From The Straits Times    |

Singapore Fashion Week 2013: AFF 2013 and Blueprint 2013

SINGAPORE – Her brand first started making headlines and being acclaimed for her re-inventions of the cheongsam, since the label’s inception in 2010. Now with her Ong Shunmugam Autumn Winter 2013 collection, Singapore fashion designer Priscilla Shunmugam proves that she’s capable of so much more.

Presented on May 18, 2013, as part of the Future Fashion Now x Parco Japan showcase, Shunmugam not only marks a career milestone in showing at the Audi Fashion Festival, she’s also making bold strides forward in developing the signature style of her label.

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Ong Shunmugam Autumn-Winter 2013 at Audi Fashion Festival 2013

Titled “Whenever I Fall at Your Feet”, the Ong Shunmugam Autumn Winter 2013 collection is inspired by the iconic buildings of Singapore; including the striking Central Fire Station at Hill Street.

Shunmugam says that “every single piece here is designed and dedicated to an old building in Singapore”, when we spoke to her earlier at the Blueprint Tradeshow. Besides the common celebration of local heritage, the architectural inspiration is happily, far from literal in the Autumn-Winter line.

In what has now become her signature, the “print-on-print” look continues to pervade her collection, this time with fresh new silhouettes.

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In a mish-mash of cultural influences, the dresses and skirts are kept distinctly Asian with her use of traditional textiles of the region – you’ll spot Thai songket brocade, Indonesian batik, kimono fabric as well as other vintage materials on the designs of this Ong Shunmugam collection.

At the same time, Shunmugam has become more experimental with her choice of silhouettes for Autumn Winter 2013. She’s eschewed her usual preference for beautiful symmetry (most prominently seen in her Spring Summer 2013 line) for asymmetrical sleeves and skirts, angular edges, as well as occasionally “jarring” mixtures of prints.

The designer has also veered away from “re-inventing” a classical Asian costume like the cheongsam, kebaya or sari, as the starting point of her designs. Shunmugam has chosen to stylise elements of traditional Asian costumes instead, adding these features as the finishing touches to her dresses.

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As seen on the finale look on the runway (far left in the image above), the angular edges of the sleeves and skirt is matched with a sewn-on “belt” that resembles a obi board. While it’s hard to pinpoint an exact source of inspiration, the Asian-style influence is clear.

Through her artful adaptations, it could even be argued that Shunmugam is on her way to creating a distinctly new “costume” that embraces the best of traditional fashion of the region; a new type of formal wear for the stylish women of today.

It also reflects Ong’s growing confidence as a designer – perhaps the beginnings of even greater things to come.

To add another proverbial feather to her cap, Shunmugam will also soon exhibit her Autumn-Winter 2013 at the National Museum. Fans and admirers of the brand will be able to find out more about the collection in detail at this upcoming exhibition, to be held in July 2013.

Ong Shunmugam Autumn Winter 2013 was shown as part of the Future Fashion Now x Parco Japan showcase on May 18, 2013 at Audi Fashion Festival 2013.

For more information on Ong Shunmugam, visit Follow Ong Shunmugam on Facebook and Twitter for more updates from the label.

The Audi Fashion Festival 2013 is held at The Tent@Marina Promenade at Marina Promenade Turn, behind the Singapore Flyer from May 15 to May 19, 2013. For more information, go to, or follow Audi Fashion Festival on Twitter and Facebook.