There was a time when fashion show reviews rarely mentioned the casting. Now, in a #MeToo moment when fashion demands diversity across race, age, size, and gender, the models can make or break a show. Hanne Gaby Odiele is an icon in more ways than one—a top model, a street style star, an advocate of the intersex community—and it meant something that she opened Self-Portrait’s show. She’s not who you’d typically think of as a “Self-Portrait girl”; it’s hard to picture her in the feminine, nipped-waist guipure lace dresses Han Chong launched his label with back in 2013. But the sleek, asymmetrical, embellishment-free jumpsuit she wore pushed the brand forward in a single look.
Backstage, Chong said he wanted to streamline his silhouettes and simply make it all feel a little bit chicer. The tuxedo dress spliced with a panel of pleated silk felt like the midpoint between past and present Self-Portrait; it gave Chong’s love of collage a more grown-up bent. A puffed-sleeve cherry red gown with a spray of sequins was a contender for the collection’s best party dress—as opposed to the shorter, lavishly detailed frocks we’ve seen in prior seasons. For the dress-averse, there was a single-sleeve jumpsuit with a narrow row of crystals.
In lieu of his usual graphic lace, embroideries, and embellishments, Chong layered second-skin Lurex-striped knits under midi dresses and off-the-shoulder frocks. The trick was less convincing on the orange-and-blue checkered dresses, but it reflected how many women want to look right now; instead of “just” wearing a dress, those underpinnings add a subversive, covered-up-yet-sexy touch.
Available in Jade Senayan City