Catwalks take on Chinese look for fashion week

Updated: 2013-02-08 14:26

By Yu Wei in New York (China Daily)

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New York's spring fashion feast has the Chinese touch.

As many as eight designers of Chinese descent are among the 90 who are showcasing their Fall 2013 collections during New York Fashion Week, which opened on Thursday at the Lincoln Center.

Including Vera Wang, Jason Wu and others, the fashion extravaganza is seen as an opportunity for China to demonstrate its influence on the international fashion scene. The biannual clothing calvacade also will include Anna Sui, Vivienne Tam, Richard Chai, Zang Toi, Monika Chiang and Brandon Sun, all of whom are of Chinese descent.

Wu, who designed First Lady Michelle Obama's evening gown for the president's inauguration festivities last month, will present his line on Friday, followed by Rag & Bone and Helmut Lang.

Photos: 2013 New York Fashion Week

Saturday's program will feature Alexander Wang, unveiling his first collection since France's Balenciaga named him its creative director.

Christina Moon, a professor of fashion studies at Parsons, The New School For Design, in New York, noted that China is attracting interest as a fashion force, as more Chinese-American designers gain international recognition.

"There is an interest among the students to learn about China, to learn about the fashion design that's coming from China, to learn about the production and manufacturing that happens in China," Moon said. The fashion scholar noted that as design schools proliferate in China, the industry's fascination with Chinese-American designers is growing, as well.

Moon's Parsons colleague, Hazel Clark, research chair of fashion, said Chinese-American designers such as Jason Wu are "extremely interesting examples of the diversity" in the fashion industry in the US.

"He and other Asian American designers are role models in a way for people who might come later from the Chinese mainland," Clark said.

The fashions on display will reflect a definite Chinese flair, as designers borrow either from their personal stories or from Chinese history.

"This season I have included a cape in my collection as a nod to my mother's style growing up," said Monika Chiang.

"I have included some very intricate and beautiful patterns in this collection, as well, that have a slightly Asian feel, but in a very modern way."

The designer said that all of her collections are influenced by her travels around the world, including to China, and by her upbringing.

Chiang's fashion collection includes apparel, handbags, shoes, lingerie and jewelry. Chiang opened her New York store last April, following the opening of her first boutique in Los Angeles in 2011.

Her Chinese heritage notwithstanding, Mary Ping said her sportswear and evening wear collections are "neither East nor West".

For Chinese designers showing in New York, with New York being first on the calendar for the season, it provides a platform for international exposure and an entryway into the US, another large consumer economy, Ping said.

Kelly Chung Dawson contributed to the story.