Happy Chinese New Year – A style for centuries…
Happy Chinese New Year! (Now try saying it in Chinese…)
Look closely, and you’ll see traditional Chinese costuming details peppered throughout designer collections season to season, some subtle, some not so. In a world of florals, stripes and checks, ‘Chinoiserie’ – a decorative style used throughout Western furniture, architecture and fashion; characterized by the use of Chinese motifs and techniques is an iconic influence, unwavering for centuries.
February 5th marks the Chinese New Year, bringing with it 2019’s brand new zodiac: the pig. In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth, while their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune too.
Similarly, a symbol of good luck and wealth, the Chinese tradition of dress goes all the way back to the Northern and Southern dynasties. Tradition meant showing off new clothing whilst paying visits to friends on New Year’s Day and in the Republican period, beautiful new clothes were required as the youth paid their respects to the elders.
The Spring Festival is a time of change and new beginnings. Practically every activity during the Spring Festival has the purpose of removing the old and welcoming the new – think Marie Kondo’s KonMari mantra of ‘Does it spark joy?’ when having that long avoided wardrobe clear out! Forget about the misfortunes and be ready for good luck as new clothes are auspicious set to protect from evil spirits! (What better reason to update the wardrobe this month!?)
Even fashion powerhouses are embracing the Chinese New Year spirit, Gucci is paying ode to the animal with a special pig-inspired capsule collection, casting the cutest tiny piglets as stars of the show. Giorgio Armani has launched their Chinese New Year collection too, the colour red which symbolizes good fortune and joy is used throughout, along with an accompanying beauty range.
When it comes to wearing Chinoiserie, less is more. Subtle influences make for the most impactful looks. If a mandarin collar feels a little too much, try an embroidered pair of shoes instead. Instead of saving silk pieces for evening, try dressing them down for daytime chic – a printed blouse with jeans or silk trousers or slip skirt with a cashmere jumper, both cosy and right on trend! – all while nodding respectfully to the centuries-old style…