中國服裝創新意

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1990 / 3月

文‧宋菊琴 圖‧鄭元慶



去年十一月,由紡拓會舉辦的「台北國際紡織周」中有兩場時裝發表會,分別以「赤子」、「創意、古典、中國」為主題,由十九位設計師發表新作。這兩場發表會的共同特點是——以中國出發。

此外,在同時舉辦的第三屆「時裝設計新人獎」中,紡拓會也將主題限定為「現代華夏組曲,表現中國精神新貌」。

以幫助國內紡織業者拓展外銷市場為宗旨的紡拓會,近來為什麼那麼「偏愛」中國?

「在西方設計中打轉,永遠跳不出別人的影子,比不過別人;只有在中國的精神中找尋題材,才能夠成為全球獨一無二的創新設計」,中華民國織品服裝設計協會常務理事徐莉玲說出她的觀察。而這需要有一群人來做,才能造成聲勢,在全世界的流行界建立起中國人的地位。

把握時機,創造契機

日本就是很好的例子。大約五、六年前,一群日本設計師,在政府刻意培養下,以日本的傳統印花布料設計服裝,在巴黎展出,結果大放異彩,一舉將日本的時裝設計師推上國際舞台。

而在世界流行趨勢中,這也是中國服裝上場的難得良機。近年來電影「末代皇帝」夾奧斯卡金像獎的聲譽,在世界各地播映,帶動了「中國熱」。加上亞洲經濟的快速成長,中國大陸的開放政策,乃至六四天安門事件,都使世界的眼光投向亞洲,中國成為世界焦點。在服裝流行的民俗風中,「中國」佔了重要地位,許多西方知名的設計師,都將中國的流蘇、盤扣,或如意、雲頭……等圖案融入設計之中。

在這股來自世界性的中國風吹襲下,國內設計師得以順勢而為。紡拓會更寄望能掌握這股契機,為已陷入「夕陽工業」困境的國內成衣業,找出一條新的路子。

紡拓會這兩年來的努力,不但使許多服裝設計師的作品中,開始出現富於中國感覺的設計,也將這種意念向下扎根,對接受專業教育的學生,產生了影響力。

今年甫從實踐家專服裝科畢業的沈勃宏,就以「中國海」為設計主題,贏得共有九個國家、十位設計師參賽的「第一屆亞洲設計競賽」首獎。評審對他的共同評語是「非常具有創意」。他強調肩線,但呈現出來的是中國古代偏好的圓滑美人肩肩線,不誇張,但又不失墊肩效果;在袖子及下襬更以海螺狀的線條獨樹一格。

消費者喜舊厭新

其實,國內早就有不少設計師在傳統文化中找題材,運用最廣的屬禮服、旗袍和以棉布製作客家衫式的休閒服。在這些設計中,有著明顯的中國服裝圖案、線條和色彩。

近年來紡拓會與中華民國織品服裝設計協會所努力的方向,則將傳統文化、藝術的精髓融入現代創新的設計之中。

具體地說,就是將繁複的中國服裝予以簡化,以表達中國精神為訴求。像設計師黃嘉純就取李清照的悲劇色彩,來表現服裝的端莊、冷豔的風格;設計師溫慶珠則是以素雅的布料,配上白色蕾絲,展現林黛玉式的淒美纖柔,希望能表現中國特色,又能迎合國外消費者偏好線條簡單服裝的特性,將中國時裝打入國際市場。

但是,國內服裝公司規模都不大,要談國際市場之前,得先能立足台灣。從消費者接納的程度來看,有明顯中國服裝色彩者佔了上風。龍笛實業公司負責人蔡孟夏即表示,她的服裝以旗袍出發,也就是一般所稱的改良式旗袍,運用各種素面及印花布料以現代的剪裁方式,如墊肩、寬袖、寬腰身……,擴大旗袍的穿著場合。尤其是在出席國際性會議,或正式宴會中,這種改良式的旗袍已被視為代表性的中國服裝。

要穿旗袍有條件?

改良後的旗袍吸引人的另一要素是——「能藏拙」。「東方人的身材比例較短小,若略發胖,就不好看。而旗袍是一件式的,沒有中間切割的剪接線,不但可以掩飾體型的缺陷,更可以發揮修長的視覺效果」,蔡孟夏分析。因此,她的服裝也深受身材比例與國人相當的日本觀光客的喜愛。

反觀近來以單純線條來表現中國精神的中國裝,就沒這麼幸運。尤其是今年流行合身的剪裁,消費者看了雖然「發思古之幽情」,但是少有人會真的買來穿。原因是,這種服裝似乎只適合年輕貌美、天生麗質的人穿著,但因布料講究,手工精緻,真正有購買力的太太們,體型難免都有了變化,只有慨嘆「時不我予」。

生活服飾公司設計師林燕雀即發現,在她們分別走民俗、客家衫及較正式中國裝的三個品牌中,就以用線條表達中國意念的中國裝,最不易引起消費者共鳴,產生不中不西或曲高和寡的反應。

