Our best bet for what's predicted to be a rainy weekend is to beat the dreary weather at Superga's family weekend event. Join Superga this Saturday & Sunday 25 & 26 May from 2-5pm at the Superga Flagship store in Harbour City for fun, excitement and discounts for the whole family in-store. There will be face-painting in-store, a candy pick-n-mix (who doesn't love a candy pick-n-mix!), colourful balloons and, of course, exclusive discounts for the whole family. It's going to be a great afternoon to bring the family out for a spot of shopping and a whole lot of fun; see you there!
Fresh off of his successful show which recently closed the Audi Fashion Festival in Singapore, Hussein Chalayan is in Hong Kong for a few days to celebrate his Fall/Winter 2013 collection, which was on display at I.T Hysan yesterday and will be there again today, after which the pieces will follow Chalayan to Beijing. So, if you're a fan of this incredibly innovative and inspiring designer's work, make sure to head down to I.T Hysan in Causeway Bay to get an up-close look at his iconic runway pieces, including one of his 'transforming' dresses, his amazing 'peeling paint' fabric, his modern take on denim and, of course, the holographic pieces which have been somewhat of a signature of his during recent seasons. Also available is an extremely limited selection of 10 copies of his book by Rizzoli, signed by Chalayan himself. They're selling quick, so you better get in now if you want to get your hands on a piece of beautiful fashion history.
A retrospective look at the work of Hussein Chalayan, published by Rizzoli. There are 10 extremely limited edition signed copies available in-store, and for only $650 each, we think they're a steal.
Chalayan's Fall/Winter 2013 pieces will only be on display until the end of the day today (Thursday), but his Spring/Summer 2013 collection shown above will continue to be available in store, of course!
See a selection of Chalayan's Fall/Winter 2013 runway pieces on display now at I.T Hysan, Causeway Bay.
If you're a loyal reader of the Electric sekki blog, then JJ Acuna of The Wanderlister+ will be no stranger to you; he has been featured here on many an occasion. From the very first time we worked with him on our first Les Artistes project, JJ won us over with his eye for design and, of course, his unique and enviable style. JJ has been an integral part of the Asian art scene for a couple years now, regularly reviewing the shows and exhibitions on offer around town for The Wanderlister+. Last year, he was an official media partner to Art HK and, of course, you can look forward to seeing JJ around the stalls at this year's Art Basel Hong Kong. Being the art and style expert he is, we chatted to JJ about what he can't wait to see at Art Basel and, of course, what he'll be wearing to Vernissage!
Photo courtesy of JJ Acuna (via @thewanderlister Instagram).
What are you looking forward to seeing this year at Art Basel?
This year at Art Basel i'm looking forward to visiting some of the 48 new galleries from around the world who have never had a chance to exhibit in Hong Kong before. As with every year the "Encounters" portion of the fair will incorporate site-specific new and old works, usually large scale, to be exhibited around the fair and lie beyond the exhibitors booth. "Insights" and "Discoveries" sector will allow all of us to discover new artists from Asia and around the world.
Also fun at any fair are the major parties. A new art-culture club, Duddell's, is launching this week. Also official Off-Basel parties like Chai Wan Mei and unofficial Off-Basel events like the 032C x KAPOK block party should be fun.
Do you know what you will be wearing to Vernissage?
I never know what to wear before any event. That said, I most likely always go for comfy loafers, Levi's Jeans, a chambray shirt, and maybe a fancy blazer from Thom Browne Black Fleece or Club Monaco.
Give us some tips on how to remain chic, stylish and comfortable enough to spend the day roaming around looking at art.
You want to be comfortable but not too casual, because you may be speaking with a gallerist, and they are there for business. And will only give you the time of day if you look like you can do business. Sometimes the venue gets too cold, so bring a light jacket or blazer, Also there are lots of handouts and stuff they give out you'll most likely need a shopper. This is Hong Kong afterall so business cards are a must.
I'll be walking around, and am looking for simple and elegant fashions throughout the fair. Simplicity is key. Even when you want to go bold with your look. But heels may not get you far. Literally. It's a huge fair.
Editor's note: we think a pair of super Superga's are the perfect stylish yet comfortable footwear choice that JJ is talking about!
See more from JJ at The Wanderlister+ here.
