Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
For a collection said to have been inspired by the postcard exoticism of the Middle East, seen through the rose-tinted glasses of a Hong Kong childhood, it seems to me that Lo’s leisurely tour – by way of Turkey, Egypt, India – found its real soul all the way over into Italy. Picked up along the way a silky print of Genie and lamp, and a theme, Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles, then jumped on the Orient Express to show up in Venice in a puff of glittery dust. It’s a time of grass-root holidays, here and there both: scheduled for the day after the Harvest Moon Festival in Hong Kong, the show pays a multihued tribute to the Italian Carnevale and the familiar silhouettes of the Commedia dell’Arte – an improvised form of popular theatre, that dates back to the 16th century. Echoes of a time long gone find their way into Lo’s designs, from stiff, ruffled boleros to plumed tricornes, courtesy of Stephen Jones. As do the caricatures’ proportions, most notably in overly long sleeves. The diamond-pattern of Arlecchino makes an appearance, and there are nods to the harem pants of Pulcinella, Pierrot collars. All of the characters are girlified, pinkified in typical Lo fashion: dressed up in scalloped lace and trimmed with feathers, generously coated in shimmer. Those mask types might have once been poor: the hat was big for begging, the diamond-pattern came, traditionally, via a patchwork of rags. But Lo allows them, in their newest performance, all the preciousness and lustre they had long deserved. Costume-y, sure, but to the nines.