Chocheng Fall 2009 – New York Fashion Week

There was an eerie unease that permeated the Chocheng show. Maybe it was the fact that the crowds were shut out from the Salon for 20 minutes past the hour (although the show began at a reasonable 30 past). Or it could have been the fact that the room was bathed in a dark blue light when people were finally let in. Or, perhaps, the sometimes cheap-looking blonde bob wigs that all the models wore in lieu of styling made things feel oddly homogeneous.

No, the true source of the unease came in the second half of the show, when the gowns came out. Designer Cho Cho Cheng’s show started off well, opening with a variety of brightly colored riding jackets with equally eye-catching trimming. Lighting bolt-shaped highlights crisscrossed a couple of standout stately gray jackets. Cheng also flitted into more serious terrain with mixed results, but overall, the clothing combinations mostly kept faithful to his sense of bouncy fun (which was oddly augmented by the aforementioned wigs).

Then the gowns arrived and things took a turn for the worse…or maybe a turn for the stiff. The first empire dress that emerged on the runway was so inflexible that the straps hovered nearly an inch above the model’s skin. Some dresses also had unmovable skirts, which caused the models to adopt an uncomfortable gait. Pastel-colored gowns with origami-shaped bustiers stayed appropriately within the spirit of the first half of the show, but the gown portion of the collection was, on the whole, a wash.

The stiff fabrics used in the dresses are popular in China because of their silhouette shaping properties. But the tailoring mistakes Cheng committed in his first New York show ruined the presentation. Still, he’s a young designer, and it should be interesting to see what comes from him in the future if and when he tightens up his presentations.

Photo Gallery: Chocheng Fall 2009 – New York Fashion Week
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine