Looking for the new is part and parcel of being a designer.
For fall, that search had Sean Suen thinking back to the cusp of the ’90s when China truly opened up to the world — a period when western clothing was the epitome of hip.
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“At the time, when people looked for something new, they wanted a suit because what they had was a Mao jacket,” he said backstage.
Suits were his starting point, and Suen cuts a mean one. To curtail being too referential, he broke their balance with infusions of American utility or magnifying boxy cuts, one side draping when pulling the oversize pieces close to the body.
Suen also built the idea of novelty into garments thanks to layers that wearers could play with, like a jacket that could be partially shrugged off to create a nonchalant asymmetry.
Nubbly knitwear, evocative of good memories from his younger days, he said, brought a homey touch. He piled on signposts of an older generation, such as trousers belted up high, suspenders and gold accessories. These made for quirky touches.
Exhibit A: a trompe-l’oeil pair of longjohns peeking from the waistband. On such a frigid day, they felt like just the thing.
With the buzz building around filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai’s “Blossoms” series, chronicling the rise of a young Shanghai businessman in China’s ‘90s economic boom, Suen’s work felt all the more in step with the dressier momentum of the season.
Launch Gallery: Sean Suen Men's Fall 2024
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