Night of Fashion: Then and Now


The Young Associates of China Institute, a newly organized network of young Chinese students and professionals hosted a night of emerging new talent for their event “Night Of Fashion: Then And Now” last Wednesday at the Chelsea Cue Art Foundation. The artists represented were: Ann Yee, Arbitage, Cody Sai, Janet Zheng and Ken + Dana. The show began with a look back at the history of traditional Chinese costume, from the Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 256 VC) to the Early Republic (1900 – 1912) to the present day. Elaborate headdresses, wide sleeves and opulent gowns in brilliant jewel colors of red and gold reflected a time when government officials were recognized by the width of their belt or Manchurian princesses by the cut of their box-like dresses and head decoration. Fast forward to today, and we’re offered a glimpse into the collections of 5 young Chinese-American designers, each showing about 6 looks that was representative of their line. First up was Cody Sai, a graduate from Pratt. Mr. Sai focused mainly on classic looks of nude, black and white dresses, pleated skirts and asymmetrical cuts. Designer Janet Zheng introduced us to her menswear line, clearly ready for winter with slouchy trousers, trench coats and warm knits. Arbitage is the menswear label of Alan Chan and Manoj Dadlani, which specializes in the perfectly fited dress shirt and already has a following at Fred Segal, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Ken + Dana are a jewelry designing duo that specialize in body decoration and unconventional ways to wear them. Their aesthetic has regional roots in Maine, Hong Kong and Brooklyn. A designer of note was Ann Yee – we immediately took to the elegant grey silky jumpsuit with small buttons on the back and front as well as the double paneled pink and khaki blouse worn with linen pants. Both covetable items. In a wonderful play of texture, she draped a braided knit scarf across a white blouse which looked both haphazard and deliberate. The effect made the accessory seem a part of the blouse, as if woven in. The contrast was unusual.
The night ended with cocktails and mingling and voiced congratulations. We hope to see more of this newly formed association that is committed to the young designers in the Asian community.
—Jeanie Kwak
Photos by Stevyn Llewellyn
See images from the event below.

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