Not your average Chinese New Year outfits: we found cheongsams and qipaos we want to wear all year round...
It’s that time of the year again: time to work on your CNY style for all those family reunion dinners and get-togethers… or just get into the vibe of Chinese New Year, your way. It isn’t ALL about red though (you don’t need to be a walking ang pao). This year, CNY fashion goes well beyond the classic cheongsam with batik, modern jumpsuits and even African fabrics thrown into the mix. Here are our fave local (and almost local) brands injecting a bit of edge into the festivities this year.
Bow down: Priscilla Shunmugam is a queen of Singapore’s fashion scene whose talent can’t be denied. We’re big fans of her aesthetic: at once elegant, modern and accessible, always blending exotic elements that make her pieces so distinctive. Her Cheongsam 2019 collection (hello, playsuits!) features major frills, dragon prints and oversized orchids in unexpected orange, emerald and cobalt. Swoon. Book an appointment at email@example.com to view the collection yourself in her atelier in Chip Bee Gardens.
Ong Shunmugam; 43 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-76, Singapore 278115
The Missing Piece
What began as a little label with lovely resort-friendly dresses and cute kids’ shirts has quickly evolved into one of the most coveted independent brands for CNY style: it’s all thanks to its signature cut-out jumpsuit with Mandarin-collar. It has a few variations now, as dresses and jumpsuits, which are currently available for pre-order so yes you can still snap one up in time for this season. This year’s CNY collection (pictured top) was inspired by The Majestic Malacca Hotel by YTL Hotels: check out the rather glam and nostalgic range: Charmaine Seah and her little girl Charlie Rose model in the shoot.
The Missing Piece; shop online
If you aren’t following this lovely little brand on Insta yet, you know what to do. Mother and daughter team Mama Yeo and Desleen are behind this label, which is all about handmade batik designs spanning tops, dresses, the cutest jumpsuits and even dungarees. Sizes span UK 6 to UK 18 – and we love that. Check out the mandarin-collar jumpsuits, blue-and-white cheongsams for CNY. Desleen models the designs for their site and on Insta: and she’s giving us so much life right now. There’s loads online (including shirts for guys and designs for kids so start #twinning), but we popped by their studio/boutique to try some pieces on: and trust us, you might suffer from choice paralysis. So many goodies. Psst: There’s a limited collection at Tangs on Orchard until 15 Jan!
YeoMama Batik; The Promenade @ Pelikat, 183 Jalan Pelikat B1-73 Singapore 537643. Open weekends 1-6pm.
Lark & Peony
Another lovely local label, which sells out every year so you’d better be quick. We’re heavily into the retro fabrics, cool colour combinations and the more versatile two-pieces which you can turn into different looks. Most pieces are pre-order: check out this year’s exclusive, limited-edition print Chinatown at Midnight, which we’re loving in all its variations and designs, from dresses to tops with vibrant pompom trims. We’ll make that super fun shirt dress above ours.
Lark & Peony; available online
This Malaysia-based brand caught our eye at Public Garden, courtesy of its relaxed, tropical-friendly collection featuring beautiful block prints and batik. Not strictly for CNY, but giving a nod to the season, its limited collection of batik jackets, shorts and frilled trousers in festive red is just our thing.
Kanoe; available online with shipping to Singapore from $8.50
Not your average qipao here: Olive Ankara’s vibrant wax-print fabrics from Africa bring a cross-cultural twist to your CNY look. We’re a little obsessed with the colours and prints at Olive Ankara: shop online or visit the Tiong Bahru studio for a fitting, but know this: if you spot something you love, snap it up stat. These limited-edition styles are known to sell out in a flash, so we endorse impulse shopping when it comes to this bold brand. Besides, these statement pieces need to brought out well beyond Chinese New Year….
Olive Ankara; 57 Eng Hoon St, #03-82 Tiong Bahru, Singapore 160057
Or have one made…
This beautiful atelier stopped us in our tracks during a recent visit to MOX at Katong Point: the interior looks old-word, but dressmaker Ruixian Hu’s work has an edge. If it’s time you wanted something tailor made, check out Studio HHFZ’s Insta feed for examples of the beautiful pieces being created here. Look closer at the buttons on those dresses: they’re next-level and made of mother-of-pearl, marble and jadeite. And can we just say, we seriously need that cheongsam jumpsuit!
Studio HHFZ; 451 Joo Chiat Rd, #01-04, Singapore 427664
Like this story? Check these out:
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All the CNY rules and superstitions you need to know
Did somebody say reunion dinner? Here are the best Chinese restos in town
And here’s what you should binge watch over the CNY hols