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Vivienne Tam

On the heels of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, which included a selection of pieces from Vivienne Tam’s archive, one might expect the designer to go all-out with Chinese iconography and embellishments in her new collection. Not so: “I wanted everything to feel really clean,” she said during a preview at her Mercer Street store. In contrast to the colorful, densely embroidered Spring ’15 dresses hanging nearby, Resort was architectural, minimal, and a little sporty, right down to the flat foam sandals. Crisp shift dresses, khaki culottes, and knife-pleated miniskirts were Tam’s idea of takeaway clothes, but she sharpened them up with Chinese lattice cutouts, tiny mandarin collars, and strips of poppy red. Those were the only real nods to China here; besides craving simplicity in her own wardrobe, Tam understands that her customers need variety, too. That being said, we’d venture to guess that lots of women who see the Met exhibit will get a sudden urge to try on one of Tam’s most decadent, ornately embroidered dresses.

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