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Fashion in Hong Kong and China

Hong Kong star Carina Lau is inspired by wearing Schiaparelli

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 June, 2015, 6:02am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2015, 5:29pm

Hong Kong film star Carina Lau Ka-ling has long been admired for her sense of style and elegance, but her recent collaboration with Italian label Schiaparelli has turned the heads of even the most seasoned fashionistas.

At the amFAR Hong Kong charity gala held at Shaw Studios in March, Lau wore a Schiaparelli haute couture coral trompe l'oeil dress, andin so doing became the first Asian celebrity to work with the label. Even with names such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Michelle Yeoh in attendance wearing the hottest designers in couture, Lau's dress stood out and caught the eye of Victoria Beckham, who posted a photo of Lau on Instagram.

In May, at New York's Met Gala, Lau, 49, wore a black and white double silk satin dress that was embroidered with iridescent black paillettes. The theme for this year's Met Ball, the invite-only event organised by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, was distinctly Chinese in celebration of the opening of the "China: Through the Looking Glass" exhibition at the museum.

Lau gushed about her dress to media. "Wearing Schiaparelli makes me feel different from any other brand I wear. In Chinese, we have a saying - 'dress, eat, live, travel'. In other words, what we wear is also a priority."

In the past, Schiaparelli was a favourite with high society doyens such as Daisy Fellowes. But after the original House of Schiaparelli closed in 1954, the brand didn't bounce back until 2007, when the Della Valle family - owners of Tod's, Roger Vivier and Hogan - bought the rights to the brand.

Lau was drawn to the story of Elsa Schiaparelli, the Italian founder of the label who dominated the world of couture with her rival Coco Chanel in the early to mid-20th century.

"I much admire Schiaparelli's aesthetics and her adventurous out-of-the-box designs," says Lau. She points to Schiaparelli being the first to introduce visible zippers to wrap dresses, as well as the lobster dress in 1937 that was made in collaboration with Salvador Dali and famously worn by Wallis Simpson. It can now be seen at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"This style of hers in a way reflects my own. Being different from the rest and making an impact," says Lau.