Friday, February 10, 2012

Runway Looks, Lolita Style - Jason Wu

Fu (Wu)Manchu - Images via New York Magazine.

If you are unfamiliar with Jason Wu, he is one of the designers that Michelle Obama often wears. Also his collaboration collection with Target just came out and sold out (to the extent that a Florida couple bought the entire stock).

His designs are often very simple, but statement-worthy.  Originally I had planned to do a piece on Rag and Bone with their gradient hues, but I was blown away by Wu's designs and the strong influence of Chinese royal regalia and Forbidden City (the entrance doors were inspired by palace doors!).

While most people may not understand the history symbolism behind it all, people can harken back to the pop culture archetypes of Fu Manchu (played by Christopher Lee no less!) and the infamous "dragon lady" (a sexy but fiesty Asian woman).

Wu's power suit for the typical dragon lady.

As an Asian-American, it's hard to embrace your culture without being a typical stereotype. It's often like going uphill on a down escalator. Eventually you just have to accept your culture and incorporate it into your life.  Wu's designs are solely him as a fashion designer and him showing his Chinese pride.

Maroon is definitely a color to use for fall.

Lolita fashion is all about breaking stereotypes, as well as embracing them. Qi-Lolita is a style that is influenced by the Chinese cheongsaam. A cheongsaam is a fitted silk dress with slits at the side with a mandarin-styled collar. It was developed in the 1920s and has become iconic with Chinese culture. 

Cheongsaam/Qi Pao whatever you call it, it's still fashion

Incoporating cultural elements and Lolita is very difficult. Done right, Qi-Lolita (based on the qipao; not to be confused with Wa-Lolita, which is based on the kimono) can be very cute.  Kidsyoyo's design one of the tasteful versions I've seen that's wearable as fashion, and not totally seen as a costume. This style comes in red and black (a popular color combo in general for the original style) or pink and brown.

Always Lolita.

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