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ACF Couturiers Play out Super Hi-Fashion<br><br>

Time: November 19-21, 2019

Where: Jinan city, Shandong, China

Event : Jinan in Style International Fashion Week

ACF (Asian Couture Federation)

CFA(Chinese Fashion Association)

For three consecutive nights, we were fully absorbed, or totally immersed in the fantastic magical realm of Fashion performances play out by six Asian Couture and Hi-Fashion Design Masters presented by the ACF (Asian Couture Federation) :

Racing imagination, bursting creativity, the audience as us, were constantly amazed and mesmerized by each and every ACF (Asia Couture Federation) couturier and designer’s takes, in performing their own kind of magic at will: by sending those most fascinating creatures down the runway: they are the Fairies, the Goddess of Eastern Celestial Palaces, the Angels of some Heavenly Paradises, the mysterious Queen descended from some exotic culture, or the Princesses and Princes of everyone’s ultimate fantasy and dream world...

The models, “crowned” by their very striking looks supremely appointed by their designers’ majestic creativity and their ateliers’ skills of perfection, did not stop to provoke fascination and shower surprises through all the moments pacing their walks on stage. While ushering admiration, the collections resonate deeply to even prompt our moving tears (not at all an exaggeration, those who sat aside us in the audience said so as well !)

Yumi Katsura

Sebastian Gunawan

Paolo Sebastian by Paul Vasileff

LIE SangBong


The first collection is play out by China’s premiere Master Couturist: Ms. Guo Pei ( - a guest

member of Paris’ Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture since 2016, and founding member

of ACF) . Her 30 plus models brought in from Beijing had been meticulously dressed, and

magnificently styled and transformed to become the incredibly flamboyant, deeply

mysterious heavenly creatures: the Goddess, the Fairies, the Queens and the Princesses of

some Oriental exotic realm far beyond.

To deepen its mystery, the designer elaborated her aesthetic expression by incorporating the rarest and most precious textiles, sourced from legendary fabric Artisans of Japan and the West, for the creation of this collection named "East. Palace (2019 S /S)" and which took the creative spectrums of her “Wearable Arts “ to a new height !

Most impressively was the amazing “Tamiya RADEN”: an ultra-precious fabric of unique intricate weaving technique, that was invented, skilled and trademarked by an exceptional Japanese silk weaving Artisan of the Tango region of Kyoto. It is of course ultra-expensive and worthy only by the Royalties and aristocrats for their luxury kimono. But get this: the fabric’s astonishing phantom-ish, gorgeous antique luster of Tamiya RADEN came from the well-aged mother-of-pearl shells that had been secretly precipitated in the deep sea! Ms. Kuo cited that this particular technique does in fact bear the same ancestral roots trace back to the Tang Dynasty of China, with expert Artisans excelled in treating and weaving gold and silver treads perfectly into silk textile.

It’s a true pleasure to find how every ACF Couturier’s work resonates the true creative spirit of Mater Haute Couturiers. Exactly, Couturiers and Artisan creators of ultra-precious state of art textiles, usually become each other’s inspirer, or “muse” perhaps. Constantly they seek opportunity to pursue co-creation and collaboration.

It is also fascinating that, Couturiers are in fact the Master Conductor of their Ateliers. Their designs are proposed, in stimulating and expressing the Atelier’s ingenious sewing skills, for the capable hands to finally bring to life of each creations. -- “ We (the designers) are nothing without the Atelier! ” - The late Fashion Guru, Karl Lagerfeld (the Great) so profoundly endorsed. Supported by the Ateliers "Petites Mains", Master Couturiers would constantly innovate and seek new challenges to display the unique and unmatchable sophistication and complexity of the skills of house. To cite an example, Pagine and Budellini, are two super sophisticated, museum-level sewing skills specialized by the "Petites Mains" of Master Designer Valentino’s Atelier’s, which consequently become the signature of the House of Valentino and the legacy of the Brand, much admired ever since(Reading reference:{ Luxury Branding Myth– by L.h. Shih } P. 9.16-17).

Be it on fabric, on the art of draping and construction or on sewing detail, the " Petites Mains" strives to ”sign“ the signature with its specific expert skills, as such the designs of every collection would see to its completion beyond drawings, and is encoded and enriched, stitch by stitch by the Atelier’s soul charged hands, and thereby, “the style” of the House of Couture, the Brand is encapsulated.

