OR by Angela Chen enchants at LGFW FW 2011
The OR by Angela Chen girl of FW11 is a plucky free spirit. That is, in comparison to her buttoned-up counterpart - the office-chic OR girl of FW10. Chen's fall collection is considerably chilled out, steering away from the crisp sophistication of last year's Fashion Week debut. It even lacked much tie-in to Chen's spring collection of watery boho dresses. I'm not saying it's a bad thing.
I'd like to think that Chen is feeling things out while exploring her inner Martha Stewart. And there's the common thread! She's taken to crafting before - hand-dyed fabric of SS11 and last year's loose-knit cape (also by made hand) were only the beginning. Yesterday, a parade of models (yes, nearly every one of them) donned pieces (or in some cases, entire looks) knit by Chen's very own ten fingers. The result was a collection with a one-of-a-kind quality - that human-error kind of raw that is somehow so appealing.
One of the few non-knit pieces was an immediate wish-list addition - a mini-dress in wide horizontal black and white stripes with long puff sleeves. Most of the collection, however, lacked a wearable quality. A grey wool knit bodysuit peeking out under shorts hardly qualifies as winter-appropriate, and the between-the-legs itch-factor is just too risky in any season. The itty-bitty pieces in super-warm fabrics were adorable on runway models, but don't hold much practicality for day-to-day. Airy knits swooped off of shoulders and slouched sexily, but would require too much double-sided tape to be functional. Or modest.
While I can't think of a single occasion warranting a chunky knit bustier, I just adored it in black paired with a bouncy tulle skirt. A similar look - purple knit tube top with gold tutu - was just as beautiful. Chen even tugged at my overly-active nostalgia with playful dress-up pieces (French maids!) and fairy tale nods (Little Red - er, White - Riding Hood!). Finishing touches included bouncy, curly bobbed hair and pops of rich purple. Oh! I was enchanted.
Does OR by Angela Chen's FW11 collection translate to the everyday? Maybe not. But fantasies rarely do. The gorgeous styling (and my gosh, the hours of impressive handiwork!) made for a show that was all at once whimsical and sexy, and by far one of my favourites of the week.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak