Touring China with 8 stunning hats
Is China becoming the new source of inspiration for international fashion designers?
Lady Gaga’s favored shoe designer Kobi Levi has done it (check a gallery of Levi’s China-inspired high heels), and now Dutch-American milliner Elisabeth Koch is taking center stage.
Based in Beijing, the one-of-a-kind headgear designer has been invited by InterContinental Hotels to produce eight striking hats.
Each of them is inspired by the history and cultural heritage of one of the hotel company’s destination cities across Greater China: Chengdu, Beijing, Hong Kong, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Jiuzhaigou and Suzhou.
“The ideas [InterContinental] pitched me were fantastic to work with,” said Koch, 33, whose hats have been worn by celebrities such as Zhang Ziyi, Libingbing and Kate Middleton.
“For me, it was a challenge as a designer to come up with ideas that correspondent with the things they wanted. It was fun for me to have a new project like this."
Preserving city memories
Those theatrical headpieces were presented yesterday at a runway show, named “Museum in a Hat,” in Shanghai Xintiandi.
The catwalk is a part of InterContinental’s Responsible Business Week, starting in China from October 26. Themed “Preserving City Memories,” the week is the company’s global initiative to sustain and enhance local destinations.
“We want to tell people that we need to take actions to protect, preserve and cherish the unique cultural traits and heritage of the places we are living in and traveling to,” said Keith Barr, CEO of IHG Greater China.
“Otherwise, we and our offspring will one day only be able to see them in museums.”
Why no Shanghai?
For anyone wondering why there isn’t a Shanghai hat, Atlanta-born Koch explained that they “didn’t find a perfect icon of a disappearing city memory that would work together with a hat” for the city.
All hats will tour to InterContinental’s 22 hotels throughout China from November for display in the lobbies. The group is looking at putting them up for online auction afterwards.
Having entered China in 1984, the InterContinental group currently operates 154 hotels in one of the world’s fastest-expanding hospitality markets under five brands -- Hotel Indigo, InterContinental, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza -- and will open another 28 venues throughout China by the end of 2011.