On the heels of New York Fashion Week, from atop L.A. Live’s Conga Room, Sue Wong, the West Coast’s divinely designing doyenne unveiled her Spring 2013 Collection. Actor Thomas Jane introduced the presentation with a preface foreshadowing the evening’s promise, “Never lose the opportunity to see something beautiful…” But not so quickly—before the models sashayed down the catwalk an event at the famed Latin supper club would be incomplete without a live musical conga trio performance, of course, to open the intimate runway show.
“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” The quote taken from an excerpt of Henry David Thoreau’s journal dated January 5, 1856 more than hinted at this season’s inspiration. For Spring 2013, Sue Wong referenced the nineteenth century school of literary transcendentalism and its greatest leaders, contributors, and proponents. Henry David Thoreau (and fellow influential poets and essayists) Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman whose works were deeply contemplative and representative of spiritual and natural elements provided a literal origin for the presentation’s elegantly embellished eveningwear. According to the liner notes, Sue Wong’s Spring Transcendent Collection was inspired by their reverence for the sublime and divine of the natural world—from the morning frost to a field of flowers, even a single blade of grass. Gowns and cocktail dresses were personified in lush green, cerulean blue, frost white, and soft pastels; they were adorned with organza petals, cascading vine embroideries, and floral appliqués, evocative of the beautiful, magical and transformative properties of spring. Drop-waist dresses, tiered skirts, and scalloped hemlines felt decidedly nostalgic, while the beading, embroidery, and feather details heightened the glamorous Hollywood Regency effect.
Ms. Wong has long-favored a 20’s aesthetic, but beyond The Great Gatsby and Art Deco signature silhouettes, she carries on that legacy of refinement and sophistication—here reinterpreting literary prose into a sartorial incarnation harkening back to a bygone era, resplendent with sparkling statement jewelry (courtesy of Vilaiwan Fine Jewelry) and fanciful headpieces. Spring is a time for rebirth and reinvention, so it’s no wonder that the designer chose a subtly serene palette, delicately feminine shapes, and romantically intricate design details to illustrate the botanically-themed collection. What I find more compelling and intriguing is the philosophical context. The Transcendental Movement was founded on the principals of self-reliance and individuality with a philosophy which sought to look beyond the surface, focusing rather on the human mind, form, and spirit—arguably, the figurative seed planted for the conception of this collection feels paradoxical because often the industry is unfairly belittled for being superficial, but the underlying element here actually highlights the visionary impetus and intention of fashion, which is to act as the ultimate form of self-expression!
As for beauty notes, the Napoleon Perdis Team created an equally dramatic look to complement the series of cocktail frocks and gowns, with a strong brow; smoldering, kohl-rimmed, cat-eyes; and a deeply crimson lip. Laurent Dufourg for Prive Hair Salon pulled the hair up in an elegant chignon, which was not only well-suited for the feathered head pieces, but allowed the jewelry, design details, and handwork to take center stage. My favorite looks rom the Sue Wong Spring 2013 Collection included: the champagne v-neck gown with beaded torso, ruffled petals, and ostrich feathers; the blush strapless beaded and embroidered ball gown with ruched bodice, and three- dimensional raw-edge mesh flowers; the platinum beaded bodice gown with pleated fan-scallop detail; the rose strapless column dress with beaded and sequined scallop detail; the taupe strapless dress with embellished torso and skirt with ruffle and ribbon detailing; and the black v-neck short dress with cross strap and beaded soutache embroidered skirt.
Divided into ten distinct vignettes: Dawn, Emerson, Spring Frost, Thoreau, Halcyon Daze, Dusk, Spring Blooms, Walden Pond, Midnight Romance, and Transcendence, the collection’s 73 looks were the perfect precursor to the holidays and, more importantly, in the City of Angels, Awards Season! In fact, I caught up with actress, television host, and fashion mode (the stunning) Eva Marcille post-show who is not only a great admirer of Sue Wong’s but was also pre-shopping the runway for the upcoming red-carpet season. One thing’s for certain, with so many exquisite gowns, she’ll be hard-pressed to choose only one or two or…
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