Monday, June 4, 2012

Bill Cunningham of Beijing

I'm in Beijing.  I have seen a lot of wonderful clothes.  From the Chinese designers in the Beijing editions of Vogue and Harpers to the stunning silk updates of classic Chinese silhouettes in the 798 art district.  Today I had lunch with two very sophisticated international women who were wearing gorgeous outfits.  Here's Xu Ting in Etro  ( )

and Miao Lu in a lovely crimped silk dress. 

I am particularly taken by the street fashion, however.  Bless the Chinese;  they started the ball rolling by randomly asking my husband to pose for photos with them in front of the Forbidden City.  This let me know that anyone who caught my fancy was fair game as well.  I could thoroughly enjoy a life as the Bill Cunningham of Beijing.  (If you have not seen the documentary about this NYTimes street fashion photographer, I highly recommend it.  The clothing in this free-wheeling Asian capital is far more whimsical and daring than in DC.  Start with the parasol, for example.  I think it takes some feminine chutzpah to carry a parasol.  And women here carry them ruffled, spangled and otherwise thoroughly embellished.  This modern day Jackie O carried an understated one especially well.

This outfit may have been my favorite, but it's hard to choose.  Please feel free to weigh in.
The orange ruched blouse, fluffy leopard skirt, blue tights and mustard shoes seemed an inspired combo.

As did this one on the right with the pink cropped top over striped dress over jeans shorts with tights and turquoise platforms.  She must get her love of clothing from her Mom.  I'll bet that Mao jacket never quite suited her.

This woman, from one of the southern minorities, was wearing a lovely and modest green dress with a raw silk striped apron. Really one can hardly notice the clothes for her smile.

The young woman in the pink capri suit with the touristy hat was utterly adorable.

and speaking of cute.

The prize for the best-dressed man goes to this gentleman from a foreign delegation.  I was unable to ask where he was from, as speaking Chinese entirely pushed the French out of my head.  If you can tell from the fabric, please help.

When I was teaching in China in the 80's one of my students, after seeing my slides of DC, asked, "Why are all the buildings white?"  Surely we do not have quite the Chinese love of bold color and pattern mixing.  I must say I have been influenced by the Chinese, though.  Below is the upcycled peacock cheong sam/qi pao I made for an Oscar party:

But I was also influenced by the Icelandic/Macedonian singer/designer team of Bjork and
Marjan Pejoski:

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world no?  Katy Kincade signing off from Beijing.

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