Masha Ma’s “Shining Tears”
Last week I went to Shanghai to attend Swarovski’s first Runway Rocks show in China. Swarovski has always supported young designers around the world (they were one of the first to work with Alexander McQueen) but the event marked the first time that they have collaborated with talents from the Asia Pacific region for an international event.
Since 2003, Runway Rocks has served as a platform for young designers to express their creativity, push boundaries and challenge conventions. The result is always inspiring and thought-provoking, with jewels and body adornments that combine art and fashion. Memorable pieces from the past have included architect Zaha Hadid’s “Celeste,” an orbit like sculpture circling the neck and arms, and Christopher Kane’s “Addicted to Mesh,” harness which is inspired by chandeliers.
This time round there were eight designers from Asia who participated in the show, including Korean jewellery brand Feverish and Antwerp-based Thai jewellery designer Ek Thongprasert. Indonesian designer Tex Saverio (he just designed a dress for Jennifer Lawrence in the upcoming Hunger Games film) created a couture gown encased in sculpted metal, crystals and feathers meant to personify the mythological Phoenix. Couturier Guo Pei went all fantastical with an enchanted garden inspired look complete with an embellished tutu and headband decorated with dozens of blooming flowers.
Two of my favourites came from previous collaborators and Central Saint Martin graduates Huishan Zhang (who was just awarded the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize) and Masha Ma, who is based between Paris and Shanghai.
“Beam” by Wang Pei Yi (left) and “Unicorn” by Feverish (right)
Masha’s piece, “Shining Tears,” was inspired by the Northern Lights and featured a hand-embroidered skirt with chiffon, silk and crystals, and a Swarovski Crystal star suspended behind the model. Huishan, who is know for his modern interpretations of the cheongsam, decorated his futuristic dress with thousands of Swarovski crystal embellishments that brought to mind fibre optics.
To coincide with the show Swarovski also launched its first Atelier Swarovski jewellery collection designed by Chinese couturier Wang Pei Yi. Called “Re Love” it is inspired by broken glass so expect modern necklaces, rings, earrings and pendants made up of jagged pieces of silver embellished with crystals.
Hopefully this is the start of many events that will showcase the talents of Asia’s finest to the world.