Between the lines

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2012, 12:00am


Wyman Wong Wai-man is the last man in town you'd expect to hear complaining, 'I've got nothing to wear'. The lyricist-cum-fashion maven splurges on collectables and loves to dress his A-list friends in the finest threads.

Ironically, that well-worn complaint is the slogan for his latest collaboration with local fashion house Izzue Collection.

'I think as someone who shops a lot, I am most eligible to say this,' says Wong, at the collection launch party at the Fringe Club in Central.

'No matter how much I buy, when I need to dress up, I always find I'm lacking that one item to pull off the look,' he says.

Whether he's being snapped in the front row of fashion week, featured on hip streetwear blogs or attending 'it' parties in town with fellow celebrities, Wong always dresses to impress.

'I guess every designer has this selfish urge to create something that they themselves long to wear, and I'm no different,' says Wong.

The Wyman x Izzue Collection capsule line covers menswear, womenswear and accessories. 'We started working on the collection more than a year ago and were planning to launch for the party season last Christmas, but it was decided that it was too fancy for the mass market,' he says.

The collection, which Wong describes as an 'already toned-down version' of his original ideas, still cries for the limelight.

He worked with Izzue Collection's design team to create men's denim shirts with lace trims, white shirts with striped neon yellow prints, over-sized capes and mesh trench coats.

The womenswear collection also works the neon look and includes wide-legged chiffon pants, leather biker jackets with mesh sleeves and hems, and hot pink-patched blazers.

Judging by the reaction - at the opening event a number of the savvy crowd were already wearing items from the collection, while others added looks to their personal wish lists during the presentation - Wong should be proud.

Last year, he worked as a celebrity buyer for the I.T boutique in Central's Ice House Street. For the two-week-long YI.T pop-up, he introduced up-and-coming designers Amaya Arzuaga, Walter Van Beirendonck and Olympia Le-Tan.

He has also penned countless fashion columns for local newspapers and magazines, has more than 1.5 million followers on his Weibo microblog, and is one of the most sought-after names on any fashion soiree guest list.

He even walked the runway as a model for Vivienne Westwood's retrospective in Hong Kong two years ago.

Wong's passion for fashion can be traced back to his childhood. Growing up, he was mesmerised by the work of his tailor mother.

'I love fashion because I can break the rules and express myself,' he says. 'There is no formula or logic to it. It's all about being spontaneous and trusting your instincts.'

Wong first made his name as a radio show host in the 1990s and more recently as one of Canto-pop's most prolific lyricists. He's provided words for more than 1,000 songs.

And the well-connected celebrity has even starred in a few films, albeit in comedic cameo roles.

Throughout his show business career, however, he's been recognised - for better or worse - for his calculated, brand-oriented and often over-the-top style.

Concert YY, a show held last month to honour Wong's work and featuring all the Canto-pop heavyweights including Joey Yung Cho-yee, Kelly Chen Wai-lam, Denise Ho Wan-sze and Sammi Cheng Sau-man, had a strong fashion focus.

Wong styled the stars, who turned out in couture dresses from Chanel, Valentino and Gucci, and suits from Burberry Prorsum, Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent.

But Wong says he will have to think twice before getting behind the scenes as a designer. 'I think my current relationship with fashion is the best kind. If I take a step further and get more involved in the design part of it, it won't be so exciting anymore. Now it's still in a pristine state. I'm only doing the projects because I love clothes. If it really becomes business, it won't be so much fun. I have to keep a safe distance from it.'

While Concert YY sold out, he is not planning any similar performances. Wong likes to keep his fans wanting more.

'I think people appreciate the value of something when they can't get enough of it. So I'd rather keep that feeling.'

When it comes to looking to the future, Wong says he's not the 'planning type'.

'You know what, I'm ready to die anytime,' he says. 'It's not like I have so many things left undone. I don't set a deadline for myself to achieve something before this or that year. I just try the best that I can when an opportunity presents itself.'