What deserves highlighting is: The very core of the concept and the art of Haute Couture - the French cultural heritage of styling trends and Fashion creation (as well as Fashion Economy), initiated since Louis XIV which has been evolved and polished for hundreds of years – is based on "Bespoke" and client specific “Personalization” in contrast to “Ready-to-Wear” (even with the same designer label or brand), as such their customer expectation and interaction models are distinctively different. In plain words, one may say, the former strives for exclusive "creations” and the latter drives for sellable “merchandises” .

Sure the Master Couturiers earn their credits and passionate fans by their styles being totally unique, exclusive and irreplaceable. They are powerfully engaging for their customized, client centered design creations, and for being so much perceived as "the only one and the most superior in the world" , in the eyes of their fond clients.

Nevertheless if one was to ask: While the world consumes fast Fashion all over- the fashionable wear that is cheap at the price of a cocktail, that’s consumed rapidly like Fashion fast food, so quick and easy, that’s easily accessible, that meets all and everyone’s demands as it is today - does it make sense and does the world still need the expensive works of Couturiers that insist on creating the most elaborate design which requires tens of thousands of antique- skilled hand sewing hours ?

I would say, the answer would simply be the same with answering the question: Does the world needs arts and luxury?

Indeed what’s brought to the " Jinan In Style International Fashion Week” was a serious of Fashion shows and as such one might expect to find precisely the signs and indications of Fashion trends, Fashion colors, fabrics, silhouettes, accessories and makeup styling etc.. Yet, if sought exactly that, I would say you might just missed out much of the bigger picture !

Simply said, what “performed“ in this ACF Couture Master’s shows is much more than Ready-to-Wear Fashion shows, and one ought be surprised that there lies much more wonders to savior.

If you will, you would see the poetry, the fairytale, the painting, or the movie, the theater, the Fashion rock concert performing. You would also be much pleased to see that the creations are crafted to bring you the ultimate surprises, in provoking your imagination, in lighting up the fire in your heart. As much as you would sense how generously you were invited, or let in, to each of the Master Couturiers’ dreamland and fantasy world. Upon opening up your senses to resonate along, you would see much more in depth what the Master Designers intended in their collections: to express and impress you with their own cultural and ethnic identity, further, their aesthetics, their vision and their philosophy of life— the unique DNAs encoded in their works. There is much more to share of the sensational experience and to talk in depth of the surprises found in the splendid masterpieces of each and every one of all six internationally celebrated Master Couturiers’ brilliant collections, to which I shall hope to complete in a later date. Before then, allow me to pay tribute to the participating Master Couturier and Designers briefly following:

Yumi Katsura- The Couture Empress of forever naivety and girly fantasy

Sebastian Gunawan- The Visionary Princely Master Couturier of Indonesia

Paolo Sebastian under Paul Vasileff - The Sweet Romantic Couturier of Australia

LIE SangBong- The Flamboyant Couture Rocker and the McQueen of Korea

SongZiO- The Poet and Painterly creator of Hi-Street Fashion of Korea

GuoPei – China’s National Treasure of Couture Arts

Last but not least, our big bravo yet again to Dr. Frank Cintamani, Jack Tsao and the ACF team, for having orchestrated this event so brilliantly.

ACF, mission- charged to “save and glorify“ Couture-the deem unpractical and diminishing art of Couture that risks extinction, has been the critical driving force empowering and supporting the most creative Asian Couturiers and Hi Fashion Designer Brands. It is a big relief to know that so long as the Couturiers would drive their arts, Fashion would survive and it’s true spirit would sustain.

And yes indeed, together we have work to do, for those who believe in the power of Fashion like myself, to find solutions to let in that long forgotten light to shine upon Fashion once again, to save Fashion from being just cheap buy, from being so “disposable” and “ trash ready”, from being phased in and out too quickly, and from being the key source of pollution for our planet earth.

As in my mind, “Fashion” is much more than shopping cheap to fast mimicking celebrities, is never about its disposability. Rather, it is for us to keep, to collect in honor of it’s owner, wearer and maker. Furthermore, Fashion, for humanity as I like to find it, is about what people aspire to be - our creativity, our dreams, and our desire to dream that newer, better dreams, both for it’s creators and consumers.

About the author: Lynn H. Shih

Consultant and Professor of Luxury Fashion & Future Fashion Brands, Strategic Marketing & Business Management CEO of Bliss Consulting & Partners Former Country head of Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Fendi & Celine and LVMH Fashion Group Taiwan

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