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PARIS Spring 2004

By Sedef Kokcuoglu
Photographs by Roger Mesquita

"Good design is always on a tightrope of bad taste" Coco Chanel once opined, and I myself have seen many talented geniuses create collections that left a bad taste in my mouth. Hence when I glimpsed Sue Wong's handout, which read, "The Sue Wong collections for Fall 2003 represent ideas drawn from some of the most powerful iconic images and ancient philosophies that have existed throughout the fabric of time" I was perplexed. I felt that Wong, who is a renowned designer, might have set herself up for failure. I was skeptical that the collection would be mature and complete, given the broad nature of its theme. However, I was mistaken. Outfit after outfit Wong impressed and surprised me. Whether Wong was paying tribute to the "Jazz Age Baby," the "50's Cocktail Sweetheart," the "Spanish Flamenco Dancer"
or the "Proper English Lady," she was doing so in style. Her elaborate designs, which utilized detail oriented beading, hand painting and appliqué, constituted the backbone of the collection, but what really made the collection complete was Wong's ability to bring it all together. In this collection the designer (her vision, passion and creativity), the design (fabric, cut, color, construction) and the idea of "celebrating the Goddess" all came together to form a solid, exquisite and sophisticated whole. I especially give praise to Wong's beaded evening dresses in which she layered different types of colored fabrics on top of one another to create optical illusions. On the whole, I believe Wong could not have better timed a collection that drew its inspiration from a diverse set of cultures ranging from Far Eastern to European. At a time when the world is so divided along ethnic and religious fault lines, it is inspiring to see an artist embrace different civilizations and peoples.

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