Edmund Ooi: new life breathed into Milan
Edmund Ooi has given a boost to the Milan Fashion Week with a show that didn’t leave much room for indifference. The young Malaysian fashion designer, who made his catwalk debut on Saturday, January 17, in Giorgio Armani’s theater, breathed new life into Milanese menswear, with a collection for winter 2015-16 featuring a feminine touch with a dress for men.
It’s neither a statement about transgender issues nor an affirmation of transvestitism. It’s just a new free and experimental way of designing menswear, explained Ooi, "I’m putting a feminine twist on menswear. This is reflected in the breadths, in the jacquard coats and finally in the dresses. But the pieces from the collection can be mixed and matched any way you want—and you don’t have to buy the dress!"
The designer loves working with textures and blends of fabric, while maintaining a simple silhouette. His wide jackets, with square shoulders are built like geometric puzzles with inserts of materials and different colors. His coat-capes with neck-shawls and wide lapels in contrasting colors are very end of the 18th century with their ribbons tied at the wrist. The same is true for the high collars that go all the way up to the ears.
The cuts are austere, the designer especially enjoying playing with details and clashing colors, as in his black shoes with red-striped laces or his two-tone sweaters and pants with wide side bands.
The wardrobe is complemented by monochrome (purple, yellow, blue), knit dresses that end simply just above the knee, which might as well be very long sweaters. The fabrics are Italian, French and Japanese for the jacquards, while the line is manufactured in Belgium and China.
Born on a small island north of the Malaysian coast, Ooi then moved to Antwerp, where he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Art. He subsequently worked for Ann Demeulemeester and Mugler. Discovered by Vogue Talents, the young designer participated in Pitti Uomo’s new talent show in June, before making the leap to Milan with his 4th collection.
"My mother was a seamstress and my idol is David Bowie," summarized the 27 year-old designer, who was all smiles and whose spellbound look made him look ten years younger. Bowie... An inspirational figure whose Ziggy Stardust was clearly hinted at in Ooi’s collection.
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