Hong Kong vintage fashion exhibition where everything's for sale
Shoppable fashion exhibition by Hong Kong's Joyce and Byronesque, the first of its kind in Asia, will showcase fashion heirlooms dating as far back as the 1970s
Today's shoppers are searching for real luxury in the form of brands and products that honour values such as craftsmanship and heritage. This sentiment inspired local retailer Joyce to collaborate with Byronesque, an innovative e-commerce platform specialising in vintage collectibles, for its latest project.
Histoires, which will run from September 11 to 13, is a shoppable fashion exhibition that celebrates the industry's illustrious history. The first of its kind in Asia, it will showcase fashion heirlooms dating as far back as the 1970s that pay tribute to the artistry of some of the industry's most respected designers. Customers will also have the opportunity to buy the pieces, which have been collated from the world's best boutiques, such as Los Angeles-based Decades, and private collectors.
"We held the first-ever fashion retrospective you can buy in December 2012 which was hosted by Michele Lamy [Rick Owens' wife and partner]. Since then we've been inundated with requests to host another pop-up in NYC," says Gill Linton, founder of Byronesque. "Earlier this year we teamed up with Hotoveli in NYC and Michael Mok, who heads up merchandising at Joyce, came by to see what we were up to.
"Hong Kong is an important emerging vintage market for us because people are starting to move away from their addiction to labels and cultivate an appreciation for the craft and stories behind vintage clothing. We also want to be part of the creative scene that's unfolding there."
Byronesque was founded in 2012 by advertising exec Linton, who was looking for a more meaningful alternative to "fast fashion and outdated nostalgia".
"When I started working with fashion brands at a very high and mid-range level, I was shocked at how banal and generic their thinking was. Byronesque was born out of my frustration with the industry and how it was, and is, becoming less creative," she says.
"Everyone looks like everyone else; most designers' clothes are derivative and on every level the industry seems to exist simply to add more commercial waste to the planet, visually and literally. I wanted to create an antidote to that."
While most vintage retailers choose to set up bricks and mortar stores, Linton decided to launch Byronesque online to reach a wider audience. Partnering with more than 75 retailers in more than nine countries, its curated collection features a treasure trove of rare pieces that have been lent to clients including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In addition to showcasing clothing, the site also functions as an educational platform, with carefully crafted editorials so customers can learn more about the vintage realm.
Many of the pieces available on Byronesque date back at least 20 years with an emphasis on the late '70s to '90s, which Linton describes as "a period of great creative freedom and subculture". Most of the designers featured on the site have made a significant contribution to fashion history and are just as relevant today as they were 30 years ago.
"We specialise in pieces by the most revered and controversial fashion rebels from the late '70s to the late '90s, designers like Westwood, Stephen Sprouse, Comme des Garcons, Yohji, Galliano, McQueen, and so on, whose vintage collections are as - if not more - unique and modern than many contemporary designers today," she says.
The Hong Kong exhibition will feature iconic styles from both past and present that speak to various subcultures and movements that have inspired fashion designers over the years.
There are about 50 pieces on display from brands such as Chanel, Comme des Garcons and Issey Miyake. Highlights include Marc Jacobs' looks from the private collection of '90s supermodel Irina Pantaeva; early McQueen and Margiela; an Alaia leather biker dress worn by Grace Jones; and original punk Seditionaries and Pirate pieces from Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. Also expect some iconic Yohji Yamamoto pieces from Vogue veteran and former Yohji creative director Irene Silvagni.
The pieces will be shown alongside Joyce's autumn-winter collections in a gallery style space so customers can view them up close and personal. Joyce has also created a dedicated lookbook sharing the story behind each piece. Linton's mission, she says, is to do more than just promote vintage fashion.
"I hope that even in some small way we will have contributed to a backlash against today's mediocrity and the preservation of some kind of subculture. We're not borrowing from the past. We're the future of fashion."
Histoires, Pacific House, Queen's Road Central, Sept 11-13, 11am-8pm