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November 22, 2017
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A model presents a creation by Chinese designer Guo Pei during Asian Couture Evening on November 27 in Singapore. Source: baltimoresun.com.
From Alexis Mabille's A/W 2012 collection.
Source: style.com.

When thinking of top fashion capitals, Singapore isn't likely to be one of the first names to pop up, but as the bustling concrete metropolis opens its doors for haute couture week, the country is making tangible strides on the style front.

Presented by Fide Fashion Weeks, Singapore's haute couture week aims to bring together the best of international design under one roof from countries as diverse as China, France, Singapore, Mongolia, Hong Kong and Thailand. The week kicked off today with Asian Couture Evening, followed by Japanese Couture Evening on November 28, before finishing with French Couture Week from November 29 to December 2. Haute couture presentations were preceded by a showing of women's ready-to-wear collections from November 23 to 25.

French Couture Week will boast an eight-strong group of exclusive Parisian couturiers, including Alexis Mabille, Bouchra Jarrar and Christophe Josse, each of whom were chosen in close collaboration with the Fédération Française de la Couture and the French government.

Key names attending the runway shows include British journalist Suzy Menkes, renowned Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, President of Bunka Fashion College, Dr. Satoshi Onuma and President of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and one of fashion's most influential figures, Didier Grumbach. Rather than just being open to the fashion's elite, tickets can be purchased by the public for S$48 per show. A certain number of shows, however, will be kept private. 

During the weeklong affair, fashion lovers will be able to get their yearly taste of the latest couture by 17 designers, including notable names such as Junko Shimada, Guo Pei, Thomas Wee, Yiqing Yin and On Aura Tout Vu by Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov. Although many of the collections have already been shown earlier this year in Paris and elsewhere, Singaporeans will now be given a front-row viewing.

...the bustling lion city moves closer to establishing itself as a main player on the influential fashion scene.

Junko Shimada, who can count Lady Gaga amongst her fans, will be exhibiting a bold collection featuring a confident exploration of pattern and colour. In unique contradictions, her ornate flowing garments will include mixes of orange and blue, '80s-inspired flower prints with bursts of bold leopard motifs, vibrant pink damask and check prints.

Alexis Mabille, who started out at Christian Dior, Lancôme and Yves Saint Laurent, first established his own fashion house in 2005 and then his couture line in 2010. His brightly coloured F/W 2012 collection, which is premised on the idea of "women as jewels," earned itself a dissatisfied review from British Vogue after showing at Paris Haute Couture Week in July. Jessica Bumpus wrote for British Vogue that "there was little real cohesion. Mabille had seemingly taken a tour around the world with this collection and we couldn't help but wish he had just chosen one place to visit instead." Given the multicultural line-up at Singapore's haute couture week, it will be interesting to see whether Mabille's collection - and flamboyant designs - will be more positively received.

On the other hand, Guo Pei has repeatedly received widespread acclaim after being named one of China's top ten fashion designers in 1997. Her collection titled "Legend of the Dragon" brings traditional Chinese culture to Singapore through colourful, intricate and alluringly exotic designs that explore traditional prints, detailed hand embroidery and precariously balanced headpieces. With an almost fairytale quality, the garments are, on occasion, more like works of art than fashion pieces. Models in skyscraper platform heels step tenuously down the runway with long trains, wide skirts and huge sculptural accessories adorning their bodies. 

Celebrated designer and guest member of 
Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture,
Yiqing Yin, will show her latest collection.
Source: facebook.com.

Thomas Wee, who achieved the President's Design Award Singapore 2012, has extensive knowledge of the country's fashion industry from a career that stretches over 35 years. Along with being voted as "one of the 30 people who have shaped Singapore" by the CNN Power List in 2011, he was recently referred to as the "king of the jacket" and the "Godfather of Singaporean fashion" at Digital Fashion Week Singapore 2012. With a close relationship to the lion city and with a repeatedly positive reception from his faithful audience, Wee is most likely going to be one of the most popular designers of the week. 

Yiqing Yin, who studied at Paris' Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs, and was recognised in 2011 as an invited member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in France, seems to be the most courageous designer showing in Singapore. Despite the lack of overt theatricality in her F/W 2012 presentation, her use of progressive silhouettes and ethereal patterns appear to be distinctly reminiscent of well-known collections from Alexander McQueen. Whilst her show has a laid-back, stylish Parisian undertone to begin with, there seems little doubt that as it progresses, Yin is attempting to challenge the conceptions of traditional design, shape, material and form in a manner evocative of the late British designer. 

It seems likely, given the multi-dimensional selection of collections and countries on show, that Singapore's haute couture week will gain widespread positive reviews once more. In doing so, the bustling lion city moves closer to establishing itself as a main player on the influential fashion scene, ensuring more big name designers will choose to take their collections to the tropical island in coming years.


For ticketing information please contact info@fidefashionweeks.com or +65 9357 4644. Tickets are S$48 per show.

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