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Fri, Feb 25, 2011
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S'pore-born star designer to make splash at festival
by Gwendolyn Ng

THE third annual Audi Fashion Festival (AFF), on from May 13-19, will be a homecoming of sorts for at least one designer.

Singapore-born Prabal Gurung will give his first Singapore show on May 14.

He was raised in Nepal and has made a name in the United States by dressing the likes of US First Lady Michelle Obama, talk-show host Oprah Winfrey and actress Zoe Saldana.

Clothing by the New York-based designer will be shown at the Tent@Orchard Ngee Ann City, along with pieces he created for Atelier Swarovski, under Austrian crystal brand Swarovski.

Ms Tjin Lee, founder of Mercury Marketing & Communications, which organised the festival, said: "It's exciting for us to be able to bring him (in) for a triumphant homecoming."

She added that Mercury had planned the festival with an "international Asian name" in mind.

"We felt that a Singapore- born designer will have a lot of resonance," she said.

Italian label Missoni will kick off the festival. Three generations of the Missoni family will be present for the brand's first runway show here - the brand's founder, Rosita; her daughter and the creative director, Angela; as well as Angela's daughter, Margherita.

Also on show will be designs by British-Italian Antonio Berardi, who is known for dressing celebrity clients like Kylie Minogue, Sarah Jessica Parker and Victoria Beckham.

French brand Emmanuel Ungaro, which will close the festival, will show its Autumn/Winter 2011 collection under the helm of its new creative director, Giles Deacon.

The international spread of names is up from last year's, when the biggest names at the festival were Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, high-end American brand Marchesa and Canada's DSquared2.

In a phone interview with my paper, Dan Caten - who founded DSquared2 with his twin brother, Dean - said AFF was a good effort.

"I would say (the organisers) are trying very hard to make a quality thing. They did a very nice job," he said.

This year's AFF will be chaired by musician Dick Lee, who said this is his "return to the fashion industry".

Lee, 54, studied fashion design at the Harrow School of Art in London, and worked as a designer at his mother's boutique as a teenager.

He said: "Through the years, I've kept in touch with fashion, kept my interest."

The AFF comes under the banner of the annual Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX), an initiative by the Singapore Tourism Board, IE Singapore and Spring Singapore.

The initiative aims to turn Singapore into Asia's fashion hub. Organisers declined to say how much the AFX would cost, but said the figure would be up from last year's $2 million.

Tickets to the AFF will be sold through Sistic, starting from the middle of next month.

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