Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Styled to thrill in Singapore

It will be Singapore’s first Grand Prix and the world’s first night race in F1 history. Adding to the excitement is Stylo Fashion Grand Prix Singapore.
GLAMOROUS fashion, exciting motorsports and fabulous parties – these were the ingredients of Stylo KL Fashion Festival, the fashion event under this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Such a heady mix caught the attention and interest of Chang Chee Pey, Singapore Tourism Board’s regional director for Asean (Mainland) who was impressed enough to invite Stylo to the island republic’s inaugural F1 that’s coming up later this month.
The main fashion runway at The Scarlet Mansion for Stylo Singapore 2008.

“We were taken by the hype, buzz and amazing media interest in Stylo,” recalls Chang.
“We saw what it achieved for the Kuala Lumpur F1 celebrations so we invited Datuk Nancy Yeoh to bring Stylo to the Singapore GP as one of the main highlights of our official calendar.”
Singapore Tourism Board will be the presenter of Stylo Fashion Grand Prix Singapore along with Mercedes-Benz, Stylo’s principal sponsor when it debuted in KL in March.
Created by Yeoh, Stylo KL was “fashiontainment”, as she describes it.
“We stitched fashion with entertainment! Men love super cars, women love fashion and everyone loves great party! That is the spirit of Stylo,” she declares.
At the preview of Stylo Singapore at the Singapore Mercedes-Benz Center recently, beautiful models dressed in stunning couture creations and sexy La Perla, the Italian luxury lingerie line, were draped over vintage Mercedes-Benzes.
The Mercedes-Benz’s iconic glass building will be turned into an exciting playground where world-class motorsports supporters and fashion enthusiasts will come together on Sept 26, the weekend of the F1. As red is the colour of Stylo, the building will be converted into “The Scarlet Mansion”.

Michael Ong won the Mercedes-Benz Stylo fashion awards with this stunning collection - how will he fare against his Singapore counterparts on Sept 26. - Photo courtesy of Stylo

Apart from Stylo, the other 13 official events in the F1 calendar include Diana Krall in concert, the multi-million dollar Bvlgari exhibition, the Amber Lounge, the Singapore River Festival, the 2008 Motorshow, Michelin-star Chef Laurent Peugeot, TAG Heuer’s Racing Legend of Our Time exhibition and the Singapore Biennale featuring a fabulous collection of original artworks from Matisse and Picasso.

At a recent press conference, when asked “Why Stylo? Doesn’t Singapore already have enough fashion weeks and festivals?” Yeoh responded:
“That‘s just it. Stylo isn’t a fashion week. People who think we are have completely missed the point. For us, fashion’s merely the excuse to network and socialise during a very busy and exciting time.”
Chang agreed: “It is about building festivities around our F1 using whichever creative platform and Stylo does this very well as we have observed in KL by using fashion and stylish parties.”
Stylo Singapore will feature top Malaysian and Singaporean fashion designers. From Malaysia are Datuk Tom Abang Saufi, Khoon Hooi, Melinda Looi, Edric Ong, Lewre and winner of the Mercedes-Benz Stylo Fashion Award Michael Ong. From Singapore are Francis Chong, Frederic Lee, Heng Nam Nam, Jo Soh and Nicholas Wong. They will jointly present their retrospective and new designs according to the elements of “Earth, Wind, Fire, Metal and Wood” on a 15m runway against a dramatic musical backdrop created by top impressario Dick Lee. Lee is the award-winning composer behind Puteri Gunung Ledang and P. Ramlee the musicals.
Is there a deliberate attempt by Yeoh to merge the fashion strengths of the two nations for her international debut? “Definitely. Stylo was created as a platform to showcase the work of top fashion designers and labels to an international audience. We choose to complement world motorsports activities such as the F1 as it hasn’t been done before. Whichever F1 city in the world we go, we will bring Malaysian fashion talents so that they can be featured alongside the international names.”
Says Chang: “There is a legendary relationship between Malaysia and Singapore, practically twins separated at birth in some ways. Did you know Malaysia is Singapore’s top investment market? Some Singaporeans have bought houses and land in Malaysia in preparation for their retirement so our two nations have always been linked historically and socially. Most have relatives and definitely friends on both sides of the Causeway.
“A Malaysian brand like Stylo showcasing in Singapore will certainly help strengthen our bridge of friendship.”

As to gripes by some quarters that Singapore is out to steal the thunder from Sepang’s F1, Chang replies: “This is a non-issue as Malaysian airlines, buses and Johor Baru are among the main beneficiaries of our GP. Johor Baru is only a quick car ride away and its hotel rates are far cheaper than Singapore city hotels so many are opting to stay in JB and drive or take public transport to see the races.”
Chang also points out that over the last decade, many Singaporeans had come to Sepang but this was limited to diehard fans.
“As it is, Singaporeans form the largest contingent to the Sepang races. With the Singapore GP, there will be new Formula One fans who will also come to Sepang for the first time. The two F1 events are six months apart which is just right,” he says.
And I thought Singaporeans came across mostly to eat good food and speed their luxury cars.
How Stylo contributes to the success of Singapore’s first GP will be closely watched by others. Yeoh, who is already in discussion with other F1 cities, is all too aware of that. As she says: “If we don’t succeed (in Singapore) no one else in the F1 world will want us.”
Somehow that’s hard to believe.

> Stylo Fashion Grand Prix Singapore is an exclusive, invitation-only event. For more information, visit stylo-international.com.

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