VIVIENNE TAM FALL/WINTER 2011
by Hope Adela Pasztor
As a true vintage clothing enthusiast, it’s no huge surprise that I was pleased with Vivienne Tam’s 2011 Fall/Winter collection, unveiled at this week’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. In the same way as Vivienne Tam stated how her collection was “a balanced of new and old, ancient and modern”, I recognized certain vintage elements in this undoubtedly 21st century fashion lineup. 1920’s fashion trends like coruscating jet black beaded fringe, draped back details, and a strong vampy black and red color scheme (can anyone say Betty Boop?) made a nearly 100 year-old comeback as striking models (hair swept elegantly into topknots and high buns) sashayed down the runway.
Rewind back a couple of centuries. More importantly than this more recent vintage influence, Vivienne Tam’s collection nods to the theatrical costuming of the ancient Far East. “My starting point is the elaborate costumes of the Kun [Opera]. I turn this fantasy into everyday wear.” What could be more thrilling than combining elements of history, music, and art into a single drop dead gorgeous ensemble? Don’t get the wrong idea; this collection is anything but a tackily skewed costumey mess. Grounded with floor-stomping suede and leather multi-button knee boots, floor skimming embroidered silk maxi dresses, lace and fringe covered cocktail dresses and skirts, fluttering batwing-like sleeves, fierce structured blazers, and strategically placed sequins and bespanglements are perfectly acceptable in the modern fashion scene while still being sure to make their wearer stand out in a crowd.