Fashion's top 10 collaborations of 2015
Collaborations have become de rigueur in the fashion industry. Daniel Kong names his top 10 for 2015
Collaborations have become a popular strategy for fashion brands in recent years. Some of the most fruitful and surprising have been with the likes of movie franchises, soft drink giants and technology firms. Paul Smith has co-designed bikes, Vivienne Tam has done hotel suites and architect Zaha Hadid has lent her talents to jewellery.
Locally, Kevin Poon of Clot will do rolling collaborations with Nike for the Hong Kong market.
Here are 10 noteworthy collaborations from this year. Five are characterised by strong designs and partnerships, while the other five are notable for their quirkiness:
Top five "cool" collaborations
Esprit Dior in Seoul
Housed in Zaha Hadid's magnificent Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Dior's recent exhibition not only documents the history of the fashion label, but invites South Korean artists to reinterpret the brand's image. This was done through various mediums, including paintings by Kiwon Park and Heryun Kim. The move provided a sophisticated and localised context to the Dior brand.
Uniqlo and Lemaire
Since his spring-summer 2015 collection served as the swansong for his stint as womenswear creative director of Hermès, Christopher Lemaire has wasted no time in finding other interesting projects. Besides concentrating on building his own eponymous label, Lemaire has delivered a capsule collection of basics for Uniqlo that eschews trends in favour of timeless pieces. We can't think of a better match, especially for the Japanese retailer which champions purity of design compared to fast fashion rivals.
NikeLab and Sacai
Fashion's love of sportswear is turning out to be a long-term relationship. One such collaboration that oozes coolness is NikeLab and Sacai, marrying innovative new materials with killer cuts and high-performance functionality. One example is the tech fleece, which has been reinterpreted into sweatshirts, tops, dresses and sweatpants. Sacai's founder, Chitose Abe, reinterprets Nike's heritage sportswear silhouettes through a feminine and modern lens to create a concise eight-piece collection.
Opening Ceremony and Intel
You can always expect new and edgy ideas to come from multibrand online boutique Opening Ceremony. Its latest buzzworthy move is a collaboration with Intel in the wearable technology sector. The two companies have created the "Mica" (my intelligent communication accessory) bracelet, a device that delivers discreet text messages, Gmail notifications, Refinery 29 horoscopes and appointment reminders. Style, of course, has not been sacrificed: this gadget is made with snakeskin, pearls, lapis, obsidian and tiger's eye.
Cos and Mr Porter
Minimalist fashion brand Cos has caused a bit of a stir with its collection, created in partnership with leading online menswear retailer Mr Porter. Designed with the modern traveller in mind, the menswear collection is inspired by nature and architecture. Customers will find graphic shapes and relaxed fabrics in the smart and minimal aesthetic one might expect from both brands. You'll also find a monochrome palette accented with pops of colour, along with clean lines and silhouettes.
Top five "quirky" collaborations
Irregular Choice and Star Wars
Sci-fi geeks will rejoice with the news that funky British footwear brand Irregular Choice is releasing a collection of shoes in collaboration with Star Wars. The line will feature characters from the film series plastered in a variety of ways, such as on heels, prints and embroidery details. For aspiring Jedi knights, there's even a pair of flashing lightsabre heels. It's no wonder that Irregular Choice has celebrity fans with an out-there fashion style, such as Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry.
Diet Coke and J.W. Anderson
Much like his predecessors Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs, Jonathan Anderson is bringing his creative vision and clout to the omnipresent soft-drink brand. Part of Anderson's collaboration will include a makeover of the iconic Coke bottle, which will be inspired by the knitwear of his autumn- winter 2015 collection. In addition, he will create the designs for two shirts and a notebook.
Sophia Webster and Barbie
Shoe designer Sophia Webster's partnership with the iconic doll Barbie has resulted in a series of nine different footwear styles: six for adults and three for children. As one might expect, there is a lot of pink in the capsule line. And though it includes high heels that are often seen on Barbie, Webster has also created sandals, high-tops and slip-ons for those who prefer comfort.
ASOS and Wall's ice cream
The collaboration between fashion retailer ASOS and Wall's ice cream came at a perfect time - just when Hong Kong's brutal summer hit. The 16-piece crazy collection was inspired by the goodies and treats we know and love, which have been shamelessly featured on steamy hot crop tops, mini dresses, luscious clutches and slip-ons.
Minions and Selfridges It was only a matter of time before someone in fashion capitalised on the popularity of those little yellow creatures that first captured our hearts in 2010's Despicable Me. Selfridges has created a range of Minions-themed products in collaboration with designers such as Giles Deacon, Piers Atkinson and Rupert Sanderson. The collection features the Minions' beady eyes plastered over everything from shoes to beanies and jumpers.