updated 21 Dec 2011, 11:32
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Tue, Aug 10, 2010
The Business Times
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Crazy headpiece to celebrate Singapore's birthday

BACK in 1995, as a student finishing her fashion diploma at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, headwear designer Helan Tan based her graduation collection on the theme 'turn of the century' - drawing inspiration from the constant speculation as to what the year 2000 would bring.

Fast forward 15 years and Tan revisited this theme when asked to create a special design to reflect what Singapore means to her.

'Then, I was a fresh, bright-eyed graduate waiting to embark on my career as a clothing designer,' recalls Tan, wearing a dress from her 1995 collection in the photo.

'I specialise in headpieces so I wanted to create one based on the same idea but this time, titled 'turn of the century in Singapore' to show how much I've progressed as a designer between then and now.'

The headpiece, she adds, is created by twisting Japanese basket weaving material into a series of loops to represent how Singapore has changed over the years and how it is in a constant state of flux.

The crystal bouquet in the middle of the hat is inspired by Singapore's status as a garden city and how the country and she as a designer have blossomed over the years.

For currency, the bouquet also bears the shape of an Olympic flame, thanks to all the hype surrounding the upcoming Youth Olympic Games.

'Back when I just graduated, people didn't understand avant garde,' she concludes.

'Now, with celebrities like Lady Gaga, I find that Singaporeans are really starting to embrace their creative side dressing-wise, even going so far as to dare to wear a crazy headpiece like this one I've designed. This, I think, really bodes well for the fashion scene in Singapore.'


This article was first published in The Business Times.

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