Silk Road Style: Vivienne Tam's Autumn/Winter 2016 Collection Meshes Modernity With Ancient Asian Cultures

    Cultural influence in Vivienne Tam's Autumn/Winter 2016 collection at New York Fashion Week ranged from Xinjiang in Western China to Turkey, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
    Jing Daily
    Jessica RappAuthor
      Published   in Fashion
    A look from Vivienne Tam's Autumn/Winter 2016 collection at New York Fashion Week. (All photos by Dan Lecca)
    A look from Vivienne Tam's Autumn/Winter 2016 collection at New York Fashion Week. (All photos by Dan Lecca)

    Vivienne Tam is known for, among many other things, her role in innovative designs that merge fashion and tech. In 2015 she collaborated with independent Chinese fashion brand Zeuse to create a handbag that could charge an iPhone. And at her autumn/winter 2014 show at New York Fashion Week, she partnered with Chinese mobile app WeChat so that followers could get exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, while guests received iPhone 5/5S cases decorated with prints from her collection. At this season's NYFW show at at the Ark at Moynihan Station, however, there was no sign of Tam's digital prowess. Instead, the designer stuck to her mission in fashion—bridging the East and West. Her influences stemmed from the "modern-day Silk Road" trade route, borrowing from symbols belonging to indigenous cultures from Xinjiang in Western China, Central Asia, Turkey, and Russia.

    The pieces made up a collection of deep reds and earthy tones mixed in with metallics, accentuated with striking patchwork design and embroidery. Most outfits feature a relaxed silhouette, with flowing, floor length coats reminiscent of intricate tapestries, chunky neutral knits that pair polka dots with ikat-inspired patterns, billowing pants, and pleated skirts. Attention to detail, like the rainbow of parasol flowers stitched on black mesh in one floor-length gown, and the careful mix of color with fabrics and materials—leather, wool, suede, sequins, and even recycled fabrics dominate—bring the whole collection together.

    To round things off, Vivienne Tam collaborated with Joy & Peace, a footwear brand owned by Belle International Holdings Ltd., which serves Greater China. The primarily black suede leather pumps and ankle boots, some of which featured a Chinese "fire cloud" embroidered embellishment, will soon be available both in China and the United States.

    Below are more looks from the show, and Vivienne Tam is also keeping followers updated on behind-the-scenes looks on her Instagram and WeChat accounts.

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