Sandy Liang taps into the imaginary for AW21
The designer’s latest offering infuses her favourite childhood outfits with dreamlike details, reimagining them for the downtown girls of today.
Photography Kathy Lo
“The collection is a marriage between what I really wear, and what I wish I could wear,” Sandy Liang says of her autumn/winter 21 offering. Presented at New York Fashion Week digitally, via lookbook photographed by Kathy Lo and a short film by Mitch Ryan, the downtown designer unveiled her latest offering alongside mood-setting shots of snow and ice in upstate New York. Known for her feminine silhouettes, Sandy’s past collections have been inspired by everything from Marie Antoinette to Sailor Moon, and this season’s ethereal look to fairytales of yesteryear is no different. The wearability, however, is slightly different, but this season the designer invites us to leave that all behind and play dress up. Who needs a functional dress code in 2021, anyway?
The real standouts are Sandy’s tulle ballerina-like pieces — a sweeping skirt, babydoll top and sheer layered dress — where she lets her imagination run free. The flowing garments are topped with velvety rosettes and tied up whimsically with thick ribbons, for a look that’s “super dreamy, yet attainable”. Fittingly, the looks are paired with sheer knee socks and the designer’s first shoe, a pair of square-toed Mary Janes for the Sandy Liang girl who’s daydreaming about Degas on the subway while running errands downtown.
Of course, Sandy’s now-signature twinsets, cut-out dresses — midi-length and gingham for day, sleek, body-hugging for night — puffers (“My love for puffers is as deep as the pockets I put in them to serve as my winter purse,” she says) and coveted fleeces get their due too. There’s even a quarter zip-up fleece dress, with a full skirt, that’s well-suited for the Zoom lifestyle, but as we round out a dull year working from home, a tulle dress, inspired by one of Sandy’s own from childhood that she wore to her second grade piano recital, seems equally fitting for everyday too.
“I finally feel like it’s okay to dream a bit more, and not always look to and design for what’s right in front of you,” the designer says of making her AW21 collection. “It’s okay to heighten the mood, play with emotions, make things that don’t conventionally make sense. To take yourself, or I guess, myself, not too seriously.” We might be stuck sitting at our desks, but we could all use a trip to Sandy Liang’s dream world.