Just in time for Chinese New Year, Vivienne Tam showed a fresh, new collection inspired by hope and change—in some ways, literally, from the man who made the slogan famous: President Obama.
The main highlight of the collection was a pop art inspired “Pop Culture Obama” print, an ultra cool, red and white silk screened print of a joyous, laughing sunglass-clad Obama, complete with a black CSR code. The image was printed on sweaters, a belted Mao military jacket with leather sleeves, and on the lower half of a silk faille shift dress. She told me backstage about how the print came to be, “It just came to me. This hope and humor. It wasn’t about politics, I just wanted a new dialogue. I wanted to dress a woman with heart, who cares about what’s happening in the world, not just about fashion.”
Tam’s woman may not necessarily care only about fashion, but she’d certainly be happy with what Tam showed. It was a happy rebellious take on the traditional Mao military aesthetic. Silhouettes were slim and spunky. Tam’s version of the army jacket was re-imagined in a snappy black and wittily shown with a sewn on arm patch depicting a graffiti interpretation of the Chinese words, "Wan Sui.” This saying, a Mao-ist favorite meaning “long life,” was also graphically replicated in details like cut-outs across the backs of shift dresses and emblazoned boldly across tweed sweaters, and as a color accent in the bodies of Mao collar shift dresses. The color story stayed true to its pop art sensibilities, using primarily black and red, with the occasional white and blue as an accent.
The logo for SaveLoveGive.com also made an appearance in several pieces, part of a new technology partnership Tam is launching with the site, which aims to take the waste spent on wireless bills (in the form of money unnecessarily spent on unsent texts, data, and money each month) into micro-finance loans.
When I asked if Tam would have made a Romney print had the election gone the other way, she demurred and replied, “I don’t know, he wasn’t elected.” But it’s safe to say, her collection would have gone much differently.