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A quiet designer

By Chen Jie ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-09-26 07:04:06

A quiet designer

Chinese fashion doyenne Ma Ke's show is staged at a factory-turned-creative space in Beijing earlier this month.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Ma Ke's rise to fame after dressing up first lady Peng Liyuan isn't coming in the way of her pursuing an inner purpose. Chen Jie reports.

A quiet designer

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For people like me, who dislike primping up for a fashion show but sometimes have to go owing to professional reasons, a recent event was a welcome change. The organizers insisted on a dress code, though, but it read: "Please dress in a casual and comfortable way - no tight skirts or high-heels." The fashion show was held at a factory-turned-creative space behind Beijing's National Art Museum on a Mid-Autumn Festival evening, and I wore my jeans and sandals. As soon as I arrived, I knew why high-heels were barred. We climbed up a set of steep steel steps that led us to the roof of a building, where we were served fruit in handmade bowls, traditional desserts wrapped in leaves and homemade rice liquor.

It was Chinese fashion doyenne Ma Ke's show.

Then we walked to the roof of a neighboring building, where guests sat on grass cushions on the floor to watch the show. That is why the advisory against tight skirts was issued.

There was no fancy lighting either, with a big full moon hanging in the dark sky serving as the perfect backdrop. A woman was seated by an old wooden machine, spinning cotton, while another wove clothes at a distance.

An ensemble of some 30 people aged between 6 and 70, including several from different continents, was gathered for the show. They all dressed in basic single-color handmade clothes and moved slowly from one end of the rooftop to another.

Unlike usual fashion shows that blast recorded music on speakers, this instead had one folk singer from the Katatipul tribe, members of which live in southeastern Taiwan.

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