With Art Basel Hong Kong commencing this week, Electric sekki had the opportunity to speak to art expert, Diana d'Arenberg, to find out what she's most looking forward to seeing this year at the art fair, as well as what she will be wearing. As an art & culture writer, curator and designer, Diana d'Arenberg has an astute eye for design and creativity; she has spent years cultivating her knowledge of both art and fashion, which you can read all about at her insightful blog, Post-ism. With her striking looks and distinctly strict black, white and red colour palette, Diana has also become somewhat of a local fashion icon in Hong Kong. She is always flawlessly put together; this is a woman that never seems to have 'off days'. Who better to gain some style tips from?
Diana d'Arenberg in front of a piece by artist Jason Martin at Pearl Lam Gallery.
What are you looking forward to seeing this year at Art Basel Hong Kong?
I’m looking forward to the Art Basel Encounters section, which will exhibit large-scale installations by a number of international artists; the Insights section showcasing curatorial projects with Asian artists; and Paper Rain, which is Art Basel’s artist parade featuring artists, musicians, dancers, actors and filmmakers from Asia. I’m also excited about local Hong Kong artist, Adrian Wong’s collaboration on the Absolut Art Bureau. Most of all I can’t wait to see our ‘art family’- friends we’ve gotten to know around the world at various art fairs and cultural events – for a festive reunion over art and some nice wine.
Diana d'Arenberg in front of a piece by Raphael Mazzucco his exhibition at The Space.
Do you know what you will be wearing to Vernissage?
Whatever the outfit, it will include one of our luxuriously tailored D&M shirts designed by me and my friend Marleen Molenaar, from the collection we’re launching this September. Both of us go to a lot of art fairs and events and need something that is comfortable and chic and can transition easily from day to evening. Of course, I’ll also have on a pair of ridiculously high heels so I can easily spot art works and people in the crowd. Perhaps it will all be topped with a hat. This humidity wreaks havoc on one’s hair!
Diana in a design by Marleen Molenaar and herself for D&M, launching later this year.
Give us some tips on how to remain chic, stylish and comfortable enough to spend the day roaming around looking at art.
Big, bold, fun accessories dress up an outfit as you go from day to evening events (if you don’t have time to change); flats (only to change into if the blood circulation to your feet has failed after a day of heels); red lipstick to help brighten one’s complexion after a long and tiring day.
See more from Diana d'Arenberg at Post-ism here.
Each year, the Audi Fashion Festival Singapore invites a handful of international designers to show at the event. This year, Hussein Chalayan was selected to be given the honour of closing the festival. Other international stars who showed this year included fashion mainstay Carolina Herrera, British newcomers Peter Pilotto, Japanese favourite Tsumori Chisato and Australia's queen of cocktail dresses Colette Dinnigan. Chalayan's recent Fall/Winter 2013 collection which he showed at Paris Fashion Week in March was heralded as one of the most innovative shows of the season. It even moved many a show-goer to tears. And the reaction of the audience in Singapore was no different, with many attendees stunned by the gorgeous creations they saw. Chalayan is travelling to Hong Kong next and will be in town with I.T this Wednesday and Thursday. He's then off to Beijing. So, Chalayan fans, don't forget to keep an eye out for him!
Hussein Chalayan greets the crowd at the end of his show.
The finale strut.
Electric sekki's luxury team, Giusi Genzano and Jessica Lee, on their way to the show (via @jesssiii Instagram).
The view at the show (via @jesssiii Instagram).
One thing that we can't live without is a fantastic pair of sunglasses, and we typically add at least one new pair to our collection each season. Lately, we've been loving sass & bide's sunnies. The beloved Australian fashion brand launched their first collection of sunglasses back in 2011 and they have been a huge hit ever since. This season, we are particularly loving their lookbook, styled in sass & bide's trademark bright and creative way, with lots of tribal influences. With so many spot-on styles to choose from, which pair is your favourite?
Spotted: Miranda Kerr ready to throw down on a basketball court in New York City, dressed in a Nanushka top and metallic shorts. All right, so maybe she's not really playing basketball. In fact, she was spotted by People magazine on the set of a sports-themed photo shoot, hence the excessive extra gear in the form of a striped terry cloth sweatband and kneepads. This is one of our favourite looks from Nanushka's Spring/Summer 2013 collection; those metallic shorts in particular have caused a mini-riot of obsessed colleagues in our showroom. Needless to say, the Hungarian brand designed by Sandra Sandor is definitely having a moment!
Miranda Kerr in a Nanushka top and shorts, as captured by People Magazine in New York City.
