ROOTS; Chinese New Year And Fashion

By Melusine Estebe-Bruault

 Chinese New Year (also called Spring festival) is one of the most famous celebrations in the world thanks to its numerous decorations and festivities each year. This huge celebration is famous all around the world and is all about myths and legends. Because of these myths and legends, Chinese people have a lot of traditions when it comes to the Spring Festival. First, everything has to be red, because it represents luck and happiness so during the festivities, there are a lot of houses with red decorations (and lucky charms to prevent themselves from bad luck), and people wearing red clothes. The firecrackers that are set off represent the sound of the crackling bamboo and the smoke of the fire that scared a monster in a very ancient legend. Finally, we all saw the parade with the dragons and the monsters at least one. It represents the hunt of this terrible monster, and every year, the dragons (the mythic animals that represent protection) beat the monsters.  Chinese new year is also all about the zodiac signs. We all have one, that is determined by the year of our birth and each year, a new zodiac sign is celebrated. This year, the celebrations will start on February the 5th and it will be the year of the pig, that will be celebrated everywhere. Chinese New Year is very famous because all the Chinese who traveled all over the world traveled with their traditions and taught them to the people of the countries they went to. Around a month is dedicated to this celebration in China.

In addition to Chinese people, there are now a lot of artists and designers who celebrate Chinese New Year. Olympia Le-Tan is one of them. She is a French designer, illustrator, and creative director who used to work for Chanel and Balmain before launching her own label. She is mostly known for her vintage influence bags inspired by classic literature or board games, but she also designs ready to wear. This year, Olympia Le-Tan collaborated with Wendy Yu, a Chinese philanthropist, heiress, patron of the art and investor to celebrate Chinese New Year. Wendy Yu has her own company, an investment firm called Yu Capital. The company focuses on fashion, lifestyle, and technology emerging brands. For example, Yu Capital’s investments include the brand Mary Katrantzou ( a brand that collaborated with Victoria Secrets recently.).  In 2017, the brand became Yu Holdings. In August 2018, Wendy Yu has been named in the “30 under 30” list of Forbes China, a consecration that officially named her an industry leader in Fashion and Arts.

Book Clutch Zodiac from the Olympia Le Tan x Wendy Yu collection

The beautiful Chinese investor and the brilliant French designer launched a collection of nine bags, inspired by the celebrations of Chinese New Year, the zodiac animals, but also the art scene of the 1920s and 1930s. This collection perfectly illustrates the roots of both of these wonderful women with the book clutches reminding as well the previous collections of Olympia Le-Tan, as well as Chinese classical literature. The Dream Of A Red Chamber book clutch, for example, is one of the Four Great Classical Novels in China and was written during the Qing Dynasty (18th century.). The Firecracker book clutch is a lovely mix between the Nián legend and actual’s celebrations. All these bags represent a strong symbol of Chinese culture, associated with the delicate art of Olympia Le-Tan. If you love these bags and want to commemorate Chinese New Year with Olympia Le-Tan and Wendy Yu, all the bags are priced from € 990 to € 1,715. And the detail that makes it even better is the fact that 10 percent of the sales price will go to one of Yu’s charities, Teach For China, that helps children in rural areas in China to develop their creative skills. So what are you waiting for to purchase one of these pretty book clutches?

Olympia Le-Tan is not the only one who gave in to the beauty of Chinese culture. Indeed, the Italian brand Gucci launched a special limited collection this year, dedicated to this special occasion and for both men and women. The brand admirably mixes Chinese and Occidental cultures while honoring the Spring Festival… With the famous Disney characters: The Three Little Pigs!  For those who don’t really like the Disney fable, Gucci also launched products with simple pigs. This colorful collection has something for everyone. It is actually composed of bags, sneakers, watches, jacket, pullovers, t-shirts and several accessories, all cuter than the others. Their lovely campaign put models and pigs side by side, the pig is often the only model on some pictures and seems to get along really well with the items made in its effigy.


Picture taken from Gucci’s Three Little Pigs collection for Chinese New Year

For this collection, Gucci stayed true to itself while keeping what makes them what they are. The sneakers, for example, have the colors of the Italian flag, the home country of the brand, and the Gucci logo is side by side with the Three Little Pigs on wallets. The major color of this pretty collection stays red, the Chinese color for luck and happiness and the fantasy found in every product made by the Italian brand could totally go on Chinese shops, where cute things are predominant. Fantasy reaches its highest point with the pink flying pig pin made in pink resin with a pearl effect. Luckily, all the items from this special collection can be worn at any occasion, so the ones who purchase those lovely items won’t buy them for just a few days. With this collection, Gucci really makes celebrations meet daily life and China meet Occident. With Gucci, you will definitely won’t go unnoticed during the Chinese New Year celebrations of this year!

After those wonderful clothes and accessories, there is one question remaining: Where are the pretty heels that will go with it? Sergio Rossi has the answer! The Italian luxury brand launched a limited edition sandal to celebrate the Spring Festival this year, in their Sr1 iconic collection.


Sergio Rossi Chinese New Year Limited Edition Sr1 Sandal

This red velvet sandal will be a real sensation during Chinese New Year festivities and bring a romantic touch to the celebrations. With the 60mm or 105mm heels (the brand gives the choice of the height during the purchase), it is also an explosion of red to celebrate happiness and joy. The internal and external part of the shoe is made of lambskin lining (which must be so soft!), and the sole is made of leather. The geometric heel and the square toe make them really easy to wear and allow its owner to walk and take part of all the celebrations until their very end.  The bejeweled appliqués on the upper strap are a great reminder of the fire that scared off the monster in the Chinese New Year legend and can definitely be a fashion way to repel bad luck. They also turn this shoe into a piece of jewelry, a real masterpiece. On the inside of the sandal are Chinese traditional patterns, another eyeblink to the festivities. For those who like the shape of the shoe but not its color and details,  the Sr1 collection has a lot of different hues available, so everybody can find the perfect shoe.

Now that you can go and celebrate Chinese New Year in almost every country of the world, and that a lot of designers honor this tradition, will you jump in Chinese culture with them and be a part of the festivities?


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