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[FASHION] - Sue Wong @ L.A.'s "Fashion Week"

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  • madchinaman
    Come on, L.A., let s get sassy Erin Fetherston and Kara Saun help boost our fashion week. By Booth Moore, Times Staff Writer
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 25, 2006
      Come on, L.A., let's get sassy
      Erin Fetherston and Kara Saun help boost our fashion week.
      By Booth Moore, Times Staff Writer
      http://www.latimes.com/features/lifestyle/la-wk-
      fashion23mar23,1,4687872.story


      -

      Sue Wong (http://www.suewong.com) is never short on ideas, even if
      they feel like the same ones from seasons past. But she was smart to
      revisit her international theme, now that she's working on the first
      global marketing strategy to expand her $60-million brand, which is
      already sold in 24 foreign markets.

      She hit Asia first, opening with a splendid performance by Chinese
      ribbon dancers, followed by Mandarin tops, embroidered with
      chrysanthemums, layered over skinny pants and a stunning jade silk
      georgette cheongsam with embroidered peonies, worn with a parasol
      for a hat. Wong loves her headgear.

      A visit to Cairo could have been seriously costumey, but she pulled
      it off, with a couple of fun slip dresses, one in a crème brûlée
      color trimmed in tiny beads and coins, and another in cocoa with
      subtle suede feathered fringe. Wong proved she is more than a
      dressmaker with a gorgeous coat, covered in soutache embroidery the
      color of vanilla frosting. Of course the finale was beyond this
      world, as it always is, with an operatic buildup and a winged model.
      Still, you can't argue with the superb workmanship Wong offers on
      dresses that cost an average of $300 to $700.

      -


      THE good news? Fuchsia fringed pasties are apparently "in" for fall,
      as seen on the runway at Agent Provacateur's lusty, busty lingerie
      show.

      The bad news? After a promising start, L.A. Fashion Week went a bit
      wacky on Monday and Tuesday, with a handful of shows that were more
      about spectacle than substance — models dancing on pointe in satin
      princess dresses at Lourdes, a priest poseur walking the Alan Del
      Rosario runway blessing guests, a rocking guitar solo for Antik that
      seemed to roll on forever … you get the picture.

      There were exceptions — beginning with Kara Saun, who proved that
      there is no substitute for a thoughtful concept. The "Project
      Runway" runner-up chose a few design elements — obi belts, butterfly
      sleeves and keyhole cutouts edged in pleats — and, like a pro,
      carried them all the way through her focused evening wear
      collection. There were a number of cocktail dresses that were sexy
      yet refreshingly covered-up, one in a peacock blue hammered silk
      with cap sleeves and a pleated keyhole cutout, another in navy with
      a mock turtleneck, a pleated yoke and three-quarter-length sleeves.

      Saun's fabrics and fit were spot-on. Red lace can be a fickle
      mistress, but she handled it beautifully, working it into an elegant
      gown, lined in nude silk, with a wide waistband and a tiered chiffon
      skirt. But the real showstopper was in red satin with a fitted
      bodice and pleated layers falling to the floor like rose petals.
      Sure, Saun could have had a few more ideas, some of her dresses were
      overdone, and the explanation for the collection was over-the-top.
      ("My scissor will be my sword"?) Still, it was an auspicious start.

      With so many gowns on the runways, Erik Hart's Morphine Generation
      collection was a breath of fresh air. Funky capes, one in Scottish
      plaid with antique brass buttons, had serious street cred, as did
      reed-thin, dark denim jeans worn with foil print "Luvsik" T-shirts.
      A marled ivory cashmere cardigan sweater, a skull screen-printed
      hoodie sweatshirt, and a navy peacoat with raw seams fell in line
      with fall's return to punk. And there were more refined pieces too,
      including a black cotton shirtdress with a schoolgirl pleated skirt.
      Still, one wished Hart had a few more ideas to share.

      Sue Wong is never short on ideas, even if they feel like the same
      ones from seasons past. But she was smart to revisit her
      international theme, now that she's working on the first global
      marketing strategy to expand her $60-million brand, which is already
      sold in 24 foreign markets.

      She hit Asia first, opening with a splendid performance by Chinese
      ribbon dancers, followed by Mandarin tops, embroidered with
      chrysanthemums, layered over skinny pants and a stunning jade silk
      georgette cheongsam with embroidered peonies, worn with a parasol
      for a hat. Wong loves her headgear.

      A visit to Cairo could have been seriously costumey, but she pulled
      it off, with a couple of fun slip dresses, one in a crème brûlée
      color trimmed in tiny beads and coins, and another in cocoa with
      subtle suede feathered fringe. Wong proved she is more than a
      dressmaker with a gorgeous coat, covered in soutache embroidery the
      color of vanilla frosting. Of course the finale was beyond this
      world, as it always is, with an operatic buildup and a winged model.
      Still, you can't argue with the superb workmanship Wong offers on
      dresses that cost an average of $300 to $700.

      Octavio Carlin's collection had a wonderfully sassy, slightly 1960s
      point of view, from the black and white lace coat to the flirty navy
      blue and yellow leopard-print silk V-back dress, worn with a wide
      gold headband and short, ladylike gloves. Pleating seems to be
      Carlin's forte, and he made fine use of it on a tall drink of a gown
      in midnight blue silk charmeuse, fastened with a skinny, rhinestone
      belt.

      Still more evening wear was on display at Elsie Katz, where Donna
      Baxter worked the Old Hollywood theme. The Seattle-based designer
      ran into trouble with thick alpaca and velvet. But when she kept
      things light, she had more than one winning moment, including a
      lovely icy lavender organza gown with slat pleats and a released
      back, and an ivory silk chiffon flapper dress with loops of crystal
      beads. As an alternative to the same-old, same-old red carpet gown,
      a cap sleeve mink blouse looked smart, worn with a pink brocade
      mermaid skirt.

      Over at the Chateau Marmont on Tuesday night, Berkeley-born designer
      Erin Fetherston was working the New Hollywood theme. Talk about
      being in the right place at the right time, the 25-year-old graduate
      of Parsons School of Design in Paris was welcomed into the starlet
      swirl after meeting Kirsten Dunst and photographer-director Ellen
      von Unwerth at a party last year. Apparently, they became so
      enamored of the designer's girlish style, they agreed to collaborate
      on a film for her fall collection.

      Filmed in L.A. at Lake Balboa, the seven-minute, black-and-white
      film titled "Wendybird" features Dunst and other lovelies playing
      dress-up with Fetherston's pieces. It was screened at a party in the
      penthouse, as models paraded around in the frothy cocktail frocks.
      Dunst was supposed to come out to support her friend, but was stuck
      on the set of "Spiderman III." But Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth
      were there. And so was China Chow, who's such a fan she even helped
      style the show and set up chairs.

      Dressed in peach ruffles, Fetherston said the "Wendybird" title is a
      reference to the scene in "Peter Pan" when Wendy arrives in
      Neverland: "She's more abstract than a girl, she's a bird-girl … a
      kind of mythic creature." That idea translated into some very pretty
      party dresses, including a divine baby doll style with a creamy
      panne velvet top embroidered in eyelet, and looped organza and satin
      ribbons for a skirt. Although she lives in Paris, where she
      presented her collection in a similar setting earlier this month,
      Fetherston felt it was worth coming to Los Angeles for fashion week.

      "The schedules have become so booked in Paris and New York that I
      predict the more peripheral fashion weeks will only become more
      important for the overflow of talent," she said. "It's great for
      young, independent designers not to have to compete against million-
      dollar fashion houses."

      Indeed.


      =============



      BIOGRAPHY
      http://www.suewong.com/biography.html


      In the business world, it is not uncommon for a CEO to be described
      as a ball of fire, someone who is high energy and dynamic - traits
      so necessary for success. Fashion designer and CEO Sue Wong is a
      ball of fire who has been able to blend her relentless energy with
      creativity, organization and humanity. Today she remains the same
      optimistic and generous person I met nearly 20 years ago when she
      was just embarking on what is now a multimillion-dollar corporate
      success story.

      Long before Sue Wong was born in rural communist China in 1949, her
      father Wing Wong had already decided that he would find a way to
      bring his future family to the United States for a better life.
      Because he was forced to escape first, he had to leave his then-
      pregnant wife behind. Sue spent her first five years growing up in
      rural China with her mother. Later, the two of them also escaped,
      first to Guangzhou and finally to Hong Kong where she completed her
      initial formal education. Sue did not meet her father until
      September 1955 when she and her mother immigrated to Los Angeles.