The second of the Asian nominees for this year's Woolmark Prize hailing from Hong Kong is the label ffiXXed, which is the brainchild of Fiona Lau and Kain Picken. With a studio and in-house production team at the base of the Wutong Mountain in Shenzhen, this duo is definitely not your average design team! Originally from Melbourne, the two then travelled to Berlin, where ffiXXed was born. Eventually, they briefly moved to New York before settle down in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. While Kain comes from a fine art background and Fiona from a design discipline, the two work seamlessly together to create a unisex collection with localized production values. Their excitement about being nominated for this year's Woolmark Prize is infectious and we're confident that their enthusiasm will be aptly reflected in their designs.
ES: Tell us a little bit about how you work together.
F: We come up with our ideas either separately or together.
K: It's very organic.
F: It's not linear at all.
K: And there's no formula to it. One of the things is that we never actually intended to start working together in fashion and I think because it comes from that starting point, it's not very strict.
F: Maybe I'll come up with an idea and then I'll have to pitch it to him and then I make a small sample and show him, then he gives me feedback and we might change it. It's a lot of dialogue between us.
K: In the beginning, we used to always work together to come up with the initial idea, but now the collections are getting much bigger and we're doing so many projects so it works faster now that we each have our little ball of ideas that we start with and then start to work on it together. Or we might just come up with something and say, "Let's do this."
F: Or we might both at the same time say, "That's terrible!"
ES: What happens if one of you doesn't like the other's idea?
F: I have to really fight for it! I might make some samples to prove to him that it's good. He might then give me some feedback about whether I should continue or not continue. And it goes the same for him. We have to get each others' opinions.
K: If we have two ideas that we can't agree on, we might try to combine them.
F: Or ditch them both.
ES: Is there anything that ends up in the collection that only one of you likes?
K: No. There has to be a level of consensus.
F: Maybe we both like it, but one of us likes it more than the other!
K: There are a lot of factors, but if I really couldn't stand an idea, it would never get through.
ES: Would you say that your styles individually are quite different from each other?
F: There's some general similarity.
K: There's a framework that we work with.
F: Sometimes I think Kane can be a bit quirky, but then sometimes Kane will think my ideas are a little bit more technical than you'd prefer?
K: We both have our different directions and, of course, Fiona comes from a fashion background. I studied fine art.
K: I come from a completely different place.
F: Kane's not so into pattern making.
K: She has more sympathy for it! If you ask me to make a pattern for something, I probably couldn't do it, but I have a general understanding of how it works. I'm not into this idea of overworking the pattern. It's just a way to realise the idea.
F: I'm the same, but sometimes I'm a bit more sympathetic to a more interesting cut.
ES: I think it's interesting because you're a girl and you're a guy and I understand that ffiXXed is largely unisex.
K: Well, we do both men's and womenswear.
F: When we started and we were living together, we didn't have that much money and I would always wear Kane's clothing and I like to wear oversized. We just thought, "Why make two sets of clothing when we can just make one!" And I'm into quite masculine clothing.
K: So it works quite well and a lot of the pieces can be work by either men or women equally, but we do do some more dedicated womenswear pieces.
F: Just a few.
K: And maybe there's a piece in the menswear that needs to be adapted a bit to make it more wearable for a women.
F: Our sizing goes from XXS to L, so if a women's shop comes in to buy, they might buy a piece in XXS to S, but a men's shop will buy M to L.
K: I think it's not actually that difficult to navigate.
ES: So tell me about how you met.
F: In Melbourne, the social scene is really small if you're into design, music, fashion, etc., you go to the same venues and Kane was working with a friend of mine, and his twin sister went to school with me, so that's how we became friends.
ES: And how did ffiXXed come about?
K: That was when we were living in Berlin.
F: When we were in Berlin, I was doing an internship with a label and Kane was working at a gallery. Kane got invited to be a part of Art Rotterdam and he wanted to make some fabric sculptures and he thought it would be a good opportunity for us to make it together, and he didn't want to be "Kane Picken and Fiona Lau" so we just made up any word to be under this title, so that's how it happened.
K: That was the first time we ever used the name ffiXXed. We enjoyed working together and it developed from there.
F: We started in clothing sculptures and we developed the line from there. Then we decided to come to Hong Kong and do it more seriously, but keep it still under the banner of ffiXXed.
ES: So why 'ffiXXed'?
F: Well, that was because Kane was doing these 'X' paintings at the time...
K: And I always thought it was strange how your email was Fiona Lau, but "Fiona" with two F's.
F: In the beginning, really, the project was not that serious so we just thought, "Oh, just choose a name."
