Tag Archives: Paris

TAIWANESE DESIGNER REDEFINES “OUTDOOR FASHIONS”

Hue is crushing on Sophie Hong. The Taiwanese designer, who got her start in the ’70s, creates wearable clothing out of silk dyed using a traditional Chinese technique.

Her unique and beloved silk garments are represented in the Musée Galleria de la Mode et du Costume, a museum of fashion history in Paris.

Her clothes aren’t just meant for runways, so she decided to hold a fashion show outside Cafe Le Nemours in Place Colette in Paris, near her eponymous boutique.

Sophie Hong’s outdoor fashion show. Photo by Liam Cheng.

The show could have been mistaken for a bunch of well-dressed coffee drinkers and umbrella carriers wearing matching chunky clogs, except they were far more orderly than  your average size-zero Parisians. And… it wasn’t raining.

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Hue isn’t the only one who likes Ms. Hong. Last year, she received the National Order of Merit from the French government for her fashion design and her French bookstore in Taipei, Le Pigeonnier (The Dovecote). The shop was founded by her late partner, Francoise Zylberberg.

Sophie Hong at her fashion show in Paris last September. Photo by Lucien Lung.

And the icing on the cake? She spent a month at FIT in 1992 on a scholarship. She says the culture she absorbed while here enhanced her vision. Consider Hue flattered.

Sophie’s portrait by Jacques Camille Picoux.

WORKING FOR DIANA VREELAND AND OTHER ADVENTURES

Elaine Grynkewich Drew, Fashion Design ’76, remembers getting her start in the costume business.

“When I was going to FIT, I would often spend hours at the Met, looking at paintings to inspire my clothing designs. It occurred to me that I could volunteer there, and I worked in garment restoration for a while. People started recommending me for restoration projects, and when it came to mount fashion exhibitions, the Costume Institute called me.

Drew also had her own limited edition label, Grynkewich New York. Some of her clothes were displayed in Henri Bendel’s window.

“Diana Vreeland was in charge of the exhibits. Everybody was scared to death of her. Once, I was putting a costume on a mannequin in a tight space when she sashayed through.  I said, ‘I hope I’m not in your way.’ She replied, ‘No one gets in our way.’ The royals always refer to themselves in the plural.

“The Centre Culturel du Marais in Paris called the Met in 1977. They were doing an exhibit about Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, and they needed someone to display the costumes. Soon I was on a plane to Paris.

“The exhibit was full of all kinds of artifacts, not just costumes—publications of the time, photographs, posters, contracts, and letters. Just about anybody you’ve ever heard of from the early 20th century participated in the Ballets Russes: Picasso painted a curtain, de Chirico made a costume, and there was a bathing suit by Chanel. My job was to run around Paris, trying to find mannequins, as well as steam equipment to get the wrinkles out of the clothes. Their idea was, ‘This is great historic stuff, so all we have to do is put the name of who did it and everyone gets excited.’ I was trained to show the costumes off.

A costume by Giorgio de Chirico for an exhibition of the Ballets Russes.

“I didn’t speak French very well, and trying to understand the curator was very difficult. I realized how much more businesslike we tended to be in New York. Maybe a shop would be open, and maybe they wouldn’t.

“The job lasted from October to November of 1977. We finished around Thanksgiving. I didn’t think too much about the holiday, since I wasn’t in America. But three British fellows I was working with were determined to celebrate with me. They found a place that served Thanksgiving dinner, and we couldn’t get a table until 9:30. I’ll never forget what I saw when we arrived: every expat in Paris was there.”