In a bid for the spectacular, some fashion brands fill their front-row seats with bold-faced names. Others construct entire airline terminals in the Grand Palais — as Chanel did Tuesday for its Paris ready-to-wear show. For L.A.-based designer Sue Wong, the twice-yearly runway shows have become her chance to stage multipart happenings that definitely put the spectacle in spectacular, including (but not limited to) musical performances, theatrical dancing, the bestowal of an award on the designer and lots and lots of her gloriously embellished gowns topped with towering headpieces.
The presentation of Wong’s spring and summer 2016 Alchemy & Masquerade runway collection Monday night at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, the opening show on the Art Hearts Fashion Week calendar (and the de facto kickoff of Los Angeles fashion week), was no exception, beginning with a glowing introduction by actor Max Ryan (“Sex and the City 2”) and the presentation of a plaque and proclamation from the California Assembly congratulating her for a beautiful spring/summer 2016 collection and thanking her for showing her collection in Los Angeles.
That was followed by yet another honor — this one bestowed by H.H. Prince Waldemar Schaumburg-Lippe (a great-grandson of Denmark’s King Frederick VIII) on behalf of his family. “I have met many queens in Denmark and Europe,” his highness said to Wong, “because I am related to them. But you are a fashion queen.” Then Waldemar’s son, actor/director/TV presenter Prince Mario-Max Schaumberg-Lippe, as a prelude to the show, donned a mask and cape and proceeded to leap, spin and swirl about the runway to Harajuku’s techno-dance version of “Phantom of the Opera.”
That’s when the 79-look runway show got underway in earnest, a parade of intricately beaded gowns, glittery sheaths and embellished cocktail dresses, many looks accessorized with the kind of fantastical towering headdresses familiar from past seasons. The standout pieces of the collection were a handful of black-and-white dresses that riffed on Art Deco with sharp geometric designs playing off the soft fabrics and female form.