You could almost imagine the over-the-top wedding scene from the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” while watching the models glide down the runway at Tadashi Shoji’s fall show, wearing eveningwear with lush velvet trains, tiers of tulle or glittering sequins. Almost, but not quite.
The designer, who spends half the year working in L.A. and half in Shanghai, said he thought people who enjoyed the hit film might be interested in its aesthetic, so he zeroed in on Southeast Asia as the theme of his collection.
Mind you, it was a loose theme, less about hit-you-over-the-head references like a cheongsam or Mandarin collar, and more about the quiet opulence of a royal blue velvet column gown with a criss-cross of gold-leaf embroidery over the bodice that seemed to call out for a steely gaze from the film’s tough-as-nails matriarch, Eleanor (played by Michelle Yeoh). The regal feel continued through a red, single-shoulder gown with a spray of sequins on a floating panel of fabric, and another black lace, long-sleeve column with corset detailing.
There were moments of lightness — a stunning fuchsia sequin long-sleeve starlet gown with a come-hither leg slit that had Araminta written all over it, and a romantic ballet-pink tiered tulle confection that was pure Astrid. But all the buttoned-up decorum could have used a little Goh family fun.
Who would blame Shoji for feeling cautious, though, with the threat of a China economic slowdown weighing not only on his business, but the fashion industry as a whole? “The U.S. has two [political] parties, but China’s one party-system can move money more easily,” he said optimistically backstage. “They are going to have to move money, and they will because if not, it will affect the whole world.”