A few nights before fashion week began I was invited to The Sartorialist’s book launch, a super fun party thrown by Coach at the Danziger gallery in the Meat Packing district. I ummed and ahhhhed for a little while about what to wear but in the end settled for a pink paisley dress and matching bag combo (the only evidence of the outfit is here
). Unbeknownst to me the official uniform for that part of New York is black and more black (leather being the black of choice), with grey marl and some denim thrown on top – pared back, edgy and c.h.i.c.Everyone I met was so lovely but I couldn’t help but notice that it seemed I had missed the dresscode memo entirely, and my pink ensemble was so bright and girly that it may have caused people to edge away when they came too close (perhaps a little paranoid of me to think that). Obviously I was unaware of the true gravity of the uptown vs downtown dilemma until I was in the meatpacking district dressed as Blair-Waldorf’s-pokemon love child.Up until that point I hadn’t realised just how influenced by Asia my style has become since moving to Hong Kong (and for those of you wondering I’m half Australian half Sri Lankan, so it doesn’t exactly run in my veins). I’ve obviously taken on board the whole ‘when in Rome’ thing, but no one ever advises of what to do when you’ve ‘Romanised’ yourself (as such) and go somewhere else only to stick out like a sore, pink paisley (not jil sander paisley either – oh the humanity!) thumb.
Most sane people would have changed their approach after this, but I decided to embrace all the quirks (and ‘kawaii’ ensembles) that Hong Kong has bestowed upon me. What’s fashion week for if not to be honest about the way you dress yourself? I didn’t really have anything else in my suitcase anyway (remember?
) so the situation was pretty much decided for me – hairbows, a hello kitty iphone case (literally bounces if you drop it – winning!), a brocade wrap skirt, bright circle skirts and chinese style linen tops all went into the mix. Whilst the outfits I wore to NYFW were all based around DIY (something which I know is close to all your hearts), let’s be honest and recognise the fact that they are pretty much my corner of Asia personified.
Wearing: DIY Brocade Wrap Skirt, Black Linen top handmade in Hong Kong, Zara Heels, Celine mini luggage tote.
Day 1 was the least overt outfit choice, with a subtle asian theme in homage to Proenza Schouler AW12, including the DIY wrap skirt I made for Grazia UK Magazine.
Wearing: DIY Lilac Circle Skirt (like this), DIY Transparent clutch, H&M white top, Tony Bianco Karissa Heels, Coach Navy Hat, Coach gold watch, Necklace given to me by my cousin, Hello kitty iphone case (natch).
Am I the only one with an addiction to hello kitty? What started out as ironic has become a full blown obsession.Maybe it’s something in the water here?
Wearing: DIY Transparent Clutch, Sabo Skirt Matching Short Suit, H&M white peplum top, Necklace bought in Hong Kong, Tony Bianco ‘Alex’ Heels.
I backed up a little on the Asian theme on day 3, although throwing your coat over the shoulders as a cape definitely originated in Korea, and don’t let those magazine editors tell you otherwise.
Wearing: DIY pink Circle Skirt, White linen top bought in Hong Kong, Vintage beaded jacket, Tony Bianco heels, Brahmin Bag, DIY Hair bow (made on the subway on the way to the show!)
Day 4 pretty much topped off my whole dressing like a Kawaii gal. Still going with the ‘coat as a cape’ thing, it’s not as easy to deal with as it may look, you often have your cape fall off when you try to hail a cab.Noticeably, most of the photographers that stopped me were Asian themselves – from the likes of Japanese Elle and Vogue Korea. Could clearly spot a fellow countrymen (or continent-men).You might look at these pics and think ‘she looks pretty ordinary and not that influenced by Asia at all’, in fact I recently asked my friend if I dressed more girly than I used to when I lived in London. She said she didn’t think so but then we agreed that maybe we’ve all swayed a little and haven’t noticed. Maybe you’re in that boat too?
I sometimes wonder whether designers are giving their collections an Asian tone more and more because China is the number one consumer of designer and luxury goods these days (with everywhere else a very distant second). Just a thought.
And just in case you thought I just swanned around at Lincoln Centre doing nothing but feeding my tamagochi and doing ‘v’ signs to the camera, I had the pleasure of attending a couple of shows during the day including Mara Hoffman, BCBG, Tory Burch, Herve Leger, Anna Sui and Diesel Black Gold. More on that soon!
Images: Most by Margaret Zhang
, some also by Bridget Fleming, Wes Mason and Jenni Radosovich