'TRES tai-tai' is how Deborah Stuart (formerly known as Deborah Johnston) describes the new fashion line she has created on the back of the China Max debacle. When the boutique she ran adjacent to the Times Square restaurant was closed down after China Max' sale to the Parkview Group, she teamed up with an importer of European fabrics to create a line of smart, chic and very sexy clothes which she is hoping to sell to local and American retailers. 'They are the sort of things a tai-tai would wear, aren't they?' said Stuart, holding up a black lace bustier.
Stuart has just left for Los Angeles and San Francisco with a suitcase of samples of her neat tailored jackets, flowing satin palazzo pants and pin-striped cuff trousers. Then it's back to Hong Kong to start cold-calling local boutiques and to possibly organise a luncheon fashion show later in the year ... for the tai-tais of course.
Stuart is understandably enthusiastic about her new venture. 'I'm working on something major at the moment and I can't say much more except it's going to be big.' Let's hope this story has a happier ending than the last one.
Ordinary women, extraordinary clothes THE fashion shows organised by the American Women's Association are usually well attended because they often feature 'real' women as opposed to the impossibly perfect ones seen on other catwalks. So if you want to see how the creations of local designers Walter Ma et al look on ordinary women, pick up tickets for the association's lunch or tea show at the Sheraton in September. Other participants include Biba, LuLu Cheung for the Terra Rosalis line, fashion stalwart Diane Freis and Danny Yu for the Danielle Arnoux label. Lane Crawford is also lending a selection of Italian, German and American labels. Tickets, priced at $285 for the lunchtime show and $185 for tea and cake, tend to go fast ... and all the takings, incidentally, go to a worthy cause.
On the runway THERE seems to be a demand for all things ethnic on the fashion front these days with both Thai and Indian designers heading for the territory.
One of Thailand's most sought-after designers will be here next week (June 28-30) for a presentation of his exotic silk creations. Timed to coincide with a Thai festival at the Mandarin Oriental, the fashion show will be the first in Hong Kong to showcase the talents of Nagara Sambandaraksa (known simply as Nagara) described as 'one of Thailand's most innovative and exclusive designers' by that country's Tatler magazine. Specimens from his line are a cross between Issey Miyake and Herve Leger. Not surprisingly, Nagara learned some of his techniques from a Miyake fabric designer.
And Bombay-based couturier Tarun Tahilani will be here later this year. A rising star on India's fashion scene, Tahilani made news recently by being commissioned to design the dress for Jemima Goldsmith's wedding to Pakistani cricket star Imran Khan this week in England.
All this exotica makes rumours of autumn catwalk shows in Hong Kong by Christian Lacroix and Thierry Mugler seem positively lacklustre in comparison ...