NYC Fashion Week Fall 2011: Vivienne Tam

What: Chinese-native designer Vivienne Tam presented her Fall 2011 collection and we were there to see it all.

What they said: “Fall 2011 is about duality, a balance of new and old, ancient and modern,” the show notes said. “My starting point is the elaborate costumes of [The Kun Opera]. I turn this fantasy into every day wear. The sculptural shapes of the opera are translated, turned into everyday wear in tweed,wool, for both day and night.” Fabrics also included silks and lace in a mix of weights, with silhouettes including water sleeves and opera-caped shoulders. With tassels, fringe and handicraft produced in the clothes with modern materials and methods, the key concept in the collection was subtle opulence.

What we say: Tam’s textures were unlike anything we’ve seen this week, and they were created by unexpected means. Though the patterns were traditional, Tam used softer, cozier fabrics such as wool and tweed to make her chic dresses and skirts, resulting in a look that was new and interesting, but also beautiful and comfortable. It was a tough feat for Tam, but she pulled it off.

We loved the antique-jewel tones and embroidery, and we saw Tam’s inspiration in every piece: her designs mimicked the opera performers’ movements and elaborated costumes, as well as the opera houses’ endearing quaintness. The dramatic designs and layers were chic, wearable and versatile. What more could we ask for from the designer?


Photo credit: WWD