With FIDé Fashion Week’s recent announcement to feature an inaugural gala ball of the Asian Couture Federation (ACF), my interest is piqued and I just have to check out the designers that have been inducted into this organization. ACF has been formed to promote the rich creativity and talent of Asian couture and its designers (similar to the esteemed Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, which protects French Haute Couture). Being Asian-American with design aesthetics that are primarily driven and influenced by my American education, I’m always curious to find out more and study the beautiful works of designers here in Asia as it offers me a broad look at social and cultural trends as well as different perspectives.
Four of the designers that are currently senior members at the ACF whose work caught my eye. They are: Guo Pei (China), Sebastian Gunawan (Indonesia), Lie Sang Bong (South Korea) and Michael Cinco (Dubai). In particular, I’m seriously frothing at the mouth from the gorgeous bridal designs by Michael Cinco (and I’m nowhere even near “wedding” mode, ie. that feverish mode of hunting for the dress). The superbly over-the-top embroidery and lacework in his designs are seriously drool-inducing and I love *LURV!!!* the art direction and styling of his lookbooks.
Without further ado…
MICHAEL CINCO is a Filipino fashion designer based in Dubai. In 2011 he won as Breakthrough Designer in the WGSN Global Fashion Award held in New York where he competed with other international designers from the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and America. His creations have been worn by celebrities like Sofia Vergara, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Chris Brown, Fergie, Paris Hilton, Dita Von Teese, Mischa Barton among others. His eco-couture collection was featured in the America’s Next Top Model.
GUO PEI is China’s doyenne of haute couture. Her work fuses Chinese and Arabic design elements and a strong sense of luxury. Her designs are bold and extravagant that contain Chinese elements of embroidery and traditional patterns blend with modern influences. They are as much art as fashion.
SEBASTIAN GUNAWAN is an Indonesian high-fashion designer known for his sophisticated gowns. After studying fashion in Italy, he returned to Indonesia to establish his own fashion house and in 1993 launched a high-fashion collection called “Sebastian Gunawan”. Throughout his career Sebastian Gunawan has shown evening gowns with grand designs encrusted with beads, crystals, sequins and semiprecious stones, which in turn gave birth to “bling-blingism” for the fashion world in Indonesia.
LIE SANG BONG‘s designs are inspired from the imperial love affair of Napoleon and Josephine, Korean poetry and calligraphy, Cubism, Bauhaus design, and 1930s film noir heroines. Moreover, his designs realize both aesthetic beauty and practical aspect as he pursues combination of real life and culture. In his collection, his works perfectly show structural beauty of women’s silhouette so that feminine beauty is maximally expressed. Nevertheless, they are naturally wearable and provide comfortableness to the people who wear them in their real life. He also harmonizes French fashion and elaborate Oriental aesthetic, creating the totally new and unique design based on the beauty of nature and sophisticated visual characteristic.
I think these four designers are amazing!!! I personally applaud the formation of such an organization – Asian Couture Federation – that curates and celebrates Asian couturiers. As a proud Asian and someone with a creative soul, I get butterflies whenever I see all these gorgeous and tasteful couture creations – no matter how over-the-top and dramatic they may get (visual feast of details, details, details!). I see ACF as a positive addition to the Asian fashion industry as awareness towards more talented designers (specifically couturiers who uphold their high standards and keep pushing the envelope in their creations) will be heightened. Two out of the four designers featured above have already outfitted Lady Gaga before – a testament that Asian designers are gradually but undeniably sharing the spotlight as their American and European peers on an international platform. Get the full scoop on Asian Couture Federation.
Incidentally, the designers mentioned here will be showing at FIDé Fashion Weeks 2013 (have you read my preview article?), so don’t miss this chance to see these designers’ fabulous creations in person. FIDé Fashion Weeks 2013 takes place in Singapore from 9 Oct to 19 Oct 2013.