所以,設計師大都以每季推出一、二組的方式搭配在西式服裝中,做為試探性的銷售,希望能藉此摸索出消費者的口味。

設計師身兼數職

除了消費市場仍有待培養外,設計師本身也面臨許多問題。國內設計師通常身兼老闆、設計、經營、管理等職。在這種狀況下,難有真正突出的創意與靈感。

設計師溫慶珠就很感慨地表示,在學生時代,她滿腦子都是創作靈感,把媽媽的旗袍剪短,配上長褲來穿;把壓箱底的青花織錦鍛被面做成袍型的套衫……,這些點子都讓她出盡風頭,讓爸爸皺緊眉頭。

現在她每天忙著為經營壓力奔波,幸好從小習國畫,又有一群藝文界的朋友,能不時來點腦力激盪,否則每天生活在這全盤西化,又毫無美感的都市中,真不知如何創造好的作品。

相形之下,財力雄厚者就佔了不少優勢。一直致力於「中國人要創造自己流行,說自己故事」的蔡孟夏,她的休閒生活就是觀魚、賞玩古董、看畫展。她還收集不少龍袍、繡花片。近年來為了將設計的服裝從禮服、旗袍跨入休閒服的路線,她還透過各種管道,積極地蒐集大陸各少數民族的服裝,加以研究。

「創作中國裝,無前例可循,又不似西式服裝有許多流行資訊可參考,要跨越這道門檻實在不容易」,她表示,「這需要經過長時間的醞釀、反芻,再加上個人的設計經驗。」遇到設計瓶頸無法突破時,蔡孟夏就出外旅行,回來後再重新出發。

要從充實內涵做起

和這些設計師相較,十七歲就到法國、美國修習服裝設計的黃嘉純,這條路子走起來就更困難了。

「對具歐洲風格的服裝設計,我可以準確地掌握,但是我抓不住中國的感覺」,她懊惱地說。

一年來,她的設計從表現李清照的悲劇色彩,到瓷器柔美線條,今年春夏裝,更準備以中國的木雕來詮釋。但她不以此為滿足,「中國風豐富了我在服裝設計上的主題,但我只能表現出它的線條,無法表現它的精神」,黃嘉純說。

從黃嘉純學習的背景可以看出,她雖然有豐富的國際觀,卻苦於對中國的認識太薄弱,就連如何在國內找資料都是新的學習。但她堅定的說,「這條路要永遠走下去,這不只是流行的風潮,而將永遠融入我的設計之中。」

為什麼要這麼「自討苦吃」?她回答:「如果再不找到自己,台灣會繼香港之後,成為穿歐洲服裝、開美國汽車的另一部『拼裝車』。」

問題真不少

在這些設計師個個意志堅定地為中國服裝打入國際市場做準備之時,卻令人好生氣餒——因為仍有許多相關問題不能不搬上檯面。其中最嚴重的,是勞力斷層、缺乏適用的布料和副料。

勞力不足是目前國內普遍現象,對需要高度縫製技術的中國式服裝來說,問題就更嚴重了。

在製作與訓練新人上有獨到功夫的蔡孟夏,將製作的過程儘量改進,新手只要訓練三個月到半年就可派上用場,但是,「我只敢做國內市場,不敢接國外訂單,因為沒有把握能如期交貨」,她說。

設計師李尤就曾為勞力不足問題,於今年四月到大陸參觀,但是共產制度與懶散的工作效率,都使她不敢貿然採取設廠行動。

在布料方面,由於國內布廠規模大都不大,不足以養一個研究開發部門來設計新的布料,因而只有跟在世界各國的流行之後。此外,國產布料常有染色堅牢度不夠、布料的成份純度不足等現象,都使其色澤和觸感不如進口貨。在消費者眼光漸高,而進口關稅又日漸降低的有利條件下,進口布料成了與設計師的設計相得益彰的唯一選擇。

蔡孟夏在故宮博物院邀請她提供作品,代表現代中國服裝參展時,交了白卷。她無奈地表示,「我找不到一塊足以代表的國產布料。」

除了布料之外,相關的副料像花邊、扣子……等,國內設計師也得越過大半個地球,到紐約、巴黎去採購。

「國內能買到的都是些鐵的、塑膠的製品」,溫慶珠啼笑皆非地說,反而在世界吹起中國風之際,在巴黎就可以買到各式各樣的盤扣,或繡製精美的花邊,使設計出來的服裝更具畫龍點睛的功效。

但是,若要塑造出整體的感覺,還得從頭到腳搭配,這些皮包、鞋子等相關產業又要如何配合?

