by Sandy Ramirez
East Comes West
When I came to New York three years ago, one of the first things I did was walk. I walked all over Manhattan, familiarizing myself with it’s neighborhoods. One day I walked by the corner of West 53rd Street and 5th Ave on the way to the MOMA, when I noticed a new boutique: Blanc de Chine.
The clothing in the window had a minimalist austerity that was, in truth, beautiful. Ever since, the store has been one of my favorite Manhattan landmarks.
Founded in Hong Kong in 1995, Blanc de Chine is perhaps one of the worlds most exclusive marques. The name itself is an indication of that exclusivity, as it is the French term for the purist white porcelain of the Ming Dynasty. The porcelain was extremely rare and prized for it’s clean iridescence. Even today, this porcelain is made only in small quantities in a tiny corner of China. The company has a motto – “Simplicity, Serenity, Harmony, Subtlety, Purity, Comfort, Sensuality, & Functionality.” Much like that namesake rare white porcelain, Blanc de Chine’s designs share it’s scarceness, manufactured mostly by hand in only 20-25 copies of each design for distribution only in their four stores. Besides New York, there are two locations in Hong Kong, and one in Beijing.
The Spring 2009 collection completely adheres to the ideals expounded in their motto. Inspired by traditional Mandarin dress, this collection is history realized in silk, an understatement of pure elegance that is rarely achieved by any brand. The most noticeable were the sleek, modern reinterpretations of classic Chinese garments. Perhaps the most stunning piece presented was a Cheonogasm in white sequin that seemed to flow around the model with a current at the slightest movement.
A close second was a Hanfu-inspired black dress with Mandarin collar made of black silk jersey.
Here we see the use of traditional silk knot buttons on the shoulder of a white Dao inspired balloon dress, another highlight of a collection with so many stand-out designs.
Blanc de Chine is a new vision of the East, and much like the East, it is veiled in mystery; a place for the adventurous to explore and be enlightened by delicate dreams realized in silk.
In New York, Blanc de Chine is located at 673 Fifth Ave, on the corner of West 53rd Street.
[click for full runway show]