#SuzyNYFW: A Winning Hand For A Royal Flush

Extraordinary as it might once have seemed that Meghan Markle, an American television actress, should be about to marry into the British royal family, just as surprising is the success of Malaysia-born Han Chong. His Self-Portrait line, especially the street-wise lace dresses, have been worn by both Meghan and her soon-to-be sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge.

“I think what I do is a bit young and at the same time it’s corporate,” said the designer. He was offering music to the ears of women who have work/life dress demands, even if that does not include having to put tiaras on their heads.

“I try to get the right balance of being not too feminine and to keep it quite modern – and I think the English are proud of their royals because they are like a new generation,” continued the designer backstage, doffing a trilby hat. He was surrounded by a crowd of enthusiasts – not least buyers, who claim that almost every Self-Portrait outfit on offer is snapped up by clients.

So, what is the secret of Han Chong’s success? This collection was a puzzle because Self-Portrait’s previous routine was to offer a presentation of still models with the focus was mostly on lace. By contrast, at this Autumn/Winter 2018 show, the winter coat, layered over a dress or trousers, was one the categories that the designer identified as part of “building a wardrobe for winter that a real woman wants to wear”.

“A good coat and how to layer it is always the starting point,” he claimed – although whether that is true in the era of the puffer coat is open to question.

Even if there were some strong individual pieces such as a black and white plaid suit or a scarlet woolly cardigan pulled down to give it ‘portrait’ shoulders, the designer’s forte is in the lacy fabrics that were at first slipped under the outerwear.

With this show, Han Chong had moved on. His ability to focus on the sporty rather than the sexy gave a sweet freshness to his work and made it a winning hand for a royal flush.