      As a youngster, Sue wanted to pursue a career in fine art as a
      painter. Although she was awarded a prestigious scholarship to
      California Institute of the Arts after high school, a career in the
      fine arts was not an endeavor supported by her traditional Chinese
      parents. In light of their courageous escape and new career options
      in the United States, they hoped she would become an accountant or
      teacher, or have some other "stable" job.

      This fashion designer and businesswoman was never formally trained
      in her industry. Within a month of enrolling in a fashion program at
      Los Angeles Trade Technical College, she was awarded a scholarship
      from Arpeja, a hip fashion company for younger women. After her
      classes she would spend three hours every afternoon sketching for
      the lead designer, and in less than a year she decided to trade in
      her education for a full-time job as a designer in Arpeja's
      sportswear division.

      The following year her courage and innovative sense compelled her to
      leave and open two of her own one-of-a-kind boutiques in Venice and
      Hollywood. Her unique designs, which typically combined selected
      embellishments such as lace, handwork or beading from vintage
      clothing of the `20s, `30s and `40s, attracted patrons like Goldie
      Hawn, Victoria Principal and Bianca Jagger. Sue was already earning
      a healthy, avant garde reputation among celebrities that was quickly
      spreading beyond Southern California.

      By 1972 Sue Wong designs were receiving national, critical acclaim.
      She affiliated with Malibu Media, and the once-fledgling company
      achieved competitive status with Sue on board. Serendipitously, one
      of Sue's designs was copied by Arpeja and rapidly sold more than
      300,000 units. Not surprisingly, she became the lead designer at
      Arpeja, taking the company's sales from $3 million to $51 million in
      three short years. She achieved international acclaim as her designs
      sold 800,000 to 900,000 units, and it was clear that she had become
      one of the highest-paid and sought-after designers in America.

      By 1979 Sue found herself at a crossroads as she tried to reorganize
      her life during a challenging divorce. She decided to leave Arpeja
      start her own company, Sue Wong Inc. Since her talents are mainly in
      design, she realized that she lacked the appropriate business skills
      to keep it afloat, and she lost everything within a year. During the
      following five years she made several attempts to partner with other
      businesses, but the exchange of her talents for holdings within
      these companies never seemed to be appropriate.

      In 1984 she became a lead designer for First Glance, eventually
      buying the division and using her label. Out of sheer tenacity she
      started a second Sue Wong Inc. When Sue spoke with me about her
      business, she drew a triangle in the air in front of her face, and
      she said she was concerned with creativity and production, marketing
      and business. After Sue, her partner Dieter Raabe is the second
      element of a triumvirate. He handles all of the financial aspects of
      the business. They have been partners since 1985, and they are
      content and grateful for each other's talents. Four years later Sue
      increased her company's visibility by opening a showroom in the
      Garment District in downtown Los Angeles and hired Joanie Graham-
      Pepper, the third element of the triumvirate. As the head of
      national marketing, Graham-Pepper brought with her more than 30
      years of fashion industry sales experience to the corporation. With
      these responsibilities clearly delineated and refined, the
      corporation's production increased dramatically, and Sue moved her
      factory overseas to accommodate demand.

      Sue remains the creative force within the corporation, and she still
      does the original drawings for her designs. They are translated into
      working drawings that are "read" and utilized by her pattern makers.
      A prototype of each garment is made in muslin, and the patterns are
      refined. Fabrics and accoutrements like beads, sequins, buttons,
      facings, cutwork and embroidery are selected in tandem with the cut
      of the garment. After the garment is refined, perfected and approved
      by Sue, explicit instructions are delivered to her production staff
      in China. The garments are manufactured in Guangzhou (ironically,
      not far from her childhood neighborhood), Shantou and Shanghai, as
      is all of the labor-intensive handwork for which her homeland is
      well known. Then they are shipped back to the United States for
      inspection and delivery to vendors such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom,
      Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Bendel's, Lord and Taylor, and Saks Fifth
      Avenue.

      In 1999 Sue created an evening-wear division, Sue Wong Nocturne, in
      time for the millenium. The success of this new division has boosted
      Sue Wong Inc. sales. Sue's tenaciousness and ability to take
      appropriate risks have fueled her success. She produces
      approximately 150 designs each season. The ideas for her designs
      come directly from the history of fashion, including inspirations
      from the 1890s and every decade from the `20s through the `70s. She
      realizes that the key to healthy marketing is diversity, but in
      spite of this her clothing is consistently romantic, blending time-
      honored handwork and exquisite craftsmanship with classic, rather
      than trendy, designs. Her lines target a style-conscious market that
      includes women between 25 and 55. Graham-Pepper suggests that women
      who buy Sue Wong designs are those who want to make a statement
      about all that is "eternally feminine with a heightened sense of
      style and timeless elegance." When I asked Graham-Pepper if her
      marketing expertise influenced Sue's designs, she insisted that
      she "…informed Sue of trends, but nothing interfered with her
      creativity."

      When I visited Sue Wong, this small, attractive woman wore a black,
      cotton, short-sleeved tunic with below-the-knee matching leggings
      and black, chunky clogs. Her hair was black, too, cut just below her
      ears and slicked back behind them. She wore no make-up but red
      lipstick and no jewelry but a beautifully set, custom-designed and
      elegant diamond ring. She was understated and no-nonsense. She
      appears, as she remains, true to herself, direct, confident,
      courageous, wise and full of energy - truly a ball of fire. When
      asked if she would collaborate with us on an exhibition, she
      enthusiastically responded, "Oh really? Yes! Wonderful! I have never
      had an exhibition before! Let's do it!"

      Joanne Julian
      Museum Director, College of the Canyons

      ======


      CELEBRITIES
      http://www.suewong.com/celebrities.html


      Tyra Banks, May 2005
      Vanna White, May 2005
      Vanna White, April 2005
      Jane Monreal, March 2005
      Vanna White, March 2005
      Christina Milian, January 2005

      Vanna White, October 2004
      Cindy Margolis, September 2004
      Vanna White, September 2004
      Lauren Mayhew, September 2004
      Cloris Leachman, September 2004
      Faune Chambers, September 2004
      Vanna White, August 2004
      Allison Dunbar, March 2004
      Vanna White, March 2004
      Vanna White, February 2004

      Vanna White, December 2003
      Kelly Hu, December 2003
      Shoshannah Stern, December 2003
      Cindy Taylor, September 2003
      Melina Clarke, FHM, September 2003
      Melina Clarke, ET, September 2003
      Melina Clarke, OC, September 2003
      Niptuck, September 2003
      Vanessa Marcil, September 2003
      Raven Symone, August 2003
      Anjelica Huston, July 2003
      Arnold and Kristanna, July 2003
      Charlotte and Amy, July 2003
      Martin Landau, July 2003
      Tara Lipinski, July 2003
      Julie Moran, June 2003
      Kelly Hu, May 2003
      Kristanna Loken, May 2003
      Sara Rue, May 2003
      Stephanie Niznik, May 2003

      Andrea Martin, Golden Globe
      Brittany Snow Gail O'Grady Vanessa...
      Brittany Snow Rachel Boston Vanessa....
      Brittany Snow Spirit of Hope
      Vanna White
      Denis Quaid and guest, Golden Globe
      Jorja, Fox People Choice
      Kimberly J Brown, Bringing Down the...
      Linda Cardellini, (1118-03)
      Malinda Williams, NAACO image award
      Maria Chonchita Alonso ABC 50th Anni....
      Maria Chonchita Alonso, In Style
      Merrin Dungey, Makeup and Hair award...
      Missi Pyle, Bringing Down the House
      Nancy Travis, People Choice
      Sara Chalke, environmental media
      Sara Rue, ABC 50th Anniversary
      Vanna White

      =

      Sue Wong Corporate Office
      3030 West 6th Street
      Los Angeles, CA 90020
      213 388 7400
      213 388 7464 fx
      info@...

      Press:

      SPR Public Relations
      1722 1/2 Whitley Avenue
      Hollywood, CA 90028
      323 466 8001
      323 466 8002 fx
      info@...
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