Longtime readers of Wottoncool should be no stranger to hansel.
We’ve, meaning Jo and I, have since 2008, written about the brand here, here, here, here, here and here, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! I’ve even gone so far as to say that hansel should be considered an icon of Singapore, more so than the run of the mill ‘chicken rice’ and the likes.
(Is it a crime to fathom being over chicken rice?!)
At times, I think Singaporeans get stuck in our comforts. Movie-going, favourite haunts, usual foods… same ol’, same ol’. Classics, no doubt, but don’t win any awards for ground-breaking innovation.
But perhaps, my appetite for the new, novel and innovative rates higher than average.
It is always refreshing to see that designer and founder, Jo Soh, presents with hansel each season. The latest season, which had its debut at Audi Fashion Festival 2014, is titled ‘Fairy Lights’.
Inspired by the decorative and celebratory ornaments which, in my family’s case, are whipped out annually for Christmas, the ‘Fairy Lights’ collection feature three original prints. I’m equilaterally torn between which of the three is my absolute favourite and pockets permitting, would have stocked my wardrobe with at least one item of each print!
The first print (above) is titled ‘Fairy Lights’, like the collection. Bright, colourful, whimsical. I don’t know if it’s physically possible to be sad or upset in such a happy print and happy dress. This print also comes in a Navy/White colourway as well (bottom right).
The second print is linear, continuous squiggle of lights. Aptly called ‘String Lights’. Looking the print alone, and out of context, I wasn’t such a big fan to be honest. But after my internship with Jonathan Simkhai in New York, I have newfound respect for designers to look at a roll of fabric/patterned fabric laying flat on a table and visualize it coming to life in a skirt/dress/shirt/garment of their choice.
Apparel at hansel and diffusion line, hello hansel, which feature the ‘String Lights’ print in contrasting white and black came in several, very versatile variations – from a maxi dress, to sleeveless (very work-appropriate) dress and even to separates.
A look around hansel’s Mandarin Gallery store, and one can quickly see that dresses feature very extensively throughout the collection. Understandably so. I can imagine a lot of frazzled shoppers falling in love with print separates and then running out of options of how they can pair/match their purchases, thus opt for dresses. Which eliminates the dilemma altogether.
But for myself, my heart leapt (quietly) when I found/noticed the separates (below). (Yay for separates!!) I find a lot of joy in challenging myself to pair purchases in new, unsuspecting ways. Sometimes they work, other times, maybe not too well. In my own small way, I guess that’s how I feed my penchant for new and novel.
And maybe that’s what Jo Soh had intended with this ‘Fairy Lights’ collection, for people to celebrate not just the collection, but for the clothes, in and of themselves, to bring about joy (be it in the dresses or separates), however one derives joy from beautiful design.
And all this without breaking the bank (too much). The collection is priced between $99 and $419. And considering these are all unique prints, that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. I’d say it’s worth the investment.
The final print is titled ‘Coiled Lights’, which is kind of a cheeky play on oversized polka dots or light bokehs, depending on how you look/squint at the print. The third and final print from the ‘Fairy Lights’ collection.
And don’t forget to check out the hansel boutique located at Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road #02-14.