Clothes in action at high-end city mall

13:12, April 14, 2010      

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Customers who walk into Beijing's high-end shopping mall Park Life might find something strange there. Besides Cartier, Giorgio Armani and Hermes giant stores, they will be attracted by clothes floating in the air against a backdrop of multi-faceted mirrors in the hall.

A Hermes shirt and short pants combo seems to be jumping. Elegant and graceful, a Shanghai Tang cheongsam-like robe is standing, arms akimbo, while a Bottega Veneta long dress sits in the hall, lost in thought.

This is an installation art exhibition, Vogue Magazine Alive.

Hosted by fashion magazine Vogue, it was first held in Japan in 2009. When clothing brand Comme De Garcons founder and head designer Kawakubo Rei was doing up her Tokyo store, exclusively for limited-edition products, Vogue invited Murakami Takashi to do its interior design, and Chanel's head Karl Lagerfield to dress up the shop windows.

Since last May, the store interior has been changed every month, in keeping with Vogue Nippon's fashion pictures. For example, Murakami uses small flowers to decorate the second floor to match the magazine's cartoon-themed photos, giving it a young and girlie look. He also introduces a range of cartoon-themed, limited edition t-shirts.

Later Versace, Marc Jacobs, and Hedi Slimane added their ideas.

Architect Wang Hui was chosen to orchestrate a similar project in China.

"We want to turn two-dimensional fashion photos into three-dimensional installations. That is why we chose an architect. Besides, Wang is fashionable," Angelica Cheung, editorial director of Vogue China, says.

Wang, who has designed Today Art Museum, MIMA Caf and had a role in planning 798 Art District, certainly knows something about fashion.

He compares the shopping mall to a fashion magazine. "Each installation is a page. When you are window-shopping, it's like turning the pages of a beautiful magazine. The only difference is, here the magazine is three-dimensional," he says.

"A lot of Vogue's fashion shoots are photoshop-ed. But when I make them three-dimensional, I can't use the software. So I need to pay more attention to the details. When a customer takes a closer look, he or she will see every little detail of the clothes - the cuts, the colors, and the lines."

The ambience in a shopping mall was another challenge.

"As the shopping mall is colorful and dazzling, it distracts people's attention. That's why I used multi-faceted mirrors as a backdrop of each installation. When customers walk by, their images might attract their attention."

To those who see this as just another promotional campaign, Cheung says: "All the clothes exhibited are wearable. We don't recommend strange clothes that cannot be worn. Second, they are works of art. Finally, if a customer is inspired to buy a product after seeing it in the form of an installation, it is a bonus."

Wang uses a lot of tees, off-shoulders and small shirts to indicate spring is on its way. Cheung, however, did not buy any. "I wish he had gone in for more colorful pieces instead of just black, dark blue and gray," she says.

Source: China Daily/Agencies


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