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Beyond the Bale : December 2017
Models led on by famous model-actress Coco Chiang, all wearing Australian Merino wool cheongsams at the Hong Kong Knitwear Symphony trade event. AWI’s subsidiary, The Woolmark Company, has partnered with emerging Hong Kong- based fashion label Yi-ming to create a series of Merino wool cheongsams. A cheongsam, or qípáo, is a form of stylish traditional dress, usually made from silk, first made fashionable by socialites and upper-class women. By taking part in the collaboration, AWI aims to build demand for Australian wool in the premium cheongsam market – a new market for wool that has not traditionally used a lot of the fibre. Yi-ming’s Merino wool collection ‘Peach Blossom.Haze’ was launched at the annual Knitwear Symphony trade event, with renowned model-actress Coco Chiang and actress Corinna Chamberlain walking the runway to show-off the modernised garments, which beautifully highlight the versatility of Merino wool. More than 1,500 attendees (included knitwear manufacturers, buyers, designers, suppliers and media) were at the launch. Yi-ming founder/designer Grace Choi – a former model – reinterpreted the traditional cheongsam with lightweight superfine Merino wool fabric and a modern silhouette to highlight the female figure, choosing a colour palette of grey, pink and aquamarine. “We are thrilled to team up with The Woolmark Company for the ‘Peach Blossom. Haze’ collection,” said Grace. “Merino wool is extremely fine and soft. Its natural elasticity and breathability takes our contemporary cheongsam design to the next level. The collection inherits the legacy of Chinese traditional cheongsam, while demonstrating the Oriental beauty of the modern woman.” The Woolmark Company connected Hong Kong-based knitwear designers’ society Arte Knit with Yi-ming for the construction of the cheongsams. This is the first time the two have worked with each other on Merino wool versions of the traditional dress. “Right from the design phase, we experienced interesting reactions for keeping traditional elements of the cheongsam with innovative design ideas,” said Arte Knit Director, Hong Kong- based fashion label Yi-ming has added a modern twist to a classical dress, creating traditional cheongsams out of superfine Australian Merino wool. Cat Lam. “Wool’s natural elasticity and superb drape made it a suitable fibre for achieving the perfect fit of the cheongsam. “We appreciated the technical support by the knitting factory and the engagement of The Woolmark Company’s product development team to make this project successful.” Wool’s innate benefits including next-to- skin softness, superb drape and excellent breathability help elevate this traditional form of dress into an elegant, luxury item. “This unique cheongsam collection is made of Australian Merino wool, which is known for its exceptional quality, beauty and fineness,” added AWI Country Manager for Hong Kong Alex Lai. “The combination of Merino wool and cheongsam challenges the traditional perceptions of the fibre, and we hope it can draw the attention and interest of the local fashion industry and consumers.” An item from the Yi-ming 2017 Knitwear Cheongsam Collection made from Australian Merino wool. Asymmetric cutting and contrasting colours with different stitches are a feature of this particular cheongsam. 18 OFF FARM