By Leong Jun Wei (23A01D), Loh Zhao Hong (23S03A), Cece Cao Chenxi (23A01E) and Shreya Singh (23S03C)
Mesmerising mood lighting, glittering makeup, colourful fabric galore – if you walked past the canteen from 22nd to 29th July, you may have seen a cinematically-shot film showcasing fashion designs. From elegant gowns to cyberpunk streetwear, the quality and range of this collection rivalled the likes of international Fashion Weeks. This year, Runway’s Batch of 2022 presents their labour of love: Aeon.
“Aeon was an apt theme indeed to tie up what was a 1.5-year journey — a timeless journey which rewarded us with memories and lessons and friendships that we will carry with us for years to come.”Loretta Lye (Chairperson, 22A01B)
ACT 1: Once Upon A Time
Act 1 Slideshow:
Amidst prismatic purple lighting, the film opens with the elegant “Princess” in fluttering silk and chiffon, gliding gracefully across the stage. Following her is the stoic “General” in a boxy black blazer embroidered with phoenixes, paired with a purple belt and sword.
The two characters from the ‘Han Directiv’ begin to take on more distinct qualities as Loretta Lye (22A01B) fine-tunes her design process inspired by the Hanfu revival movement. Combining the silhouettes of 206 B.C. China and Western elements, this collection recounts “the oriental narrative that transcends time”.
The lighting darkens as the next model seemingly awakens from her slumber. Champagne-coloured with soft pillowy sleeves, the dress is tenderly sweet yet bitterly melancholic. Lauren Tan’s (22A01C) collection, themed ‘Do You Have The Time?’, ponders the liminal space of night, a limbo between end and beginning.
Adopting a pastel colour scheme, the chiffon of the next garment seems ethereal. According to designer Krystal Tan (22S03C), rigidity was incorporated into her collection, ‘Metamorphosis’, through the use of a crinoline and corsetry, representing artificial concepts of structuredness and conformity. However, the layers of light, breezy fabric remind us of the fluid nature of time. As petals fall lightly to the ground, the first Act ends.
ACT 2: Modern Day Renaissance
Act 2 Slideshow:
Inspired by the aesthetics of 80s to 90s Hong Kong music videos, Pan Yifan’s (22S02A) design, ‘About time’, combines dynamic elements: flared bell-bottom pants, different sleeve lengths, extravagant denim patterns. Representing the fearlessness of women going to work and boldly pursuing self-empowerment in that era, these details add dimension to the denim ensemble.
The second male model of RProj’22 struts out, donning a pair of off-white pants and a crisp white vest. The highlight of the outfit is revealed when he spins around, revealing a red heart pinned to his vest, similar to those patterned across the pant legs. Taking inspiration from Alice in Wonderland, Arienne Chua’s (22S03H)collection, ‘όνειρο’, explores our dreams and the flickering of thoughts in our minds.
The next outfit in Act 2 is designed by Charleen Hang (22S03G). Elegant in its simplicity, the most striking feature is its colour: deep, ultramarine blue. Elevated by the tailored cut of the slip dress, the audience is instantly transported to an A-list Hollywood party in the 90s. ‘blueming’, her collection, is testament to the timelessness of classic silhouettes.
For the final look of the Act, the music shifts to an upbeat techno beat as Wan Irdina (22S03I) illustrates the leap from girlhood to womanhood in ‘WHAT REMAINS IS FUTURE’. From the innocent pearls and ribbons of teendom to the darker, more mature grunge-like style representing womanhood, the collection aptly captures a teenage girl’s anxiety to enter womanhood and the bittersweetness of leaving behind the past, whilst clinging onto a rebellious teen spirit.
ACT 3: Till The End Of Time
Act 3 Slideshow:
If the last Act explored the meeting of past and present, what does the future look like? To Wang Xuechun (22S06K), the future is a cosmic, cyberpunk world where our current trends denote the ”new vintage”. Mixing leg warmers and elf ears, reminiscent of current ”Y2K” and “fairycore” trends, with unconventional materials such as an IV drip bag and glossy PVC, Xuechun’s collection ‘anno destiny’ creates an interdimensional cyborg world where “humanity transcends space and time”.
“Having your personal voice heard through your passion is probably something that rings true for everyone, regardless of your field of expertise.”Wang Xuechun (Secretary, 22S06K)
“Unending” and “infinite” are two fitting words to describe the train billowing behind the next model as she struts onto the stage. Layers of cerulean tulle cascade down the model’s legs, resembling the ocean waves that inspired Zoe Low’s (22S07B) ‘Sea Salt Extravaganza’. The model transforms momentarily into a mythical siren, reflecting the sea in its “vastness and boundlessness”.
In ‘infiniti’, Nathan Khaw’s (22S03A) ensemble is a unique reimagination of the conventional black dress. The dress was cut up and reconnected with multiple ribbons, representing how the fabric of time connects the past, present, and future. Nathan hopes that his collection – minimalist, clean-cut, and experimental – can stand the test of time and become a standard for fashion in the future.
The next model graces the stage in a three-piece ensemble. A Sailor Moon-esque top adorned with a heart-shaped silk outline immediately catches the eye. According to designer Ho Rey-en (22A01B), this emphasises ”the beating heart as a stalwart marker of time”. Paired alongside a frilly pleated skirt and topped off with a black corset belt, Rey-en’s ‘Belladonna’ from ‘anti-chrono-ism: an æternity’ has strong ambitions of “undoing Time itself”.
Blinding lights reflect off the bejewelled ensemble designed by Yvette Loo (22S03A). The butterfly face paint accentuates the electric turquoise and golden hue of the dress, evoking a sense of opulence and luxury. The attention-to-detail encapsulates the “high” of “Disco Elysium”, the inspiration behind Yvette’s collection, ‘elysium’. With the use of the butterfly motif, a symbol of metamorphosis and change, the outfit calls into question: “Is change not life’s only constant?”
As the video fades to black, our passage through time concludes. Thirteen minutes of the video showcase had seemed paltry compared to the months of preparation and hard labour leading up to its production. From conceptualization to construction, no small amount of blood, sweat and tears had been shed.
In our interview with Y5 Runway designers, Laura Ng (23S03C) and Laura Zheng (23S03C) shared that while last year’s theme (Eclipse) had a heavier feel with darker tones, Aeon was dreamy and abstract. This year’s show capitalised on experimentation with camera angles, unique props and lighting to create a one-of-a-kind sensory experience for the viewer.
To Rafflesians who have watched the film, Raffles Runway EXCO’22 leaves us with this: “Fashion is a thought experiment. A journey of stylistic, visual, aesthetic exploration, resulting in a carefully hand-crafted tangible representation of our artistic vision.”
Watch the full showcase of R’PROJ’22: Aeon here!