It was hot and sweaty at Robyn Hung's spring/summer fashion show on May 6. Fire dancers, models and guests spilled onto the streets of Tienmu and African beats flavored the air.
It was more party than fashion parade as spectators joined performers in tribal dances and drums from the Pan Africana Cultural Troupe. The collection and even the wedding book Hung is currently promoting, seemed to be secondary.
At the center of it all was Hung, dancing and directing the show.
"That's the spirit of Robyn," someone was overheard saying as she left the designer's boutique on a tropically warm Saturday night in suburban Taipei.
"Clothes were not the centerpiece of the show," said organizer Braulio Flores, who is from Brazil. "Robyn wanted people to have a good time, she didn't want just name cards, hired celebrities and skinny models."
Instead, full-bodied African women bounced around the store, showing off to the full Hung's light and flouncy creations. Foreign models in a range of shapes, sizes and skin colors started up conga dances.
As for the outfits, this season's Moroccan and African collections seemed to merge, so the overriding impression was of earthy but vibrant yellows, greens and browns.
Beads, rhinestones and natural objects such as dried wood, and metal fasteners were woven into or sewn onto the fabrics to provide texture. Jungle prints and tribal patterns completed the look.
"It was like Africa through the looking-glass," Flores said. "Robyn's label is about young,
independent girls who are into traveling, having fun and experiencing different things and different cultures."
Model, dancer and Descendants of African People (DAP) co-founder Jaleea Price said the combination of African, Taiwanese and Western influences was a "mixture of aesthetics."
"The party was fun and made a big impression. I guess the clothes were not the emphasis but an interesting part of the whole event. Some of the pieces I was attracted to and others I wasn't," Price said on Tuesday.
"Funny enough, I'm at the shop now to buy something that caught my eye. I talked to the models and they all said the same: `There was something for everybody, but not everything was for everybody.'"
"Robyn wanted to be different," Flores said. "It's not just about the clothing, its about a statement, a feel. That's what she's representing. The intention was to create a vibe and show fashion that had a groove."