Asai, spring 2018 – text by Silvia Bombardini

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Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,


Stereotypes do ever so often find their way to the runway these days, it’s sometimes hard to tell where real life ends and the show begins. This too is a sign of our times: realism has fully replaced escapism, and subjective thresholds suit us just fine. A first-generation Londoner whose parents hail from Vietnam, A Sai Ta’s FORTune FORtUne collection for the coming spring plays with the building blocks of cultural performativity – tweaked western classics and a panasian mashup of silks and sensibilities. Guests are welcomed with fortune cookies, goldfish and dragons abound. Tailored pinstripe bottoms come tied to the leg with ivory kimono sashes and ribbons, meanwhile a ‘interlocking embroidery’ technique translates to fabric the complex formation of composite identities. To wander this territory in days of Brexit is surely not a coincidence. As Britain further isolates itself, Ta zooms in to, in press-release words, “China, the world power”. It’s a mighty China seen from the perspective of worried but intrigued westerners, somehow post-apocalyptic and sexy at once. Denim and Burberry-like checks are shredded – heels are high, tight-high boots higher, and higher still the slit on a vinyl sleek skirt. Think Wong Kar-wai’s 2046. Ta’s girls are donned up in golden jewellery, and carry their handbags with confrontational flair, as if they were weapons. They were, in fact, inspired by weapons: the nunchaku, widely used in Okinawan kobudō and karate, and popularised in the western world by the likes of Bruce Lee.


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