Bowie Wong catwalk show report S/S 2016 for Haute Couture
Sailor Moon crossed with Sesame Street and saturated with bows, Bowie Wong’s latest collection is named ABC123 and is a homage to “young women who create unique ways to style their school uniforms”. It explores childhood and innocence, as well as education and “going back to basics.”
This innovation stems from the 3D-printed fabric, which looks like laser-cut netting and is a tool with which Wong is able to recreate the structure and proportions of his clothing, enabling it to take on theatrical and architectural properties.
Sailor suits and Alice in Wonderland seem to be key influences: nautical stripes, white, red and black were crucial, as well as letters and numbers incorporated into the designs (as detailing on the clothes, placards around the models’ necks and as headdresses).
The collection focuses on these contrasting, simple colours, in bold shapes. There is also an element of cheekiness evident in a white sleeveless shirt and red tutu skirt combination, with life preserver-esque collar and belt (a very literal sailor suit) and a headband with two “2”s as devil horns.
One stand-out outfit is a white, mid-calf, 3D-printed dress with a flared skirt and halved ping-pong balls adorning the upper half. This is accessorised with a casually tied silk shawl and a white headdress that appears to be falling off the model’s head. This ensemble seems to characterise young children experimenting with a dressing-up box that contains a wedding dress, chef’s hat and silk scarf.
The shoes are either white or black loafers, decorated with a satin ribbon and worn over cut-out white and black striped socks, highlighting the theme of childish innocence with a twist.
This is also reflected in the make-up, with pale skin, a touch of silver eyeshadow and a hint of pale pink lipstick. Alison Jade explains her choice of pairing this youthful purity with stark contouring, executed with angular, methodical precision, as a way to make this look “more fresh and more fashion”. The models’ hair is a variation on the ever-present bow theme, but subtly reworked to create intricate French plaits and anime-inspired double buns (what better to pair with mickey mouse ears?).
Wong’s SS16 couture collection fuses traditional geisha style (kimono sleeves and fan headdresses) with an updated Japanese school-girl twist, replete with bows. It is fun, playful and absolutely kawaii.