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Mon, May 27, 2013
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Highs and lows of Audi Fashion Fest 2013
by Rohaizatul Azhar & Leslie Kay Lim

HIGHS

MORE ASIAN MODELS
A record number of Asian models walked at this year's Audi Fashion Festival. Of the approximately 70 participating models, 24 were from Singapore, China, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea, up from 10 last year.

All of the headlining international designers - Hussein Chalayan, Carolina Herrera and Peter Pilotto - used Asian models.

For example, two-thirds of the 21 models who walked for Chalayan's closing show were Asian.

BIGGER, BETTER BLUEPRINT
Visitors to Blueprint Emporium, the shopping component of the Blueprint trade show under Asia Fashion Exchange, got a much more comfortable environment to shop in this year.

The Pit Building offered more space and plenty of changing rooms in each hall, so shoppers, whose numbers hit more than 10,000 this year, did not have to wait more than five minutes to try something on.

At last year's location at Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, there was only one area for changing rooms, which were located far from the booths, and shoppers had to wait longer for their turns.

Visitors also got to rest their feet and nosh on baked goods at a temporary Tiong Bahru Bakery at the Pit Building.

NEW FESTIVAL GROUNDS
While it was no longer at Ngee Ann City in the heart of Orchard Road, the Asia Fashion Exchange's new location at the Marina Promenade did not disappoint. Situated on the waterfront and across from Marina Bay Sands as well as Gardens By The Bay, the new venue was especially scenic at night.

The Audi Fashion Festival tent was much more spacious this year - 40 per cent larger than the previous one at Ngee Ann City's Civic Plaza. Showgoers could mingle comfortably and rub shoulders with celebrities, including Fann Wong and Rui En, as well as the who's who of the local fashion scene, such as designer Jo Soh of Hansel and fashion director Daniel Boey.

Blueprint, the Exchange's tradeshow and shopping event, was held a stone's throw away from the tent at the Pit Building.

This made it convenient for guests to spend the afternoon shopping before the evening festivities started.

LOWS

DESIGUAL'S CHEAP STUNT
Desigual's fall/winter 2013 collection was centred on love but the show producers took the theme to the next level when a male and a female model lunged into a steamy make-out session that seemed to last an eternity.

While the little antic got some members of the audience hooting and cheering, others were uncomfortable with the public display of affection. Some gasped in mock horror as the steamy kiss continued while the other models paraded the rest of the collection.

Needless to say, not many really paid attention to the clothes as they were too fixated on the cheap thrill happening in the middle of the runway.

SLEEPY SOUNDTRACK
While the signature light layers, cute prints and draped pieces from Jun Okamoto were beautiful and inspired appreciative murmurs from show-goers, some were unimpressed by the choice of runway music.

The soundtrack for the show was produced by local band Aspidistrafly. Coupled with the languid and glacial pace at which the models were walking, the show had an overall sleepy vibe.

Sure, the fall/winter 2013 collection told the story of a boy who fell in love with a beautiful stranger but the melancholic music was a distraction.

NO-SHOW OF TOP LOCAL MODELS
Singapore's top models Sheila Sim and Vivien Ong have had their faces plastered all over town on advertisements for Audi Fashion Festival. However, when it came to the actual five-day event, they were noticeably absent on the catwalk.

Sim walked only in London-based Singaporean designer Ashley Isham's show, which she opened for. Her only other high-profile appearance was in the front row at Carolina Herrera's show. This was a complete turnaround from last year, when she walked in 11 shows. Ong, who is based in New York City, did not return to Singapore for the festival. AFF organisers cited their busy schedules as the reason for their lack of presence.

While it is understandable that other pursuits, such as acting and designing (in Sim's case), as well as walking in international fashion shows, can take up their time, it would have been nice to see the home-grown models at the biggest fashion event in Singapore.

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