Looks like somebody’s been watching a little bit too much Gossip Girl… and Clueless… and Dynasty…
Rumor has it that Chinese favorite, Cho Cheng actually based this season’s look off of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s timeless children’s story, The Little Prince, but I’m not seeing it. To me, it feels more like he heard the 80’s were back and whipped out his Dynasty box set faster that anyone could say Alexis Carrington Colby.
Now, does that look like a very happy model? Mister Cheng sent cadre of sour faced ladies down the catwalk in matching blonde Emo Phillips wigs and equally hideous (often matching) outfits. Regardless of his intentions, I found the wigs downright offensive, and the models totally uninspiring.
Say what you will, I know it seems like an easy job (and I have met many a model who was indeed dumber than a box of rocks), but no matter how tallented a designer may be, his (or her) collection is only as strong as the models who present it, and some of Cheng’s were having trouble with the most fundamental task a model faces — walking in a straight line. As a result, they looked more like bow-legged ostrich chicks than the Blair’s and Selena’s Cheng had no doubt envisioned.
No great loss, though, as his collection totally missed the mark, recreating rather than reinterpreting the hot looks your grantmother wore to the country club back in 1985.
Color: Many in the industry have been known to say that when times are tough, designers fall into two camps: the practical (and sometimes bland), with their wearable, seasonally appropriate colors; And the fantastical (and often visually offensive), with their vibrant pallets of neon escapism. Cheng definitely falls into the latter. Although the collection was grounded in white, ivory, black, and gray, Cheng favored pink, teal, and red, occasionally getting carried away with primary green and yellow. If that weren’t enough, he also dabbled in small houndstooth prints, nubby tweeds, and metallics. Need I say more?
Silhouette: Cheng really embraced the 80’s, with squared, padded shoulders and angular jackets that hit at the hip (peplums and kick pleats were in full effect). Skirts were micro mini, either pasted to the thighs or as full on tutus. For evening, Cheng prefered longer lines, although the emphasis remained at the hips and bust, veering only occasionally for fishtail skirts and giant trains. And did I mention he’s on a one-man mission to bring back culottes?
Hates: Normally I would do my “Loves” first, but I’d like there to be something positive left to end on. Not only did I dislike his collection, I was particularly turned off by two things: the wigs, and the skirts — this picture encompasses both. First of all, Asian models are totally underrepresented in fashion (I’m pretty sure she’s Asian, but what do you guys think?). Despite the fact that we make up roughly 1/6 of the world’s population, there aren’t a lot of us who are 5’10” — it’s not discrimination, it’s just a fact. So if you’re a proud Asian designer who’s found a beautiful Asian model, what on Earth would posess you to cover her look up by slapping a blonde wig on her? This applies to all of the girls, really, but I see so many young Asian girls around SF (especially international students), lightening their hair and doing their eyeshaddow just so, and I find it disappointing. On top of that, Cho Cheng did not design for real women either. White is a classic color — clean, beautiful, virginal… and ,in the form of tights, hands down the fastest way to make your thighs look even bigger! Pair that with a collection of micro minis and hip pleats and you’ve just made enemies with everyone over a size 6.
Loves: Despite my obvious distaste for the collection, there was one outfit I didn’t mind — a mauve satin number with black detailing and a matching swing coat. Unfortunately, it was being worn by Wobbles McGee, whose shoes were either two sizes two big, or whose feet may have been made of Jell-O. No image from Getty on that one, though. I also honesty loved the music — I understood the jet-setting 70’s lady theme and love songs, I just wish I would have seen a different manifestation on the runway. Anyway — here, for your viewing pleasure, is Cho Cheng’s playlist. I think it’s more entertaining than the show itself, but if you simply must watch that, too, you can do so here.