Homegrown cult fashion label Dude & Duchess tapped local designer Jonathan Liang for an accessible high-fashion collection, a capsule collection which infuses Liang’s clean, sleek aesthetics with the fashion label’s penchant for fine tailoring and good construction. Desmond Lim Zhengs has the lowdown on this popular label.
A graduate of the prestigious Raffles College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian fashion designer Jonathan Liang has had an illustrious journey since his graduation. His talent was acknowledged with the “Most Promising Designer of 2009” award at Malaysian Fashion Week as the iStyle KLIA winner, a Malaysian fashion show dedicated to showcasing the best emerging talents, and also as the winner of “Who’s Next” design competition.
These accolades led to a fruitful participation in French trade show, Prêt à Porter ,which subsequently led to numerous opportunities in Europe. London Fashion Week came knocking on the door with an invitation to partake in the “A La Mode” showcase. Soon, his eponymous label would win the number one spot on Carnet Du Mode, a portal of Parisian fashion that showcases the designers of tomorrow. Currently based in Paris, his previous stints at respectable French couture houses have afforded him to explore opportunities and dip his toes in exciting ventures. His latest collaboration with local fashion label Dude & The Duchess is a perfect example of his evolving style.
“The collection celebrates what every woman has in her: beauty and that edge factor without even having to try. It’s all about a polished attitude with a street vibe,” said Liang of his first collaboration with Dude & The Duchess.
Be it the reflection of the infamous Parisian chic or perhaps the continental flair, a certain je ne sais quoi resonates throughout the collection. Flared kimono tops; crisp tunic shirts; paneled pencil skirts; and a printed t-shirt exclusively by French artist Anne Nouchka. A certain flared skirt, constructed in lurex croc jacquard material, has just the right amount of style that every “it” girl in town would covet.
These contemporary fashions are inspired by nature but rendered in an extremely subliminal way. Drawing inspiration from camouflaged insects, to flora and fauna adapting to their environment, Liang’s signature use of mixed fabrics and textures is evident. The austere colour palettes of Scorpion Black and White Orchid, and hues of Rose, Dragonfly and Tulip, further highlight the simplistic forms of ease that the collection conveys. While chatting over drinks with Liang in Paris the past summer, he was multitasking via Whatsapp with seamstresses in both Italy and Malaysia. Rigorously giving directions on fit and proportions in text, he demonstrates his trained eye on even the simplest pieces. The precision cut in the silhouettes, minimal stitching, and smart use of organza detailing accentuates his attention to detail and high quality of work. All these cultivated elements masterfully converge to create a cleaner, sleeker finish – a great feat for such a young talent.
This promising designer does not stop there, offering exclusive quantities of the Fawn embellished shift dress and the Fawn embroidered crop top that incorporates extraordinary workmanship of delicate lace work, beading and fabrication that is neither dowdy nor oldfashioned. Instead it felt youthful, balancing innocence and subtlety with a sense of coolness and most of all, it was effortlessly gorgeous.
These limited pieces are sold in Malaysia in stores and on Dude & The Duchess’s e-commerce platform with a justifiably higher price point. Also available at specialty boutique Springsoux in Paris, where Liang’s eponymous label is also stocked, this collection is clearly confident in its international appeal, providing modern fashion essentials that are minimalistic and edgy.
When Dude & The Duchess made a debut in the local market in 2008, it quietly offered basics with a twist as well as fashion pieces with a sense of counter-culture humour. Five years later, it strives to up the fashion ante with this exciting designer collaboration. Few would doubt that Liang, with his sparkling track record, will succeed in transforming this homegrown label to an internationally recognized cult brand.
Source: Senses of Malaysia January/February 2014
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