I am writing this on the plane back from Italy after attending the 75th Venice Film Festival. It was a red carpet extravaganza, with movie stars and celebrities galore. I was surrounded by dazzling watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre and extravagant haute couture gowns. I spent time with some of the world’s most prominent fashion influencers, who are fast becoming bona fide celebrities themselves. But it was what was beyond the carpet that truly captured my imagination: The 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, based around the theme of “free space”.
The resulting exhibitions were strange, queer and completely unexpected. Indian architect Rahul Mehrotra’s “Soft Thresholds” blurred the lines between office workers and gardeners by playing with floating fabrics and video projections. Indonesian architect Andra Matin’s exhibit, “Elevation”, was an intricately woven rattan installation that explored the, well, elevational diversity of Indonesia’s vernacular architecture. To those of us unaccustomed to such structures, they looked somewhat clumsy; the spatial proportions so at odds with what our urban lens have come to acknowledge as aesthetically beautiful.
Which brings me to the whole point of this issue: Challenging social norms. What is weird can be beautiful. What is odd can be lyrical. What is strange can make perfect sense. On the way to Venice, I watched the recent documentary, McQueen—a fascinating insight into one of fashion’s greatest talents and minds, a man who was highly controversial, manic and obsessed with the macabre. Alexander McQueen continually challenged society’s norms and yet, his often outlandish fashion was lauded for its perfect tailoring, incredible references and sublime construction.
In this issue, meet five talented Singaporeans who have also eschewed the tried and tested route in fashion to give their personal take on style and craftsmanship. We continue our support for the Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award and feature the top three winners of the Singapore leg, two of whom are going on to the regional contest in late October. Their collections are sartorial observations on life and culture, and I love how they have translated that into clever, conceptual clothing. Finally, if you need any further confirmation that ugly is the new pretty, read Jamie Huckbody’s piece on why fashion is making freak chic.
Welcome to the weird, the wild and the wonderful: Whether it’s living spaces or the clothes you wear, look beyond the gilded cage—the results might just astound and delight you.
—Kenneth Goh, Editor-in-Chief
Photographed by Yu Tsai. Styled by Windy Aulia. Model: Hailey Clauson/Two Management. She wears mesh dress, Gucci. Platinum and diamond Cluster drop earring; platinum, white and yellow diamond Firefl y pendant necklace, Tiffany & Co. Makeup by Dior Makeup artist Fiona Stiles/Starworks Artists. On the face: Dior Backstage Face and Body Foundation in 2 Cool Rosy. On the eyes: Dior Backstage Eye Palette in 001 Warm Neutrals, Diorshow Mascara in 090 Pro Black. On the cheeks: Rouge Blush in 643 Stand Out, Diorskin Nude Luminizer Shimmering Glow Powder in 001 Nude Glow. On the lips: Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge in 755 Ultra Daring, Rouge Dior Ink Lip Liner in 851 Shock. Hair Stylist: Johnnie Sapong/Salon Benjamin. Manicurist: Kim Truong/Star Touch Agency. Prop Stylist: Alex Bain. Production: 88 Phases. Producer: Trever Swearingen. Digital imaging: Luis Jaime. Digital assistant: Massimo Campana. Photography assistant: Calvin Mendez. Styling assistant: Alyx Cohen