01 October 2014

STYLE: October 2014


FOOT FAIR
The must-have shoe of the moment is the humble sneaker, and Dior’s Dior Fusion sneaker elevates this utilitarian item to couture levels with its glamourous makeover. By Daniel Goh

Now that sneakers can be worn with just about anything in your closet, lending any ensemble an air of sporty youthfulness, here’s the one sneaker that takes this must-have accessory from the streets to the couture salon – quite literally! With a flourish, we present you the Dior Fusion sneaker, the sneaker to end all sneaker fetishes. These are serious haute couture kicks: After all, they made their debut this year at the Dior Spring Couture runway in January, and have swiftly become a coveted accessory for the blog-and-Instagram-obsessed fashion set. With such a distinctive aesthetic, these instantly recognizable sneakers were designed by Dior’s artistic director Raf Simons, and carries all his design hallmarks, including a contrarian modernity, an incisive elegance and a quirky femininity. The modernity comes from the innovative structure and the futuristic technology combined with the old-school crafts of the haute couture. The beautiful hand-sewn floral embroidery sequins are attached to a hi-tech mesh and represent nothing so much as a clash of different eras; the molded rubber soles are spring this style from the salon to the street in one athletic leap.
What’s delightful is that these sneakers are lightweight and yet durable and there’s a certain ballet pump-neatness to its compact appearance, giving it a dainty, rather than jock-ish vibe. The storied House of Dior bills these sneakers as the perfect balance between couture and practicality, and notes that the floral motifs are a nod to the couturier Christian Dior's penchant for gardens and blooms. The Dior Fusion expresses the current fashion ideology, with this era’s contribution to fashion history being the “mash-up”: Of periods, of genres, of styles and cultures. These sneakers represent this mash-up in its combination of casual running shoes and polished evening shoes, between couture and street.  
“Decorative and extremely feminine,” Simons had said of the Spring 2014 Couture collection, and he might as well be speaking about the Dior Fusion, “I hope women can wear these fashion with freedom, and that they will choose to wear these designs their own way, rather than put false ‘fashion attitude’. The reality of the customer is that you can naturally and casually wear Haute.”

BOX STORY: MAKING OF DIOR FUSION
Dior Fusion sneakers are inspired by the ubiquitous running shoes but re-fashioned with bold innovation. The laces of the sports shoe are removed, and this element takes the “slip on” (sliding) design, so wearing it feels more luxuriously convenient and easy. The Dior Fusion has a more rounded, stylish shape, and are seamless and comfortable. These are true high-tech running shoes made with high-performance fabrics. The soles are composed of four substrates, giving it a more reliable quality and a lighter texture.
Dior Fusion comes from the brand's couture heritage, and features clever embellishments such as ribbons, bows and unique couture embroidery elements; The designs come in a range of cleverly interesting colour combinations, sometimes with bold collision of colour, sometimes blending the same colour, or colours in a perfect match, making an elegant and joyful kaleidoscope for your feet.


27 September 2014

Style Men Magazine/ October 2014


FAMOUS AMOS

With his just-launched eponymous streetwear label, fashion designer Amos Ananda Yeo breathes new life into the local fashion scene. By Daniel Goh

