updated 6 Jul 2013, 05:40
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S'pore's next top models
by Charlene Chua

The region's top models, such as Japan's Lena Fujii and Tsubasa Masukawa, were here on Saturday at the first Asia Style Collection fashion show and concert, which celebrated the best in local, Korean and Japanese fashion and entertainment.

But it was our local celebrities-turned-catwalk models for the night who ended up being a hit with the 7,000-strong crowd at the Singapore Expo.

This came as a pleasant surprise to them, as some of the actors and actresses had never walked down a runway and admitted to being uncomfortable with parading in front of thousands.

That, plus the fact that they might be compared to the professional models in the show, made some sweat buckets before the star-studded event started at 7pm.

But these fears were unfounded.

Queen of Caldecott Hill Zoe Tay, a former model, was a huge hit as everyone cheered and applauded when she appeared in a sexy yet elegant white draped gown by local label Zenchi that showed off her slender figure and toned legs.

Her skirt billowed dramatically courtesy of the wind machines, allowing everyone a peek at the daring black leotard underneath.

Flashing a radiant smile, the gorgeous Ah Jie waved to the crowd, which responded with applause.

Actors Andie Chen, Dai Yang Tian, Tay Ping Hui, Michelle Chong, Jeanette Aw, Yvonne Lim, Zhang Zhen Huan, Ian Fang, Paige Chua, Vivian Lai and Ann Kok also proved that modelling could be an alternative career for them.

They strutted down the runway with confidence and poise and local fashion label Depression's director Kenny Lim said he was blown away by their performances.

Mr Lim, 36, who had dressed most of them backstage, told The New Paper: "Models are like blank canvases while celebrities are personalities.

"Usually a blank canvas would sell the clothing, but in this case, these personalities brought our clothes to life in their own unique way.

"I was so happy with how they worked the runway, they looked really good.

He added: "I've never worked with some of them before and was so surprised to find out that they were all super nice.

"Backstage, the energy was high and there wasn't a single diva.

"All of them were polite and kept saying thank you at every turn.

Mr Lim said former actress-host Sharon Au had approached him some time ago with the concept for Asia Style Collection.

Au is the project manager for the event organised by MediaCorp fashion portal styleXstyle.

Promote local fashion

He said that she had told him that her goal was to promote local fashion so that it could match the status of successful Korean and Japanese labels.

He and Depression's creative director Andrew Loh were excited by Au's proposal and weeks later found themselves picking local celebrities to model their clothes.

Mr Lim was all praise for Tay, Chen, Dai, Chong and Chua, who, he felt, raised the bar during the five-hour show.

But he did not know that some of his favourites were actually dreading the long walk.

Chen, who stands at 1.83m, told The New Paper the day after the show : "I hated walking on the catwalk!

"As much as I tried to do the clothes justice, I was far too uncomfortable with myself to have that many eyes on me at one time.

"Wearing the (three-inch) platform shoes and being that much taller was awesome.

"The risk of spraining my ankle - not so awesome."

He added: "(Local model-turned-actress) Sheila Sim (who walked for local fashion label Ong Shunmugam) was the best in my opinion."

Dai was also quite the reluctant model though he received the noisiest and most enthusiastic reception of all the male celebs.

The 1.85m-tall China-born heart-throb said: "It was a fun experience although I would never want to be a model because that's just not my thing.

"I was going crazy backstage because almost every female model who walked past me was taller than me.

"I thought Michelle Chong was the most impressive as she has a certain attitude about her walk."

Chong, who opened the show for Depression in a hooded outfit, let on that she was a model when she was in school.

She said: "I enjoyed the whole experience tremendously. I was flattered when I was asked to open the show and it was fun reliving my modelling days."

Ms Mandy Wong, a 31-year-old businesswoman who was there with her husband, said they were "stunned" by how "gorgeous" the local celebrities looked.

She said: "You don't expect our local actors to be able to walk like that, as though they have been modelling for years.

"I was proud that they were comparable to all the Japanese and Korean models, some I felt outshone them.

"The confidence they displayed was admirable."


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