Vivienne Tam is no stranger to infusing luxe Ready-to-Wear with Eastern influences. But while she cited the ancient cave frescoes of Dunhuang, China as a source of inspiration, her Fall 2014 collection was more Studio 54 than Silk Road.
The show opened against a psychedelic backdrop to the beats of what could be the soundtrack for a Quentin Tarantino movie, setting the tone for the 70's glam that followed. I have to admit I never would have picked up on the Dunhuang reference based solely on seeing the collection; the translation wasn't literal, but resulted in a beautiful mix of mod prints instead. Tam was fearless in her application, pairing the prints and even layering them over (sometimes matching) graphic tights. Using a palette of bright jewel tone greens, oranges, burgundies, and blues, the pieces were intricately worked with crocheted lace appliqués and metallic accents, and even the solid-colored pieces were detailed with intricate laser-cut designs. Granted all of this put together might sound way too trippy, but - combined with Tam's refined styling - it works in a time when fashion is about breaking all the rules. (Remember the one about not being "matchy"? Boom.)
Tam also incorporated a lot of leather and wool into her Fall 2014 collection and while these materials are expected for the season, I especially loved how she presented a sort of role reversal in her application. Dresses, skirts, and even chic culottes with pockets were constructed out of leather, creating rich solids to balance out the prints. Heavy, textured wool coats added even more dimension and were in keeping with the 70's glamour, as did a large black fur vest and the chunky heels that were paired with most of the looks. I could have done without the fur scarves that were sprinkled throughout, however, as they didn't offer anything special and detracted from the unique details for which Tam has so much talent.