Designer Khieng Puong’s (方國強) designs for the new uniforms of Far Eastern Air Transport’s (FAT) flight attendants, which debuted on the company’s first official domestic flight on April 18 after the company fell into financial troubles in 2008, have earned him a lot of media attention.
Founder of the Khieng Atelier brand, Cambodia-born Puong worked under the famous French designer Emanuel Ungaro for 12 years, holding at one point the position of chief designer of accessories at Ungaro. Puong later married Wang Jui-jung (王瑞容), daughter of late Taiwanese tycoon Wang Yung-ching (王永慶).
Puong demonstrated complete mastery of FAT’s characteristic gray-and-red color theme and used it to design a suit that capitalizes on the contrast of metallic gray and eastern-red. To that, he added gray stockings on red-colored BESO high heels, a brand and style popularized by the popular TV show The Fierce Wife (犀利人妻).
Another highly visible uniform designed by Puong is the orange-and-white suit for Taiwan Mobile Co. The fake two-piece vest and shirt with a miniskirt, combined with the sweet cellphone-savvy schoolgirl style used in the company’s cellphone ads, sought to give customers a feeling of refreshment and friendliness.
Puong has also designed uniforms for staff at the W Hotel in Taipei and Hotel One in Greater Taichung.
Although the all-black uniform that the W Hotel staff wear looks simple, Puong said it brought out the spirit of the hotel’s service, which he defined as “handling all matters for the traveler as efficiently and imperceptibly as possible, but also respecting the traveler’s personal space.”
Skilled at and famous for making “one-of-a-kind” uniforms, Puong sees himself as the “promoter of corporations” as he designs uniforms for every type of person according to their style and figure, thus making it possible for them to go to work looking their very best.
While people have an almost fanatical attraction to “beautiful women in uniform,” Puong has taken the imagination to a whole new level, making high-class custom-tailored clothing itself the object of beauty.
For him, the spirit of uniforms should be summed up in one word: wow — adding that he disagreed with the view that uniforms are synonymous with rigidity.
“A successful uniform should make its owner want to wear it when she goes shopping,” Puong said.
When Puong came to Taiwan with his wife in 1999, he didn’t understand a word of Mandarin and had to communicate with his father-in-law, who spoke Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), using Teochew — which are closely related — which often ended with both sides not completely understanding each other.
Puong can now communicate with customers in Taiwan with ease and his products have become very popular amongst corporate businessmen’s wives and the wealthy.
Taiwan is now capable of making excellent quality custom-made clothing, he said, but in terms of corporate uniforms, it has yet to find the unique “spirit.”
Using high-quality custom-made clothes, Puong hopes to polish the image of Taiwanese corporations and, in so doing, raise the quality of their service.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER