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Capital's Catwalks Teem with Talent
At the 10th China International Clothing & Accessories Fair in Beijing last month, Chinese designers set runways on fire with their contemporary and sexy 2002 fall/winter collections.

As the fashion world focuses its attention on the fall/winter collections being shown in the fashion capitals, some are setting their sights on Beijing.

China International Clothing & Accessories Fair 2002, held at the China International Exposition Center in Beijing late last month, gave China's fashion industry the opportunity to make its own predictions for the 2002 fall/winter fashion trends.

The four-day fair, which marked its 10th anniversary this year, attracted 850 labels, and staged more than 30 autumn/winter fashion shows. Judging from the Beijing runways, the season's trend would be clear, contemporary and sexy.

Black and white remain the key colors for menswear, according to designer and modeling agent Chen Yifei.

"Black and white are the classic colors for men," he noted at the 2002-2003 Fashion Trend Forum held during the fair by the China Fashion Designer's Association.

The trend was echoed by Angsi, a fashion house from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province. As one of China's fashion centers specializing the menswear, Wenzhou designers are trend-setters, and the Angsi collection was no exception.

The 30-minute show, orchestrated by director Zhuang Min, featured hundreds of suits worn by 35 top Chinese models.

The business suit is distinguished by fabric and cut, while traditional features like the big lapels, wing collars and three-piece suits with bow ties are made contemporary with more fashionable fabric and colors.

In addition to the mainstay blacks and whites, colors this year include naturals, like beige, ecru, khaki and brown; blues, like navy, cobalt and aquamarine; reds, like wines, China red, cherry and rose.

The street look appeared on the long and close-fitting cut, jewelry buttons and zippers, shiny hi-tech fabrics like PVC coat, while the combination of jacket and business suit, loose trousers and sport shoes created a laid back look.

Menswear was just the appetizer, though, with the women's collections the main focus of the event. While colors and styles were less easily defined for women, trend analysts predicted that fall/winter collections would see waistlines raised, and long, slim shapes.

Jacket shapes are lent a feminine touch as they contour to the anatomy, while jeans are low-waist in either straight-leg or bell-bottoms. Romantic, retro Eighties touches are found in silkscreen prints.

Contrasting fabrics like leather and black stretch denim are abraded, while colors are hard in black, asphalt, red and white, or as soft as pink, lilac, cream, amber and camel. Fabrics are warm and soft, ranging from wool and cashmere to quilted nylon. Clean shapes are cut with details that enhance femininity in a careful way.

A cortege of designers from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, set up shop in the aptly named Hangzhou Hall, and five live shows were held there.

Designers from Hangzhou's Hanbo Group, a cooperation between the Hangzhou Huili Embroidery and Garment Co. Ltd. and JPR, a New York garment company, showed their collections.

"China is such a huge market that we watch it continuously and keep an eye on its development," said Richard Hirsh, director of JPR.

Hong Kong was another major exhibitor, with 54 labels and big name designers like Barney Cheng, Kevin Yeung, Lulu Zheung, Rowena U, William Tang and Ika.

The exhibit's main show was also Hong Kong themed - "Hong Kong Means Fashion" - which was divided into 10 parts: City Slickers, Stylish Professionals, Uniform Spirits, Travel Ease, Leisure Chic, Energy Gear, Young Beat, Modern Culture, Party Glam and Absolute Vanity.

"This year's fair has taken another step forward toward international standards," said Wang Qing, chairman of the China Fashion Designers' Association, the organizer of the event.

"In order to have more time and space for shows and forums, we canceled the opening ceremony and other formal events," he added. But there were still criticisms. Hong Kong designer William Tang complained that "there were conflicts with regard to the time arrangements, and there were insufficient service facilities in the exhibition hall. This is rarely seen overseas. I hope next year will be better."

(eastday.com April 19, 2002)

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