ryan lo’s chinatown looks bring good fortune for fall/winter 16
Channeling the spirit of Mulan, this collection is for all the girls who stole their father’s armor, ran away from home, and looked fabulous throughout it all.
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans
There are two great days in a person's life: the day we are born and the day we prove why we are born. Ryan Lo was born to spin blossom-colored fantasy worlds out of tulle and sweet thoughts, and the Hong Kong-born, London-based designer has proved it time and time again.
Past seasons have seen the Fashion East alumni fill the Barbie shaped hole in our adult lives by introducing us to gun-slinging frou-frou females, SATC pool-party mermaids, Frozen-inspired ice princesses, and cozy bedtime beauties.
With each collection comes a newly evolved girl with a different career and accessories to match. Yesterday, to the strains of "Reflection" from Disney's Mulan, our favorite pink-haired designer presented us with an offering of pretty Chinatown princesses.
While his heroines were as super-cute as ever -- dressed in busy florals and sweaters sporting bunnies, butterflies, and tiger motifs -- Isamaya Ffrench's double-flick eye makeup brought a glimmer of not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman elegance to the party. Silks and tulle reigned supreme, and as the bejeweled lovelies walked under the magnificent Gary Card-designed archways, ribbons tied around their long ponytails flowed behind them.
Backstage, Ryan politely declined photo requests from the flurry of fashion journalists but obliged his mother, who has taken a trip over from his native Hong Kong to see the show and has been standing proudly across the room watching him and the post-show rush (she wears her very own patterned pink sweater from the collection). In just seven seasons, her son has gone from young graduate to one of London's most popular designers, where he continues to make shimmering waves in the fashion world with his handcrafted fantasies.
We congratulate an exhausted Ryan, share his front-row gift of White Rabbit milk candies, and ask what on earth he's going to do with the set, presuming that he'll construct some sort of Disney castle from it in which he will live happily ever after. "I don't know… do you want to steal it?" I mean… basically. "Take it if you can! The set, the press release, the goodie bag, the invitation…. everything is pink! It's a bit like we're in candyworld."
Ten years deep in London life, and Ryan has been reflecting on his Chinese heritage. "I kind of imagined myself as Mulan, away from home. Almost like I'm soul searching." And while the Disney character of Mulan wonders when her reflection will show who she is inside, Ryan looks within himself to find happiness. "I found it now because we're all finished for the season!" he jokes.
With her head held high and her fox-rabbit-hybrid faux-fur stole thrown over an arm, he imagines this season's girl is "just hanging out in Chinatown… probably going for hotpot at the amazing place she just discovered a few weeks ago." And for Valentine's Day last weekend? "She worked. She worked in a Chinese takeaway." Getting chatted up by everyone but being shy to do anything about it? "Exactly."
Text Francesca Dunn
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans