Hong Kong designer adds traditional opera culture to couture

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 August, 2008, 12:00am

It's hard to tell whether style-maker Dorian Ho Kwok-ching is in the Luxury Week schedule because the organisers really liked his designs or just because they wanted a token Hong Kong name in the lineup. Burying his show in a Wednesday early afternoon slot (instead of one of the higher-profile evening slots) didn't bode well for attendance, but give the local designer marks for effort.

In addition to creating a Peking opera-inspired collection, he treated the audience to afternoon tea with dim sum and a show that began with face-changing opera artists and acrobats tumbling across the catwalk.

'This is the first time I actually feel pressure because people have high expectations in this fashion week involving so many top international brands,' Ho, whose models appeared with opera-style painted white faces and feather-horn headgear, explained after the show. Like most Hong Kong people of his generation, Ho wasn't much of a fan of Chinese opera growing up, but learned to appreciate it after researching it for this set of couture.

'Most young people are not really into Chinese opera but they find it fascinating when I put it in a fashion show. At least they are willing to listen to it now ... As a Chinese designer, I believe I should shoulder the responsibility to bring forth Chinese culture to the international stage.'