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Oriental Style Express

by Hollie Moat

Dries Van Noten A/W 12

The land of the rising sun has long been established as a serious style destination – the vibrant colours, the luxurious fabrics, the air of the exotic shrouding the heavy, ornate dresses and structured separates. And this season, pieces with an oriental flavour have confirmed themselves as a major trend, a colourful jewel amongst the acres of sombre black leather and Winter knits.


Maison Martin Margiela A/W 12

Like with anything  hugely striking, taking the plunge with this look can seem like a scary prospect. But we’ve come up with five great reasons why the rewards will be rich if you do…

It’s A Classic

Usually when we think of classic fashion pieces we think simple – little black dresses, nautical, trench coats. But oriental style has long been a staple of the industry, right back to the early 20th century, when hot designer on the Parisian block Paul Poiret went wild for mandarin collars and Chinese florals. Since then many iconic outfits have had an oriental theme, including Nicole Kidman’s spectacular chartreuse Dior gown at the 1997 Oscars.


Nicole Kidman in Dior couture at the 1997 Oscars

Great For The Festive Period

We’re coming up to a time of year when the parties and social engagements come thick and fast, with the pizazz factor cranked up to maximum. So trying to throw on a few glittering accessories over your day clothes isn’t likely to cut it. Choosing classic pieces with a few touches of oriental glamour however - a mandarin collar, a thick silk belt, some elaborate floral embroidery will create an instantly striking effect to take you from day to night.


Dries Van Noten A/W 12

Stand Out From The Crowd

Speaking of all those parties, it’s easy to guess what most people will be wearing – red, green, jewel-toned cocktail dresses and lots and lots of sequins. It can be hard to stand out. This season’s oriental pieces are the thinking girl’s choice, not just because they aren’t the obvious one, but also because the rich and varied colour palette and busy but elegant patterns attract the eye no matter what’s surrounding them.


Proenza Schouler A/W 12

The Movie Effect

Everyone loves a beautifully shot, period cinematic love story peppered with scandal and intrigue, particularly when it’s based on a famous book. Korean director Hur Jin-ho’s soon to be released adaptation of French novel Dangerous Liasions switches the action to Thirties Shanghai and sees the likes of Zhang Ziyi and Cecilia Cheung swanning about in fantastically elegant silk dresses and kimonos you’re sure to be left dreaming about for weeks after.


Chinese film Dangerous Liasions

A Flattering Choice

Oriental designs by nature have an intricate structure that often involves lots of pinning and tucking and constricting the body into an elegant silhouette, not to mention a love of stiff, heavy fabrics. In the Christmas period, with all of its champagne-tinged temptation and mass-consumption of anything cooked in goose-fat, this corseting effect is a welcome one,  resistance to over-indulgence is futile, so clothes that hold everything in and hide lumps and bumps are the next best thing!


Antonio Marras A/W 12

SHOP THE TREND

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