story by Aya Rosen
photos by Ned Rosen
One of the main themes of Sohung Tong‘s past collections has been the deconstruction of garments and using those would-be discarded parts for the recreation of new articles of clothing. The results have been resourceful, creative, and shown a strong sense of humor. In his latest collection for the Spring 2011 season, he takes this theme of reconstruction a step forward and uses raw materials as well as items that are in use in tailoring as decorations. Zippers are stitched together to create sculptural strong shouldered bolero jackets, flizelin and plastic mesh is used for elaborate collars, and safety pins hold skirts and add a punk vibe to an otherwise traditional evening dress.
The main colors in this seasons collection are black, white and silver. There were as well two different blue and black printed fabrics with a mixed geometric and floral design that were quite eye catching. Materials were almost all synthetics, combining shiny lurex and lycra, although the more classic fabrics of silk organza and tulle were also employed. The garments are shiny, sculptural and very impressive as far as cut and shape. The choice of materials seems likely to be more a part of a financial limitation rather then an actual style choice. And its unfortunate, because in some collections that would work. With Sohung Tong’s garments though, the clothes sometimes looked more like costumes than everyday clothing.
There were definitely a few gems in this collection, like a black jacket that was made from fabric scraps held by zippers, or a two-layer dress with round holes on the top layer. However, the dress illustrates perfectly some of the issues with the collection. The concept of the dress itself is wonderful but the garment just doesn’t quite work due to the lack of finishing and attention to construction in the production. Some of the lighter fabrics just couldn’t hold the heavy materials and lost shape on the model’s body.
Mr. Tong’s style could be described as, “extreme extravagance”, as he always displays a great love of volume and no fear of flair. Sohung Tong is definitely a designer to keep an eye on, his ideas are different, and his use of materials, styles, and repurposing of influences are very unique and fresh. However, this particular collection felt under-done and missed as often as it hit, mostly because of lack of finishing touches and attention to detail. This is not uncommon for a true emerging designer however, and one certainly hopes that Mr. Tong continues to improve and impress.