Iconic fashion designer Sue Wong presented her Spring 2016 line, “Alchemy & Masquerade” last month before a packed-to-the rafters crowd of fashion elite, press, celebrities and even a few royals—as she opened LA Fashion Week, under the Art Hearts Fashion umbrella. This highly anticipated show took place at the Taglyan complex in Hollywood, in an ornate and heavily chandeliered ballroom.
With a twinkle in his eyes, Prince Waldemar of Schaumburg-Lippe and his wife, Princess Antonia (the honoree of a lavish birthday party thrown by the designer the month before) presented Sue Wong with a special award. The Prince remarked that he knows Queens all over Europe by virtue of being related to them, however, Sue Wong is a true “fashion Queen.” We couldn’t agree more.
The son of the Prince and Princess, Mario-Max Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe, opened the show with a prelude dance, conjuring up images of an ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ masquerade scenario, except where Count Dracula meets the Phantom of the Opera. Midway through the runway dance, Mario-Max unmasked himself, as all of our masks eventually fall to the floor, and soon it was time for Sue’s emissaries of beauty to make their way down the runway.
‘Alchemy & Masquerade’, with nearly 80 looks, was a bewitching journey into the monumental healing powers of beauty. This concept of healing through beauty, long advocated by the designer, something I think we all intuitively know, has actually recently been proven by researchers from California University in Berkley.
“Psychologist Dr. Dacher Keltner, of California University in Berkeley, said: "That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests the things we do to experience these emotions - a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art - has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy." Sue Wong’s fashion shows are absolutely a master class in art appreciation.
Although there were plenty of classic Sue Wong touches, such as cocktail dresses featuring extravagantly beaded tops and chiffon skirts, festooned with feathers, bows and other design elements, this collection presented some of the designer’s most daring work we have ever seen.
One particular ensemble drew audible gasps from the crowd… a show-stopping futuristic diva, with a different kind of mask, like for a painter or welder, with enormous red headgear spikes, barely-there coverage of her modesty, and a flouncy skirt.
As in past shows, the sky-high headdresses by Marika Soderlund-Robison and Kicka Custom Design added aesthetics and drama to the show. We particularly liked the gilded porcupine headdress and matching shoulder pads. Further enchanting the process of presentation was the statement jewelry by the talented designer Joe Polthakorn of Vilaiwan Fine Jewelry.
The final vignette was fittingly called “Transformation” and featured all-white gowns. The intensely charismatic opera singer Michael Peer sang “Ave Maria” and then “Phantom of the Opera”, to close out the show.
Lastly, we were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Sue’s beloved mother, Sharon Wong. Sharon was a familiar figure to many of us who have been covering Sue’s fashion shows over the years. She had deep, soulful eyes, and a warm, caring smile. We send peace and comfort to Sue and her family during this sorrowful time.