Monday, May 9, 2016

Ryan Lo // Fall 2016 //

Only a certain type of designer can produce 19 looks and command a runway show over a presentation. Ryan Lo is one of them. He took over the BFC Show Space at Brewer Street Car Park—enlisting the help of Gary Card to make over the sterile setting, enlivening the white walls and grey floors with purple arches, replicating Chinatowns globally. Born in Hong Kong, Lo was keen to explore his roots and did this, naturally, through pop cultural phenomenons and nostalgia. ‘Travel the Road Less Taken’ it was called. Printed at the top of the show notes was a lyric from Mulan: “who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? When will my reflection show who I am inside?” 

The Ryan Lo girl is quite distinct. There’s no doubting her self-assuredness in her kitschy, fun dress sense. But like many things, there’s always a jigsaw piece missing. (That’s not to diminish his brilliant work until now). Referencing your roots is the piece that Lo was missing. From exploring ideas of Hong Kong—a romanticised former British colony—to the films he watched when he was younger. Those films imbued “noir-ish vibes” and Lo created his own version of an empress. Those darling dresses were fit for a princess. Florals and lace merged, quirky fur jackets were paired with sparkling pinks. Honesty is highly important in fashion. A number of reviewers pointed out that in the wrong hands, a ‘Chinese-centric’ collection would be borderline racist. Luckily, it’s in the right hands and Lo has done something that is both admirable and delightful.

Saccharinity is always present in Lo’s collections, but with flavours of fun and kitschiness you don’t feel like an adult in children’s clothing. There’s a maturity to the majority of things, and even a sexiness to others. The attention to detail is also estimable. There was a partnership with regular collaborator O Thongthai, who created the jewellery for the show. Heavily detailed above the ankle boots were worn or heels with socks, of course accented with pom poms. 

“Ryan is riding high on the seas of change to prove he’s a force to be reckoned with,” completed the press release, printed on pink paper. Ryan Lo doesn’t have to prove he’s a force to be reckoned with, in my opinion. People should accept that he is and bask in the dreaminess of this fantastic collection. 
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