If you can’t get to Paris for the couture, bring the couture to Hong Kong

In a meeting of creative mega-minds, New World Development CEO Adrian Cheng and fashion icon Carine Roitfeld, founder and director of the CR media brand, have joined forces to bring an ambitious exhibition of haute couture and prêt-à-porter to K11 Art and Culture Centre in Hong Kong’s Victoria Dockside, opening December 13. Savoir-Faire: The Mastery of Craft in Fashion will showcase works from Balenciaga, Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Iris van Herpen, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford and Valentino, plus one-of-a-kind pieces from Roitfeld’s private collection.

Cheng and Roitfeld have been collaborating on various projects that highlight the preservation of craftsmanship in their respective fields. An exhibition of French haute couture would offer a rare opportunity in Hong Kong for close examination of works that are intricately made by hand by artisans trained in precise aspects of dressmaking, much as Cheng’s previous exhibitions of Guangcai ceramics and Baibaoqian furniture have highlighted traditional Chinese craft techniques through the K11 Craft & Guild Foundation.

Roitfeld, famous for her personal style and her provocative editorials during her years as a magazine editor and as a collaborator of Tom Ford on his Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent shows and advertisements, has close relationships with the fashion world and the rare ability to convince so many blue-chip designers to lend their works to a museum exhibition.

In case you missed it: Exclusive: Adrian Cheng on Bringing Haute Couture to Hong Kong

“Curating the exhibition is a first for me,” she says in an exclusive interview with Tatler. “What I love most is doing projects I’ve never done before. The exhibition began through a digital series with Adrian. We realised savoir faire really was the common thread between fashion and Chinese artistry.”

Roitfeld says she wants the exhibition to convey the feeling of a fashion image, similar to a magazine editorial, through composition, movement, styling and set design.

“I think most fashion exhibitions feel like retrospectives, and like everything that is exhibited belongs to the past,” she says. “It was essential for me that the exhibition feels contemporary. It’s not only about archive pieces, as it would mean savoir faire in fashion is dead. Savoir faire is vivid, and celebrated by both the main fashion houses but also younger designers whose work I am very happy to showcase.”

In addition to the major couture houses like Chanel and Dior, the exhibition will feature works by rising stars like Richard Quinn and Tom Van der Borght.

“Through the understanding of craftsmanship—the transmission of tradition, ideas and techniques between societies and culture—fashion has been creating deeply collaborative relationships of connection and exchange,” says Cheng. “I am thrilled to be working with Carine to bring forth a potent illustration of the power in craft and artisanship so we may also collectively celebrate its innovation for the future.”

Cheng and Roitfeld also hope to send a message about the rejuvenation of the cultural landscape of Hong Kong, notably with a glamorous unveiling that will be celebrated simultaneously in Hong Kong and Paris on December 10. Roitfeld will host her close friends and many of the participating designers at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, while Cheng will host an event called “K11 Night” on Hong Kong’s Victoria Dockside promenade. Connected via virtual livestream, the duo will stage a “cross-continental toast to craftsmanship”. The event will also include a charity auction to benefit UNESCO and the K11 Craft & Guild Foundation to conserve craftsmanship.

Produced by CR Studios, Savoir-Faire: The Mastery of Craft in Fashion will be on view from December 13 to February 14, 2022 at the K11 art & Culture Centre, at K11 Musea. Additional information is available here.

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