With the considerable determination and certainty of a 25-year old tackling his grand passion, Amos Ananda Yeo, social media darling and fashion figure, has launched a line of some 20 looks under the eponymous label, Amos Ananda. Inspired by memories of living on the streets in his childhood, his designs seem to well from a deeply-felt atavistic reserve: You can see it in the way that he seems to be designing for himself, each piece a reflection of his own need and wants, each look worn by him in frame after frame looking as natural on him as his own skin. In fact, this line of “elevated” streetwear is nothing less than a cloth and leather expression of his personal philosophy. “The brand conveys a style I call ‘SUPERNORMAL’. It is my personal philosophy of choosing to excel beyond the expectations of the ordinary. It is how I live my life,” said the young designer. “If you choose to live life normally, you will never get to see how amazing you can be or what you can achieve. This is the thinking that I have applied to my dressing and style. I guess it’s about being unconventional in a very conventional world.”
This rebellious stance, except for his clothes, is hardly evident in his manner or demeanor. Yeo is unerringly nice in person, polite, mildly spoken and always groomed. Yet, a sense of having had a less-than-privileged start in life marks his confidence with an edge of aggression, and perhaps contributes to the edginess of his designs. Yeo is the eldest of two sons of a single-parent family; his mother brought them up on the takings of a small food business.  
When was the first time that fashion attracted your attention, and how did that lead you to a career in fashion?
I grew up watching football, and have always been interested in the clothes and hairstyles of football stars like Freddie Ljungberg and David Beckham. Growing up in the Choa Chu Kang, I played the game in the neighbourhood streets, and I lived the rebellious street culture. I didn’t choose to be rebellious. It’s innate and it’s a strong influence in my designs. Dressing up came naturally to me, from the age of 9 or 10. I think the need to create cool clothes stems from my childhood. I have always wanted a platform to share my stylistic expression and I chose fashion. Another reason I create is my quest for individuality, authenticity and exclusivity.
At what point did you decide that you will make fashion a career? Why did you decide to study fashion business rather than design?
Since I was little, I have always known what I wanted to do, and that is to have my own label. I’ve never doubted that I would pursue this path. Having just graduated from Raffles College of Higher Education Singapore with a Bachelor in Fashion Marketing and Management this July, I could pursue my fashion business full time, with the blessings of my mom. I studied fashion marketing instead of fashion design because I wanted to learn how to start a business. I designed, conceptualized and created my collection despite having no design training.
What inspires you? And why?
I draw inspiration from sports, tradition and military influences. My muse is anyone that inspires me on any given day. I do not restrict myself to a single muse or role model. Inspiration is that fleeting moment, that adrenaline rush, I have no restrictions.
Why is fashion important?
Fashion is a business but I think that style is more important as it gives you an identity. It is the most important requirement for success in the fashion business. It is something which either you have or you don't.
How different is your line from that of other young designers? Do you think you bring something else to the market that doesn’t already exist?
AMOS ANANDA is an elevated unisex streetwise label that is rooted in modern street sensibilities with a sophisticated aesthetic. All my products are produced in limited quantities. Each item is a limited edition, and comes labelled with the quantity number (eg 7/20) sewn onto the apparel. This ensures the best quality with quality control checks done (by me) throughout the production process. It has a good price point to allow the brand to fulfil its potential, to spread my vision, and to reach a broader market. My second line 7 BY AMOS ANANDA reaches out to those on a tight budget.
What is your brand all about? What is your brand philosophy?
AMOS is my Christian name and ANANDA came from this Buddhist exhibition that I was at with my father and the name struck me and it means the same thing as Amos. Both names mean “messenger” and my label brings a new message about streetwear going luxury. My message is also about doing your best. I want nothing average. It is either good or bad, and I choose the former. I’m completely independently funded, so I have total freedom and control, I have no restrictions. And this is what my label represents.
What are the qualities/ qualifications/ skills that will enable you to succeed in this business?
Each of my products is created with love and passion. When you have the love, you have the drive. When you have the drive, the chances to succeed is greater. In a nutshell, it all comes from the heart.
Who is your customer?
AMOS ANANDA is for people who want individuality. A confident personality who understands the quality of clothing. They want to be themselves. A unique individual who dares to be different. They are sporty, fast-paced and perfectly comfortable in their own imperfections.
What are some of the things that you want to highlight about your collection?
COLLECTION 01 is about functional daily wear with utilitarian detailing. The emphasis is on the shoulders which are padded to heighten masculine appeal. You can expect unconventional approaches such as the layered pants designed as a one-piece, yet looking like you’re wearing shorts over leggings. There is one T-shirt where the hem design adds layering to the outfit. Traditional influences, such as the mandarin collar is offered with contemporary styling. Expect a tailored silhouette infused with streetwear vibe.
How do you work with your pattern makers since you have no tailoring skills?
When you have the heart and the drive, you will see results. I make sure my demands and instructions are communicated across to the shifu who makes up my patterns in Shenzhen.
How did you get started working in fashion?
I did my internship at a fashion event company in 2013 and subsequently worked for them during fashion week. I met many people who helped me get started. Fashion really isn’t glamourous. Behind the glamour is tonnes of work, sweat and tears. When I go to China for my production, I face many challenges. The list is so long that I can’t name it all. But I am grateful to have met many nice people who accepted me, believed my vision, and assisted me to produce my line!
Describe a typical day in your life.
My day begins with replying emails and messages. I always wake up to tonnes of it! I work on anything related to my label in the day and design at night. When in Singapore, I make it a point to stay home to accompany my mum as I often travel for work. I also make it a point to meet my bunch of close friends of over 10 years once a week. Surrounding myself with these level-headed individuals is important because they have always been there for me. Launching the label has been a roller-coaster ride that seems never ending, and time with my friends, at my place, theirs or out for dinners and movies is precious.
Who are the most important people in your life?
My Mum. I love her the most. Her love for me is greater than anyone who can ever have for me.

AMOS ANANDA is available at local select shop Workshop Element, Level 3, Orchard 313.


26 August 2014

MY VERY OWN SAY ON FASHION FAQs

A women's magazine recently asked me to participate in an interview for its September issue and sent me a list of questions. These are the predictable questions, with my unexpected answers.

 Q. What is the must-have/must-try trend this season and why? 
 
A. Everything and nothing. I've long given up on this idea of "must-have" as nothing is really a must-have unless it's lunch. There are simply too many pressing requirements in life to think of any random fashion item as a "must-have." Seriously, what actually happens if you don't have a "must-have"? Nothing. Who cares?

