Clockwise from left, models present a collection by Siem Reap-based designer Eric Raisina; Raisina is applauded by the audience at the end of his show; models backstage during a preview of Filipino designer Don Protasio’s spring collection on Saturday night; and Fashion Week organisers face an uphill battle to co-ordinate several events each day. Derek Stout
Cambodia’s first ever Fashion Week kicked off last Thursday with a succession of parties, exhibit-ons and blockbuster runway shows drawing large crowds – a trend its organisers hope will continue throughout the 10-day festival.
The “week” began gent-ly with the launch of The Art of Fashion exhibition at Romeet Gallery on Thursday night before kicking up a notch with runway shows by designers Eric Raisina and Don Protasio.
Raisna, who received a last- minute invitation to show his collection at the Fashion Week launch party on Diamond Island, told the Post several of his pieces were inspired by the rare Black Orchid plant found only in his birthplace, Madagascar.
“The show was really beaut-iful. I was very happy with the Cambodian models; they were absolutely stunning.
“I had three or four themes throughout the show. I started my collection with many black outfits, which is not usually my colour.
“I was inspired by the black orchid from Madagascar; it’s the only island in the world where it’s found. I’ve never seen one, but it’s always been a fascination of mine.”
Despite misprinted invi-tations that caused large crowds of people flock to see Raisina’s show on the wrong night, the designer said he was happy with the reception he received.
He noted that the show offered him the chance to display clothing made at his Siem Reap workshop before a live Cambodian audience, rather than at international shows.
“Some of the most diverse pieces we had were bags and accessories, as well as a collection of wedding-type dresses that were almost red carpet and very sophisticated. I’m keen to use all Cambodian silk in my collect-ions; most of the weaving, crocheting and dyeing of the fabric is done in Siem Reap.”
A joint production by the Cambodian Fashion Council and Star Events, Fashion Week encompasses a rolling series of runway shows mixed in with film screenings, shopping trips and a Halloween masquerade ball, which has left its organisers little time to relax.
Speaking ahead of a show by Colorblind and Waterlily at the Phnom Penh Railway Station last night, co-organiser Teia Rogers was hopeful that the relentless pace would ease as the week went on.
“The rehearsal for Colorblind and Waterlily was the smoothest day we’ve had so far . . . both labels are doing very interesting things. Waterlily in particular is focused on really extravagant jewellery and body pieces resembling armour.”
Tonight’s show promises to be no less interesting, with Sentosa Silk previewing a clothing range with figures from Angkorian-era myths and legends weaved into the fabric, before Fashion Week’s Masquerade Ball gets under way accompanied by live music and generous helpings of champagne.