K: But that's the beautiful thing about making something up because it invites all these other meanings to come to it.
ES: Tell me about the ffiXXed brand. How are you different from the other nominees?
K: I think we have a different approach to fashion; we're not particularly interested in the glamourous or sexy side of fashion or any super conventional idea of fashion. I think we come from a more conceptual point of view, in terms of the ideas, but in terms of the designs we come from an everyday basics idea.
F: It's classic, with a difference. For example, Kane today is wearing these jeans, but it's a trouser on the other side, but if you reverse them they become a classic trouser. Combining different fabrics. We don't want to make it crazy, because that's not what we do. We want to keep it within the framework of clothing you can identify, but subtly different.
ES: Will you continue with this approach for your collection for Woolmark?
F: We have two avenues we're working towards; one is that we're trying some knitting.
K: But working with surface patterns with the knitting. For us, the fabric has to be champion of the piece.
F: We don't want it to be too complex. We want to see the wool. Not a design that could be made from any other fabric, because then it wouldn't be utilizing the special characteristics of the wool.
K: Keeping it simple is really difficult! The temptation is to become more technical.
ES: What's your concept of 'simple'?
K: Not simple as in dull or plain, but simple as in not a labour-intensive idea.
ES: Do you think then for this prize you need to push it further?
K: We've been given now these opportunities and contacts to work with new yarn suppliers, so we have this opportunity to do something that we wouldn't ordinarily be able to do. But we don't want to do something that wouldn't fit in our next collection. We want to explore techniques, fibres and fabrics that we wouldn't ordinarily be able to do.
ES: Have you worked much with wool in the past?
K: We have.
F: We've always worked with wool from the very beginning, because we work with a lot of natural fibres, but we haven't done that much machine knitting and we also didn't know that much about it. Coming into this competition, we've be able to learn a lot and visit a lot of factories, so it's been really great. Even the different approach to thinking about construction and how knitted fabrics go together as opposed to how woven fabrics go together. It's a lot of learning!
ES: I can tell from your energy that you're truly excited about all this.
F: Yeah, for sure. We're such nerds! When they said we would be visiting this yarn factory in China, we were so excited and I don't think anyone else was that excited by it!
See more from ffiXXed here.
The Woolmark Prize recently announced its Asian nominees in Hong Kong at The Fringe Club on May 7th, including two Hong Kong-based designers, PLOTZ and ffiXXed. At the nomination ceremony, we had the opportunity to sit down with PLOTZ designer Singchin Lo to learn more about his design aesthetic, initial ideas on his approach to his upcoming Woolmark Prize collection and his thoughts about the Hong Kong fashion scene. Singchin Lo is a quintessential Hong Kong boy; he was born here, he grew up here and he studied fashion design here at the Polytechnic University. Having initially begun his studies as an engineering major, Singchin Lo is very interested in the technical properties of fabrics and textures, often aiming to create new and original textiles from plain fabrics sourced in China and Hong Kong. Hallmarks of his design include detailed patchwork and silhouette contouring techniques, making his designs incredibly female-friendly.
ES: How is your collection received in Paris at Tranoi Louvre each season?
PLOTZ: Actually, it's the third time I've been to Tranoi, before that I went to Atmosphere twice and also Rendez-Vouz three times, but now they're closed already. I've been showing in Paris for almost 10 seasons. At the beginning, the collection was less commercial. The label is called "PLOTZ" which means something that creates excitement. At first, I just wanted to do a small collection in a funky style, in Hong Kong. That's how I started. In the beginning, I did anything I wanted to do, I didn't focus on any commercial areas. Then, because the first season I went to the Paris trade shows, I didn't get many orders, so I started to learn how to balance my design and the market. Mostly, people think my work is original with a lot of craftsmanship.
ES: One of the things I've read about you a lot is that you're very conscious of the female body and working the clothes around the female form. Tell me about that. What kinds of materials or shapes do you think look best on a woman?
PLOTZ: Actually, what I start with is always from the fabric. I like texture. Each season, I like to redefine fabric. I always think that if I can design some new fabric, then the design will be original. It's about the texture or some kind of new interesting feeling of the material. After I have designed some interesting texture, I will try to think, "Which part should I put this on the body?" For example, [for one of my designs], the original fabric was made from circular patterns of lace, but then I tried to play with it with some pleating. I do a lot of inverted pleats; inside the pleats, I put a stud, so when you move, the pleat expands and you see the studs. We have to pleat, then sew and put every stud on by hand. This is how I work with my designs; I love texture. I love plain fabrics, then I play with it and I make some original fabric. Then the design can be original.
