepburn third among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time.

Although it is impossible to recreate a legend, we are awfully impressed with Park Shin Hye’s stunning tribute spread titled “My Fair Lady.” For the spread, the South Korean actresses reenacts iconic Audrey Hepburn styles from Roman HolidayFunny Face, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Park Shin Hye not only shows her versatility as a model, she points out that she is a force to be reckoned with. The 24-year-old artist has been quickly rising to fame and is most known for korean dramas You’re BeautifulFlower Boys Next Door and Heirs. In fact, her role in You’re Beautiful shot the actress into worldwide popularity.

Check out the beautiful tribute below.

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What Happens When Asian Kids Swap Outfits With Their Grandparents

The Singaporean artist simply known as “Qozop,” proves that age is just a number in many ways.

For instance, the artist appears to be rather new to the scene. Qozop’s facebook emerged late last month and the official blog has only two posts thus far. In fact the artist is such a mystery that the about me is kept plain and simple. It reads, ”There is nothing special about me. I am just an artist who has caught a picture-making sickness.”

Despite Qozop’s ”young” talent, the artist has already picked up quite a bit of attention. Qozop has been featured in Design TAXI, Demilked and Huffington Post.

The art that has sparked attention is Qozop’s series titled “Spring — Autumn.” He photographed pairs of relatives, such as parents and kids or grandparents and grandchildren, then had them exchange outfits.

“Fashion (other than wrinkles) is one of the best tell-tales of how old a person is, or what generation they hail from,” Qozop writes. “Skinny jeans just aren’t a thing for old people. But! Imagine a world where people of a certain age need not necessarily dress a certain way.”

Many viewers have interpreted the series as an exploration of identity and age, especially within Asian Americans.

Take a look at the entire series of Asian youth trading outfits with their parents and grandparents.

 

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Korean Couples Take Matching Outfits to the Next Level

Story by James S. Kim. 

If you’re looking for something other than chocolates and flowers to give to your significant other this Valentine’s Day, take a note from what many young couples are doing in South Korea on a daily basis.

The “couple look,” or publicly advertising a relationship by wearing matching outfits, is quite easy to spot on the streets, beaches and cafes of South Korea. While it can be as simple as a matching T-shirt or shoes, there are couples taking it to the next level, curating entire looks that match from head-to-toe, from jackets and pants to socks and underwear.

The “couple look” culture has understandably spawned a sizable market for specialized retailers, according to AFP. Many online retailers sell couple attire for snowboarding, swimming and running, as well as pajamas and lingerie for the more intimate moments.

There is no substantial data to show how well these businesses are doing, but many young Koreans say donning the couple look is a sweet way of showing affection for one another and even showing off their relationship in public. Married couples have also been getting in on it as a way of reaffirming their love.

Needless to say, things can get complicated if a relationship goes south. Articles of clothing are a bit more permanent than chocolate or flowers, but at least it’s not his-and-hers tattoos.

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This story was originally published in iamkoream.com 

Alexander Wang Uses Heat Technology to Wow Audiences at New York Fashion Week 2014

New York Fashion Week kicked off last week as designers and big brand names held runway shows for their fall/winter 2014 collections. While New York City’s Lincoln Center is considered the central location for designer shows, this year Alexander Wang opted for an off-site location at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

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On Saturday night, the 30 year-old Taiwanese-American fashion designer dragged his fashion crowd from the inner city out to an abandoned greenhouse on the water in Brooklyn. Fans, editors, photographers and celebrities braved hours in traffic to get to the remote site.

Wang debuted his collection with models sporting slick, parted do’s and utilitarian looks. Show-goers took to their blogs and Twitters, noting the show’s most exciting moment when a group of models stood in all-black clothing onstage, only to have the clothing magically turn into bright and vivid colors as a result of heat technology.

Sculpted dresses and coats, baggy trousers and backless boots added to the futuristic line.

Watch a first look of the show here:

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Korean American Designer’s Unlikely Hit at Fashion Week

Story by Y. Peter Kang.

Korean American designer Richard Chai sent a revamped version of every homebody’s favorite garment, the bathrobe, down the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, triggering an unexpected buzz.

The New Jersey native unveiled the Fall 2014 collection for his Richard Chai Love clothing line on Thursday. A writer on the fashion blog Pattern called the plaid bathrobe an “impressive surprise.”

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I checked my Twitter feed. Yes, others had seen it, too. Then, the pictorialevidence started pouring in. In fact, no one was tweeting any of the other looks for a while,” wrote fashion photographer Charles I. Letbetter. “The audience was stunned with amazement. Richard Chai sent a bathrobe down the runway. And it was an immediate hit.”

Described as having a hipster or grunge aesthetic, Chai graduated from Parsons the New School for Design in New York and also studied at the Lissa School in Paris, according to the Wall Street Journal. He previously worked as a designer at Marc Jacobs before starting his own line.

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Chai also showed a green version of his bathrobe.

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Richard Chai takes a bow.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com.

EXTRA PETITE: Short Girls Unite With This Must-See Fashion Blog

Television tricked me. When I was a little girl, I would watch all the 6-feet-tall television actors live out their character’s high school days (even though the actors were probably well into their mid-twenties) and I would dream about the day that I would sprout to be that tall.

So when I stopped at 5’2″, I felt cheated. I hated being used as another person’s armrest and I stared daggers at anyone who asked how the weather was “down there.” Most importantly, I hated the feeling that clothes wouldn’t look as good on me because of my small figure.

Luckily, I grew up and learned a few things. Aside from the perks of tip-toe kisses, being called “cute” and getting away with a child’s ticket at the movies, I quickly learned that I could choose clothes that both fit and flatter my “fun-size” frame.

Lucky for all of us, girls like Jean have mastered this art and can help us along the way. Just under 5 feet, Jean is the author of the adorable fashion blog, Extra Petite. The blog describes itself as “a fashion blog that provides styling ideas and shopping information with a focus on professional attire. This blog also aims to share suggestions and solutions for those who may be shorter than the average woman, yet still want to look stylish and feel confident.”

You can’t help but look through the blog and want all of her clothes– especially after knowing that it can actually work with your height.

Check out some of her recent looks below and don’t forget to view her blog here.

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Asians in Fashion: Kiko Mizuhara for AMBUSH’s Lookbook

Korean-American model, actress and singer Kiko Mizuhara modeled heavy jewelry in fashion design label AMBUSH’s lookbook, “Nu Order,” which they released on their website earlier this week.

The Tokyo-based design collective, Ambush Design, was founded back in 2002 by Korean rapper-MC Verbal and his graphic artist wife, Yoon. They started their second line, AMBUSH, in 2008, in an experiment in making jewelry with different kinds of metals, stones and plastics. Fans include Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Kid Cudi, among others.

The digital lookbook features Kiko and another model in clunky metal pieces, including chains, cuffs and bangles.

Creative direction: AMBUSH®
Stylist: Anna Trevelyan
Photographer: Kevin Amato
Model: Kiko Mizuhara, Anthony
Hair : Tony Kelly
Make up: Michael Anthony
Nail: Naomi Yasuda

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