EFW 09: Should Kloset Remain In The Closet?


The last show did not come up on top. It did not lag behind, neither did it forge ahead. With its retro leanings, Kloset appeared to have remained in the brand’s silk-paved comfort zone without budging an inch. It did not swoop, it did not swerve, and it did not sway from the predictable; it did not stir up a thing.

The collection was called “Reminiscence”, but what were they reviving? From the catwalk’s art deco backdrop of a Paris Metro entrance, it seemed the designers were harking back to the Jazz Age, affirmed, as the show went on, by the presence of a dark-skinned model styled to vaguely resemble Josephine Baker. But there were no other icons—no Louise Brooks, and the designs of the clothes did not stay put in the Roaring Twenties. In fact, they jumped to the following decade, and then leapfrogged to the present era, and then backspaced to the starting point, where I was expecting someone to break into the Charleston.

Kloset has always produced vintage-y clothes that look like they are based on old home sewing patterns, with the kind of prints that remind me of those that used to fill closets—grandma’s closet. It would be charming for young girls to play dressed-up, but for dressed-up older girls to play young, that would be as delightful as the Angela Merkel Barbie doll.

What Kloset fans came to see, they saw. The team of designers, led by founder Mollika Ruangkritya, enthusiastically churned out detail-heavy hippie dresses, chemise dresses, wrap dresses, and between them, some pajama-pants and tulip skirts, just in case or for variety. As expected, there were the prints—busy as usual—that brought forth the remark “narak” from my camera-totting neighbour. Cute, I did not see, but repetition I did. The patterns on dresses appearing again on bags the models were carrying had the same freshness as Hello Kitty on a coffee mug.

On this walk down memory lane, I could not quite make out the Kloset woman. Was she the one in a black cocktail dress (with an odd, beige, vintage shoulder bag), carrying a cup of coffee, and a copy of Financial Times secured under her arm(pit)? Or was she the white-haired octogenarian ambling assisted in a knee-length dress worn under a dark loose coat? Despite the mixed gaggle of girls on stage, I suspected she to be an ardent reader of paperbacks from Little Black Dress Books (with titles such as Handbags and Homicide!), who has “a penchant for purchasing very pretty but completely impractical shoes”.

If these were clothes that give personality and power to the individual, I was also thinking of Canon girl, Paula Taylor or the Chic Channel CJ Maria: grown women who dress like their dolls.


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