On my first day off holiday, I walk into my house expecting to find it immaculate and spotless as always. However, to my surprise I walk into large heaps of my mum’s clothes, scattered throughout the house. My lovely house was turned into complete chaos with clothes laying on couches, hanging off bedposts, and dangling from chandeliers. Apparently, it was my mum’s annual summer cleaning, which meant disgorging her closet of old and unwanted clothes. As I brushed aside these so-called “outdated” outfits to retreat to my room, some pieces caught my eye. Many of my mum’s unwanted outfits soon became my most coveted treasures. Among my golden finds were a Patrick Kelly tweed jacket and a 1980’s Diane Von Furstenberg iconicwrap dress, which was actually more like a kimono with its mandarin collar and silk knot buttons (cheongsam). Though my brother said I looked like I was dressing up in a Mulan costume for Halloween, I embraced this oriental influenced, silk Furstenberg wrap and wore it out that night.
After wearing my 1980’s Furstenberg kimono and receiving multiple compliments, I decided to look for other oriental inspired clothing. I found that the runway for F/W 2013 is reaching out to the East by incorporating bold chinoiserie motifs and ornate, Eastern style shoes and jewelry into their looks. Although this oriental inspired fashion trend exudes notions of the ancient, the mysterious, and the exotic, it also attaches itself to modernity with its androgynous, sleek, and geometric look. Thus, the key to pulling off this oriental fashion trend is to mix it up with Western or modern accessories, so that you are not mistaken as a dressed up Geisha headed to a costume party
The Orient has shaped the collections of a number of designers including Just Cavalli, Prabal Gurung, Carven, and even, astonishingly, Ralph Lauren. Prints including both rich brocades and simple printed cottons are a large part of this trend. Moreover, mixing these prints boldly and fearlessly is an essential aspect of this Orient craze on the runway. Dries Van Noten’s collection is the epitome of exotic with elaborate dragons, flowers, and cranes adorning everything from pants to dresses to panels on coats. Similar to my Furstenberg wrap, Issa has experimented with both bold, blockish florals on wrap-style robes and with iridescent, lustrous Oriental print dresses. While, Jen Kao was inspired by the lotus and replicated the majestic flower in prints on dresses, cropped pants, and robes. Osman opted to go with a more conservative take on this trend by not letting the oriental prints dominate the entire outfit but by having them modestly grace the lining of skirts, inside shirt cuffs, and across collars.
My must-have accessories that exemplify Eastern elegance include the scroll fan clutch from the Ralph Lauren Collection, the carved wedge sandal from Emilio Pucci, and white gold earrings with diamonds and carved mammoth tusk from Bochic. These elegant accessories with an Eastern take would look lovely with a LBD or a slightly oriental inspired outfit such as the outfits in Osman’s collection. I highly recommend experimenting with this opulent orient trend of F/W 2013. Embrace brocades with oriental patterns, kimonos, mandarin collars, silk knot buttons, tassel earrings, silk sashes, and even orchids in your hair (just not all at once please; your not trying to become a Geisha here), and you will be surprised by how many compliments you receive.