This past weekend on Saturday, September 27th, I attended the 8th annual fashion show that exclusively features Hmong American designers; Fresh Traditions. Fresh Traditions is hosted by the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), based in Saint Paul, MN. It just recently won the distinguished Knights Art Challenge. Find out more about Fresh Traditions and CHAT here. This year 6 designers were featured, each with their own aesthetic and skill. My very first blog post will be dedicated to showcasing a few of the designs that I captured. I did not photograph every look that came down the runway and also did not photograph every line. Since my interest did not lie in children’s wear, I did not photograph the first fashion line; Ever Changing by Kia Moua Kehrer. Please excuse the graininess of the photographs as I did not have the proper lighting gear and the overall lighting was poor. Regardless, I think the photographs showcase the drama and effort that each designer intended to express in their garments.
Pafoua’s Luxe Vintage Collection was very pretty. She used smooth lines and bright colors in her garments. Certainly, she stayed true to luxury in creating her line as many of the outfits exuded a brilliance in the light. She styled each outfit very well with a small clutch or bag and a very pretty jewelry piece.
Vanessa Vu’s Bridal Collection held a very happy feeling, as a bride should feel in her wedding dress. As one or more outfit in the show of every designer must have Hmong-esque elements, Ms. Vu chose to instill the element of the traditional belt/sash into all her dresses. Along with the pop of color on the waistline, she also chose to go with a bright flower as a hair accessory and sparkles as part of the makeup. There were a variety of ideas in the line and it was overall cohesive. It felt very classy, with the lace dresses, but also very bohemian with the free spirit styling.
Hill Tribe Fusion’s out of this world collection, titled “Enchanted’, invited us to step inside a magical world of mystical creatures. Their immaculate head pieces and statement necklaces were the icing on the cake when paired with their dramatic hoop dresses and bright colors. If you’re a fan of Harajuku fashion this might just be your cup of tea. I loved their display of creativity here and really enjoyed their portrayal of the unicorn. That was my absolute favorite.
Ceceil Lee’s ‘Something Borrowed’ collection read 50’s inspiration as intended. I think she did a great job with her color palette and combinations. She also used an interesting combination of fabric (ie; Velvet & satin). As per many of the other designers, the bulk of her line held Hmong aesthetics in mind. This is visible in her colors and combination of patterns. Many may read the last outfit as a normal combination but most may see it as a representation of the iconic White Hmong female turban headwear. At least that is how I interpreted the outfit and liked it.
This was one of my very favorite outfits in the show. The designers construction on this garment was phenomenal. I applaud her for matching the lines so well in the top and she chose a beautiful fabric for the bottom. Excellent styling.
Maisee Heurh’s Amidst Collection was my favorite collection from this season’s show. I have to say that she was extremely meticulous in her order lineup and her collection was fabulously cohesive. It really made sense and she expressed her juxtaposition of hard and soft eloquently. I loved how her entire collection eluded the feeling of a modern Hmong woman. If you’re Hmong, you would know that floral pattern anywhere. It reminds me of my great grandmother, except, with a modern edgy flair. One thing to note with this collection is the absence of accessories. The clothing made their own statements and didn’t really need any add ons. I enjoyed the minimal use of jewelry to direct the audience’s focus onto the garments themselves.
This was one of my other favorite outfits of the evening. I enjoyed how she used the fringe as her structured portion of the dress. It really contrasted beautifully with the red train underneath. She really though this out and also had the best construction overall.
This last look was the killer. Drama. That skirt really blew everyone away.
The show was well done. I think the location was a great pick, it was spacious and had great character. I enjoyed the fresh ideas that were brought out this year and hope to see more in the following years.
Stay fabulous, M.