Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the inaugural Phnom Penh Fashion Week. You thought it wasn't going to happen. But I'm here to tell you it is happening like the most Hip-Hop-and-Happening thing in Happeningville.
Let's have a look at what we have strutting along the catwalk today...
None of this fancy-pants, Peter Alexander-esque lace-and-silk-business in various shades of beige and coffee, ladies and gentlemen. I'm talking 100% cotton, I'm talking primary colours, I'm talking elephants and puppy dogs, I'm talking poorly-translated English phrases. And Cambodia, do we wear out nightwear at night? HECK NO we don't! The number one choice for all stylish Cambodian ladies this summer (ie. pretty much all year) is matching pyjama sets, paired with a lovely sandal. And why wouldn't this be all the rage, ladies and gentlemen? It manage to tick all the required boxes: it's conservative (no unsightly cleavage or midriff), it's cool, its coordinated.
How can one be hip and healthy at the same time? That's the question I seem to get asked the most. I'm here to give you the answer. The Phnom Penh-ians have got it down pat. Why suffer the formidable fumes of a city overrun with motos and pollution-pumping factories when you can block it out with a fashionable face mask? In hospital grade blue or pink, or fashionable Burberry patterning, this accessory is bound to keep you looking mysterious on the outside, and clean-lung-ed on the inside.
Ah yes, ladies and gentlemen. It's our highlight at the end of this evening's show- the traveller; in varying shades of manky, cringe, and thriftiness. Featuring prominently in this collection is a look that has been a staple for many seasons now: supremely floppy pants and skirts that, whilst seeming not only practical but also stunningly beautiful when bought at local markets for $5 ("Wow, I can wear this with x, y and z when I get home! They'll be so great!"), upon return home are suddenly seen under the harsh light of Western fashion, causing the buyers to recoil in "What the HELL was I thinking?!" horror.
The 3-for-$5 t-shirts are also doing very well this year amongst travellers. Some of the favourite slogans doing the round at the moment include:
- Same Same But Different (the catch-cry of the stall-holders at the market.)
- Angkor Beer
- Tin Tin in Cambodge
- I♥ Cambodia (don't we all? And yes we DO need to express it all over our breast.)In addition to exploring the fruits of the Cambodian made-for-foreigners fashion industry, well-seasoned Westerners are incredibly forward-thinking and innovative when it comes to their clothing combinations. "Why yes, this IS the thirty-second time I've worn this shirt, but just look at the way I pair it with these shorts, tuck it in, and put a scarf around my middle! It's as if it's an entirely different item of clothing, no?"
And let's not forget our fragrance lines, ladies and gentlemen. This evening's models, a collection of well-meaning Westerners from various corners of the globe, are wearing Eau de Toilet (not to be confused with Eau De Toilette, this one truly lives up to its name), Cam-BO-dia-deodorant and the new CK one-shirt-six-days.
Signing off, Claire McEvoy, runway-side.