Patchy fashion week needs a good ironing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 January, 2012, 12:00am


Last week marked the beginning and end of Hong Kong's fashion week. Didn't realise? You weren't the only one. Amidst an otherwise dull week, a highlight was the glamorous Fashion Extravaganza, with its line-up of independent international designers.

London's Craig Lawrence, Paris' Risto Bimbiloski, Shanghai's Qi Gang and Hong Kong's own Hidy Ng had their designs modelled by Grace Yu, Mikki Yao, Ana Rivera and Emma Xie. The evening focused on avant-garde knitwear, ethereal evening gowns and outrageous costumes. Past talents have included designers like Manish Arora and Guo Pei, which just goes to show the event's potential.

At the Young Designers Award, Mak Chuen Chi won a cash prize of HK$30,000, a scholarship for a design course in Denmark and an internship in Tokyo with Atsuro Tayama.

A few outfits from the competition bore a suspicious resemblance to McQueen, Chanel and Louis Vuitton looks from recent seasons. But it is still a great way to support local talent. The second half show featured previous winners' new labels, and was an uplifting reminder of how far these winning designers can come with the right guidance.

The other events largely flew under the radar. I spent the longest half hour of my life at the first International Fashion Designers' Showcase on day one, which was so badly curated, it wasn't even worth the taxi fare.

Those who see this week-long event as largely a trade fair, dealing mostly with mass fashion and accessories, won't be disappointed.

Exhibition outfits ranged from the good, the bad to the ugly, from elegant gowns to supremely tacky dresses that begged for a bonfire.

The potential of this fashion week has never been maximised, despite the Trade Development Council enlisting experts like photographer Wing Shya to sex up some events. But if this fashion week wants to compete with others - and we aren't talking Paris or Milan but rather Sao Paolo or Mumbai - it must address this disconnect and ramp up the style stakes. It should engage with local retailers like Joyce, I.T and Lane Crawford, and more industry VIPs.

If the TDC can get the city to pool its formidable resources and channel its insatiable appetite for fashion, the future can only get brighter.