Simple shapes and styles for the non-conformists

YOUNG and independent professional women will find a new range of stylish easy-care clothes in 'Freis Spirit', the autumn-winter collection from Diane Freis, one of Hong Kong's best-known designers.

With a range to choose from, the outfits are a further expansion of the fashion-forward approach adopted in the summer when the first Freis Spirit collection was launched.

The label was designed to appeal to the Asian consumer seeking designer clothes at affordable prices and is now retailed exclusively at eight of the Diane Freis boutiques.

'The response to our summer collection was positive and I feel confident that the time is right to launch Freis Spirit,' Ms Freis said.

With tweed jackets retailing at $1,500, vests and pants at $895, and 'teddy bear' knits at around $1,200, the designer look can be achieved without paying brand-name prices.

'Each item from our day and evening wear can be combined to create a versatile wardrobe that will take a fashionable woman from the office to the weekend,' she said.

Natural earth tones and forest green, wine and brown, form the cornerstone of the collection that emphasises natural fibres.

'Keeping current with the latest fashion is important in Hong Kong where there is a strong awareness of changing trends. We have retained the natural elements that were so popular this summer and developed them through to a wearable autumn wardrobe that offers a unique element,' Ms Freis said.

Simple shapes and styles take full advantage of the eclectic textures as unconventional mixes are patch-worked together to create outfits that reflect changing lifestyles.

'The textured, layered look is important this year. We have taken top-quality European fabrics and fashioned them into exciting pieces that can be worn in a variety of ways,' Ms Freis said.

Throughout the collections classic styles are given new life; short tailored jackets can be worn over long, loose blouses making a practical fashion statement; long A-line skirts are as much in evidence as short skirts.

Weekends see big, loose over-sized jackets, sweaters and pants.

'You don't have to conform - you can co-ordinate my new pieces with your existing wardrobe and express your own personality,' she said.

Freis Spirit retains the glamour of the catwalk but translates it into comfortable outfits that meet everyday needs.

Lightweight fabrics such as wool yarn made from 100 per cent merino wool, which has been loosely woven to achieve a finish reminiscent of a boucle, and luxuriously soft wool crepe add comfort to style.

'Velvet is a key evening theme and we have worked it into contemporary 'dandy' styling so that a long evening vest looks terrific, whether its worn over or under a jacket,' Ms Freis, said.

Cigarette-style pants are as fashionable and nostalgic as the elegantly chic long skirts.

'Next spring, I am planning to launch my new Travel Knits collection made from textured rayon that offers the same wear-and-washability as the original polyester dress. All you need to do is throw them in your suitcase, and they will look just a good when you take them out,' she said.