Mrs Obama's designer coming

Naeem Khan's yellow dress worn by United States First Lady Michelle Obama (left, seen with Mrs Lee Hsien Loong) and looks from the designer's Resort 2017 collection (above).
Naeem Khan's yellow dress worn by United States First Lady Michelle Obama (above, seen with Mrs Lee Hsien Loong) and looks from the designer's Resort 2017 collection.PHOTO: REUTERS

Naeem Khan will be among many Asian names at Singapore Fashion Week

Many would remember the brilliant yellow Naeem Khan floral applique dress that United States First Lady Michelle Obama wore to welcome Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee at the White House last month.

The New York-based designer, whose elaborate gowns have been worn by American singers Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez, will be here for Singapore Fashion Week next month.

The annual festival, at the National Gallery Singapore from Oct 26 to 30, will also feature Beijing- based haute couturier Guo Pei, who dressed American pop star Rihanna in a canary-yellow fur outfit at last year's Met Gala.

The designs of Malaysian designer Han Chong, whose feminine lace dresses are a hit with supermodels such as Gigi Hadid and Miranda Kerr, will also hit the festival's main stage at the Supreme Court Terrace.

They will be joined by local favourites including womenswear label Ong Shunmugam by Priscilla Shunmugam and exhibit by Yoyo Cao. Arissa X, Singaporean socialite Arissa Cheo's ready-to-wear fashion and accessories label, will also make its debut there.

This year, the five-day event will have a second stage - Singapore Fashion Week Access, in the gallery's Auditorium Foyer. New to the scene, this platform gives emerging designers the chance to introduce their brands to a wider audience.

Naeem Khan's yellow dress worn by United States First Lady Michelle Obama (left, seen with Mrs Lee Hsien Loong) and looks from the designer's Resort 2017 collection (above).
Naeem Khan's yellow dress worn by United States First Lady Michelle Obama and looks from the designer's Resort 2017 collection (above). PHOTO: JACKIE_ZHANG

Local womenswear brands such as Max.Tan by Max Tan, Aijek by Danelle Woo and Stolen by Elyn Wong will be featured here. So will Chi Chi Von Tang by Lisa Crosswhite, Nude Femme by Adelyn Putri, Nida Shay by Singapore-based designer Nida Tahir Shaheryar and leather shoe label Mashizan by Mashizan Masjum.

This year's event, says Ms Tjin Lee, 42, the festival's chairman, has a heavy focus on Asian designers.

Ms Lee says of last year's edition, which featured British fashion brand Victoria Beckham and American brand Diane von Furstenberg: "Victoria Beckham is great and inspiring, but Asian designers are accessible. Guo Pei does haute couture, Naeem Khan has that red-carpet glamour and Han Chong has very accessible designs and price points for the younger crowd.

"It's not just about Singapore designers, but also showing what this entire region is getting up to."

Noting that many of the Asian designers being showcased this year are based overseas, Ms Lee says she hopes to feature more Asian designers based in Asia in future editions of the 10-year-old festival.

Another highlight is the annual Harper's Bazaar Asia New Gen Fashion Award, which will pit eight regional designers against one another for top spot.

All shows will be accessible to non-ticket holders for the first time through live-streaming on the festival's website at singapore fashionweek.com.

Those interested to get their hands on a design they fancy can do so more easily this year: Selected runway items will be sold at venues including Tang Plaza in Orchard Road. A fair to showcase the designs, Boutique Fairs Singapore, will be held at the F1 Pit Building on Nov 4 and 5.

Five styles from Max.Tan, Aijek and Stolen, picked by magazine editors from Singapore Press Holding's stable of fashion magazines, will be featured and sold online at fashion retailer Zalora.sg.

Ms Elyn Wong, 39, of four-year- old local womenswear label Stolen, is excited about reaching a wider audience. She says: "The festival will bring in a lot of buyers from all over the world and, as Stolen has always been about going global from the start, it is attractive for me to be a part of it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2016, with the headline 'Mrs Obama's designer coming'. Print Edition | Subscribe