Who is that girl I see?
In a current mood of Scandi clean cuts and cool colours, Ryan Lo only amped up his trademark charm of girlish excess for AW16. Exploring his personal memoirs of childhood heroines and traditional motifs, Lo’s third show since he flew the Fashion East nest was, according to his pink show notes – written by mega-blogger Susie Lau/Bubble – “his most personal yet.” “Reflection” from Disney’s 1998 Mulan was piped into the room at Brewer Street Car Park, and foretold the collection’s vibe before the lights even went up.
Fit for a Queen
This scene was, in true Ryan Lo style, a bizarre mixture: the oriental princess, who is part 90s teen, at a Victorian tea-party. Traditional cherry-blossom florals were spread through the collection and knitted into wool panels on drop waist, A-line dresses, making them more seasonally appropriate. These same wool florals featured on oversize eiderdown overcoats. These puffer-coats in quilted satin with obi belts (pearlised white or scarlet red) were a practical version of an empresses’ robes. Busier micro-florals were downplayed in patchworked red, or feminized in lurid pinks and lilacs. Maxis with spaghetti straps, in bias-cut chiffon or silk satin, were an ode to 90s minimalism – but made more Lo with matching, floor grazing, bloomers worn underneath, or layered with graphic knitwear. The same print and colour was completely transformed in the sheen of organza, layered in busy ruffles in childish mini and midi dresses.
With these dresses came matching footwear – pointed stilettos or drawstring boots edged with fussy frills and even pom-poms. Lo threw in some faux-fur stoles, traditionally worn by “Chinese femme fatales”, but the pop-coloured, animal form they took was far from sexy. Better accessories were the Victorian-school-girl bows worn in models’ hair that trailed down their slender backs, and the diamante necklaces courtesy of a collaboration with O Thongthai. Ryan Lo’s A/W collection was unabashedly and openly kitsch, and this made it more sweet than sickly.