After eight months of gruelling hard work, six emerging designers from three countries battled it out for the coveted top spot at the Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award 2017, held in collaboration with Swarovski at Singapore Fashion Week. For one spectacular night, with all eyes and the spotlight on their creations, the NewGen designers showed just what it takes to rise to the top.
Clothes, Phua Chun Huen.
Shoes, stylist’s own
shoes, stylist’s own
THEERATAT THANINBENJAKUL, THAILAND
Italy’s Cimitero Monumentale di Milano set the designer on a path to capture its beauty, resulting in a contemporary collection ﬁlled with lots of shine, masculine tailoring and feminine rues.
Clothes, Joanna Lim
JOANNA LIM, SINGAPORE
Lim based her collection around the womenfolk of Li Basadung, who tattoo themselves as a rite of passage to adulthood. Lim’s exploration of identity then saw her turn her own ﬁngerprint into an abstract motif.
Clothes, Michelle Tjong
MICHELLE TJONG, INDONESIA
Together with oversized kimono-inspired jackets, sheer layers and palazzo pants, Tjong’s liberal use of white in her collection heralded the state of Zen.
You can almost smell the anticipation in the air—or is that Le Labo’s Santal 33?—while the excited clicks of red-heeled Louboutins and glitter Jimmy Choos on the polished marble floors of the National Gallery Singapore echo through the room. It’s a less than usual scent and sound for these hallowed halls. But then, it is the first day of Singapore Fashion Week and the fashion crowd—including Instagram star Nicole Warne (a.k.a. @garypeppergirl), who has flown in specially to lend her support—has turned up in full regalia to support the Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award 2017.
Held in collaboration with Swarovski, the regional competition is the only one of its kind to be spearheaded by a media masthead in a bid to discover Southeast Asia’s new wave of emerging fashion talents. And after months of mentoring sessions and hard work refining their collections, six names from Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore have come together to compete for the top prize. Melding originality and creativity with commercial viability, their designs convinced the judges that they have the acumen and drive to be the next Asian designer to keep on the radar.
Back at the competition, as the lights dim down and the designs make their way down the runway, guests are treated to a showcase that drips with ingenuity and fresh perspectives across genres. From the frilly flounces on Victorian-style dresses to sporty bomber jackets bursting with an urban vibe, the show worked as a reminder of the breadth of talent to be found within our region. In the end, it was Singapore’s very own Phua Chun Huen who clinched the top prize, thanks to a sophisticated collection that showed denim in a new light through innovative fabric manipulation, sharp tailoring and modern silhouettes. (Even Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Ministry of Trade and Industry, Sim Ann, was heard marvelling at his innovative play on the fabric from her front-row seat). He walks away with a Master’s degree scholarship at the prestigious Istituto Marangoni in London, $10,000 cash, and $15,000 worth of Swarovski products.
“Initially, it was stressful but I told myself that I did not want to finish this race without putting up a good fight. I never expected to win, so, after the announcement, I was surprised, delighted and extremely grateful to the Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore team for being there with me from the start of this incredible journey, and rooting for me till the very end,” says Phua of his win.
“With each year of our NewGen Fashion Award, we see a new breed of designers rising up the ranks with creations that show a clear understanding of what is needed to survive in this fast-paced world of fashion,” says Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore and panel judge Kenneth Goh. “I am so happy that the eventual winner, Phua Chun Huen, represents the new face of Asian fashion with designs that combine craftsmanship, modernity and urban spirit. Most importantly, he has a willingness and openness to learn everything he can from the Master’s degree programme at the Istituto Marangoni—and that hunger and thirst for knowledge are what make him the perfect candidate for this win.”
Clothes, Wivat Khamgat.
Accessories; shoes, stylist’s own
WIVAT KHAMGAT, THAILAND
The designer outﬁtted his vision of the modern Alice in plenty of romantic lace, frills and embellishments, with a distinct vintage and thrift store aesthetic.
Models: Faith V;
Choi Ji Seon; Han Seok Yeon;
Monique D; Kyiona C/
The Nu Management
Hair: Junz Loke/
Hairloom using Kevin Murphy
Makeup: Manisa Tan/
PaletteInc using YSL Beaute
Styling assistant: Gracia Phang
Fashion intern: Nur Shahﬁqah Bte Muhd Sukor
ALIFIA MAQNUUN, INDONESIA
Sportswear took on a utilitarian spin with plenty of laced-up details and unﬁnished hems. The piece de resistance of the collection? An oversized coat that is the perfect combination of parka and bomber jacket.
Clothes, Aliﬁa Maqnuun. Accessories; shoes, stylist’s own
WINNER: PHUA CHUN HUEN, SINGAPORE
Denim is given a new lease of life with Phua’s winning collection. He showed o his mastery of textile manipulation by laminating and felting the everyday fabric with unexpected materials.
By Charmaine Ho and Gerald Tan. Photographed by Gan. Styled by Windy Aulia