Vivienne Tam Spring 2013: The five elements as geometry

Vivienne Tam looked to the five elements of Chinese cosmology – wood, water, fire, metal and earth – for inspiration, which resulted in an impressive, cohesive showing for Spring 2013.

The liberal use of geometric shapes reinforced Tam’s modern, urban aesthetic, as exemplified on a sheer sheath dress with a white, red and black inverted triangle pattern, and a variety of hexagonal cutouts covering a sleeveless black dress styled with a black bandeau and high-waisted shorts underneath.  The cutouts, which appeared heavily throughout the collection, had the effect of eyelet lace, except without the saccharine innocence of that particular material.  In a less obvious integration of her theme, Tam showed a black wool silk tank dress with a horsehair circle applique running down the spine that was simple yet edgy in its mixture of textures.

Tam’s New York Fashion Week show also marked the debut of her collaboration with TSL Fine Jewellery, one of the largest jewelers in Asia.  The designs closely mirrored the clothing shown – the models wore large triangle and hexagonal hoop earrings, oversized hexagon collar necklaces and even hexagonal rings.  The materials used included wood, jade, gold, garnet and agate.  While the geometric shapes of the jewelry were a bit of an overkill at times when worn with certain outfits on the runway, the sleekness of these pieces would work well with a minimalist wardrobe.

During a pre-show backstage interview with Meniscus, Tam herself was wearing one of the gold hexagonal collar necklaces with a bright red sleeveless dress partially printed with black hexagons on the skirt.  Taking the five elements to heart, she explained, “I am water, but I lack fire, so I need to wear red-color dresses and rose gold [for balance].”  She also emphasized that she was “really interested in working on shapes and forms and textures,” which was successfully accomplished with this collection.

Yuan-Kwan Chan contributed to this report.

Photo Gallery: Vivienne Tam Spring 2013
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Video: An interview with Vivienne Tam

interview by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine
video by Kwai Chan & Andie Davis / Meniscus Magazine

Other credits:

Jewelry: TSL | 謝瑞麟
Make-up: Maud Laceppe and the MAC Team
Hair: Leon Gorman for Cutler/Redken