Based on the trends that you chose, please answer the following: Top 3 runway representations of the trend and why you chose these 3 brands.
There aren't actually any "trends" anymore: Everything goes nowadays. In any given season, you can see everything presented as the latest. The trend seems to be that at any one label, they would show a wide spectrum of looks and items to encompass all tastes and styles: The result is that short, long, volume, slim, minimal, print, plain, embellished, matte, shiny, black, colour, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s is well-represented. Show me a "trend" and I will show you the exact opposite - and often from the same collection. Fashion is a market after all, and labels just want sales.
 

Is this a trend for everyone? Why and why not?
 This "trend" of providing something for everyone with a cynical eye on sales is ironically what is detracting from the power of fashion. Because everything goes, nothing is therefore a "must-have" and the pull to buy isn't that urgent. And since everything is '"in" then you might as well just shop your own closet.

What do you like and dislike most about this trend?
I like that this makes fashion very democratic - but I dislike that now everyone is a fashion expert/ style icon. Now everyone with who can afford to buy a studded shoe thinks he's a fashion director - or worse - editor. 

Is this a seasonal trend or do you predict this trend to have a long shelf life? Why and why not? 

Hopefully this doesn't go on for very long - but delusions can last for a whole lifetime. 

How do you suggest to wear this trend for the work week and weekend.
You can wear delusions for a very long time, and everyday of the week if you factor in trips to Seoul to get your face done now and then.
 
Give 2 style tips on how to wear this trend. 
Must-haves to wear this trend convincingly would be to have a Kenzo cap and a new nose/ filler cheeks.   

What are the must-haves to own?
The LOUDEST press samples you can grab at the sample sale and a very developed ego.  
 
What items do you think will sell the best? 

Absolutely the LOUDEST, most-easily recognised items, those things that can immediately be identified on Instagram - things which leave no room for real worth, workmanship or subtlety. 

How do you turn this high-fashion trend into everyday life? Is it possible? Why and Why not? 

Everyone and their sidekick is doing it, so as long as you have an Instagram account you can too. And get that studded shoe!

3 dos and 3 don't when trying out this trend.
dos:
1. Watch Korean dramas and MVs, and learn to do synchronised dancing. 
2. Layer everything loud over everything louder. 
3. Wear the most hideous, over designed shoes.

don'ts: 
1. Think too much - it will crease your brow. 
2. Read. 
3. Pretend that you're human.   
 
Who are some personalities who will wear this trend best? (eg. someone who is a conservative dresser or someone who loves colors etc) 

This trend is for all the poor lost souls who always wanted to be in fashion and now they find they can - after some nip and tuck and now that Instagram has made words redundant.

Does this trend come with rules you should follow or is it best to break any fashion rule with regards to this trend?
There are no more fashion rules - only ego and shamelessness.

22 June 2014

SPRING 2015 MENSWEAR: THE NUDE MEN UNCOVERED

Bottega Veneta

Calvin Klein Collection
This is a lesson in styling: If you look beyond the pale pink/ beige monochrome of these very different collections, you can see that the looks break down to pretty much the same items; I think the germ of the idea of athletic wear is there, also the idea of underwear, the referencing of women's lingerie but styling makes it all so different, and that includes the choice of model. Bottega Veneta's has a ballet dancer's langour, while Calvin Klein's has more of a pornstar appeal.
Bottega Veneta

Calvin Klein Collection

20 June 2014

SPRING 2015 MENSWEAR: Z ZEGNA

I read with absolute dismay that Z Zegna, a label that I loved for so long, for its clear creative vision and beautifully realised designs by Paul Surridge, will now be merged with Zegna Sport to become a rebooted label. The first collection to be codesigned by Mr Surridge and Murray Scallon (formerly the head designer at Zegna Sport), though it tells a cohesive story, looks like it's been designed by committee. It has all the essentials of a second line, "youthful, high-performance clothes that focus on quality materials and slick Italian tailoring." In fact, more clothes that we don't need, not because they don't fulfill the brief, but because the market is already saturated with such-like. What we do need more is beauty and personal vision, not cynical calculation of what will sell.  Do you like what you see?


18 June 2014

SPRING 2015 MENSWEAR REVIEW


What a fresh, eye-opening start to another round of fashion shows and all those fashion tarts are off again on their business flights and cars in the carousel of stale parties and Instagram-ops and what-nots. Did you like Sarah Burton's Matisse collage-suitings at Alexander McQueen? I thought they were sharp and jazzy and Japanese (Comme/Junya, anyone?) at the same time, decorative without being bogged down. The entire thing was bracingly "racy", except for a quartet of looks that had the look of those black-and-red lacquer bento boxes: Too literal a reference to Japan.


It's clearly inspired by Henri Matisse's cut-outs (like this Blue Nude from 1952), which fashion types can see at the exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, at the Tate Modern (on till 7 September) instead of worrying about which samples to wear.