ES: A lot of work goes into your pieces; how to do you deal with expensive costs?
PLOTZ: Actually, I think it's not that expensive, not like Europe. We have the benefit of China; skillful, experienced workers who are not as expensive. The sample is done in our studio in Hong Kong and then we give the mock-up to the factory to finish the sample for us. Factories in China are all about money. Money can solve your problems! They don't know how to design; they just think, if the design is too complicated, they always deny to help you to produce the sample, so if you talk about money, they say, "Okay, I can do it for you!" But, actually, it's good, because we have a stable relationship with the factories and we hire their pattern-makers and sewers for our own production, so they like to help us to do small quantities and complicated designs for us.
ES: Now that you've been nominated for the Woolmark Prize, what's the next step for you?
PLOTZ: My ideas always changing! After watching the movie [about last year's finalists], my ideas have changed; they seem not enough! I have to revise, improve and add some more ideas.
ES: What are you thinking about right now, for your Woolmark collection?
PLOTZ: I want to stay true to myself and try to express myself through the use of the wool to make some designs that I like. I think it's all about texture. I hope I can make some interesting texture. With the contest, one of the requirements is that it has to have commercial value, so it can't be too creative. I have to think about the production side, as well. Balance.
ES: Your work is very creative; do you think that one of your biggest challenges will be finding that balance between creativity and commercial value?
PLOTZ: Always. Nowadays, fashion is too fast. Although you can do some commercial clothing, it won't be for sure that you can sell, because H&M, Zara, Topshop, they are selling very trendy, cheap clothing. It's difficult to design commercial and original clothing.
ES: I understand that you designed a bag that was very popular in Hong Kong. The fringe bag. Tell me about that bag.
PLOTZ: How do you know about that bag! Yes, the fringe bag. I love texture and I was thinking, "Why can't thread be fabric?" So I used threads to create a fabric. That's where I started. For that bag, I wanted more people to be able to use it. I think it is a bit crazy for people if they work a lot of fabric like that on their body, but for accessories, like bags, they can be more bold and unusual. I thought a bag is the best item for me to try this interesting fabric. Actually, I just wanted that bag to get noticed by people so they would know our label so, for that bag, we didn't earn a lot. The price is very reasonable for a lot of work. That bag was very trendy, there were lots of colours you could choose, like neon colours. Trendy colours. It's a "calculated design"! That's why a lot of people could use it. People thought it was interesting and started to know our label more. When it started to get more and more popular, I started to become afraid that people would copy our design, so we haven't continued to include this bag design in our next season.
ES: How do you think that your designs are different and unique to the rest of the Asian nominees?
PLOTZ: I don't know, because I don't try to be different to others. I just try to be myself. I only know about one of the other [nominees] called Sibling. It's from London. I know that label, the rest of them I don't know! And I know [fellow Woolmark Prize nominees from Hong Kong] ffiXXed.
ES: Working in Hong Kong as a designer, do you think that the environment is supportive?
PLOTZ: Not really. I think Hong Kong fashion designers are not admired by the Hong Kong people; maybe they will think China designers or Thai designers are good, but not local designers, because -- I don't know why! Maybe Hong Kong is too trendy and commercial. I don't know why. They'd even buy a Thai fashion designer label rather than a Hong Kong fashion designer label. To me, it's difficult, because I studied here. I am not from London's Saint Martin's. I'm just a Hong Kong boy and I don't have the value for people to look into here. That's why I try to use my collections to speak for myself. My clothes sometimes are not really wearable, because I want to do something that is really individual and original; Hong Kong fashion, in Hong Kong.
ES: Have you used a lot of wool in the past at PLOTZ?
PLOTZ: Not really, because I source in Hong Kong and China and here wool is a very quality and luxury fabric. I don't have much to choose from. And, actually, our target audience is mainly from the Middle East and in Hong Kong or other Asian countries, so the weather is not very cold and I can't use a lot of wool for my colletions. The main focus of our label is not wool.
ES: Will that be challenging for you, to use more of this wool for the Woolmark collection?
PLOTZ: Yes. I have to be like a student and go to the bookshop to research how wool is produced, how it can be used, the properties of wool, felting, merino wool, knitting, I have to study all of this so that I can get more ideas about how to use it.
See more from PLOTZ here.
See more from the Woolmark Prize here.