「現在是中國服裝進軍國際市場最有利的時刻」,紡拓會指出,但只有由提升設計師水準的努力,到全體相關工業的一併成長,共同邁入成熟,中國服裝才能真正在國際市場上立足。

〔圖片說明〕

P.7

輕柔、飄逸的雪舫,是展現中國風的主要素材之一。(張良綱攝)

P.8

傳統的斜襟、對開,在中國式服裝的設計中運用極廣。

P.10

沈勃宏以重疊的立領、圓滑的肩線和誇張的海螺狀袖口,創造這套「中國海」,榮獲第一屆亞洲設計競賽首獎。(紡拓會提供)

P.11

把精緻的刺繡,畫龍點睛地運用在服裝設計上,也是一種中國意念的表達。(黃嘉純提供)

P.10

紡拓會藉服裝發表會,鼓勵設計師從中國出發,探索不同的創作意念。(張良綱攝)

P.13

選美會中,東西方佳麗們穿著旗袍亮相的美姿,對中國服裝的推展,有不少效果。

P.13

中國建築中的圖案,最常出現在改良式旗袍的設計中。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

New Ideas for Chinese Fashion

Theresa Sung /photos courtesy of Arthur Cheng /tr. by Peter Eberly


National and folk styles have been on the ascendant in the fashion world in partly to the film The Last Emperor, has claimed an important place among them.

In line with this trend, more and more fashion designers in Taiwan have been trying to find a place of their own by turning the eyes of the world to clothing with a Chinese look.

During the Taipei International Textile Week, sponsored last November by the Taiwan Textile Federation, two seminars were held on the subject of Chinese design and new creations were presented by nineteen fashion designers. In addition, the theme of the third annual Awards for New Talent in Fashion Design, held by the federation at the same time, was "A Contemporary Chinese Suite: A New Look for the Chinese Spirit."

Why has the Textile Federation, dedicated to assisting domestic textile makers expand their export markets, become so enamored of China lately?

"If we just keep spinning around in Western designs, we'll never be able to stand out from the shadow of others and compare favorably with them. The only way we can achieve designs of our own that are uniquely creative is to pursue themes with a Chinese spirit," says Hsu Li-ling, director of the Fashion Designers Association of the Republic of China. And that requires that people in the field make concorted efforts so as to draw more attention to Chinese design and earn it a place on the world fashion scene.

Japan is a good example. About five or six years ago a group of Japanese designers, sedulously cultivated by the government, exhibited a series of traditional Japanese printed dresses at Paris. The result was a huge success that pushed Japanese fashion designers to the front and center of the international stage at a single stroke.

Judged by world fashion trends, the present is a rare and opportune moment for Chinese couture to step into the limelight. The Oscar-winning film The Last Emperor, screened around the globe, stirred up worldwide enthusiasm for things Chinese. That and the rapid growth of the Asian economy, mainland China's moves toward economic liberalization, and even the Tienanmen massacre of June 4th have focused the eyes of the world on China. The China look has come to occupy an important place in the folk-style movement in fashion, and many noted Western designers have incorporated Chinese tassels, buttons, and patterns in their creations.

The global China enthusiasm has given domestic designers a green light to go ahead, and the Taiwan Textile Federation hopes that the domestic garment industry, which has fallen on hard times lately, will seize this opportunity to strike out on a new path.

The efforts of the federation over the past two years have not only encouraged many established designers to infuse a Chinese feel in their collections but have influenced the thinking of students specially trained in fashion design.

Shen Po-hung, who graduated from design school just last year, won first prize among ten designers from nine countries in the First Asian Design Competition, with his theme Of "China Sea." The joint evaluation of him by the judges was "extremely creative."

In fact, a number of designers on Taiwan adopted traditional Chinese themes in their collections quite a while ago and made use of Chinese-style patterns, cuts, and colors.

In recent years, though, thanks to the efforts of the Taiwan Textile Federation and the Fashion Designers Association of the Republic of China, the gist of traditional art and culture has truly been fused into contemporary creative design. In more concrete terms, that means that elaborate and complicated Chinese apparel has been simplified to express the appeal of the Chinese spirit more directly.

Domestic garment manufacturers are not large in scale, however, and before setting their sights on the international market they must first to be able to stand up on their own two feet on Taiwan. Judged by the degree of consumer acceptance it is receiving, apparel with a clear Chinese look is gaining the upper hand. M.S. Ts'ai, president of the Long Light Corporation, says that her collection all starts from the cheongsam, or what is generally called the improved version of the cheongsam, and utilizes various prints and fabrics with contemporary cuts to expand the occasions on which it can be worn. It is the most representative Chinese dress bar none for appearances at international conferences or formal banquets.

Another feature of the improved cheongsam that makes it appealing is its "user-friendliness." The Oriental figure is rather petite and even a bit of flab looks bad. But the cheongsam is a one-piece outfit, with no cut in the middle. It covers up defects in a woman's figure and gives a visual effect of height and length," Ts'ai says, adding that her apparel is also a favorite with Japanese customers, who have a similar physique.

Despite the growing popularity of their collections, though, domestic designers face many obstacles to achieving international success. One problem is they often wear too many hats. Serving simultaneously as company president, agent, and manager diminishes a designer's ability to come up with truly outstanding ideas and inspiration.

Two other serious problems are the island-wide labor shortage and a lack of suitable fabrics. The labor shortage has been particularly damaging to the couture business, which requires highly skilled workers for sewing and cutting.

As for fabric, most domestic suppliers lack the resources to perform R&D of their own and simply go along with the trends in other countries. Domestically made fabrics are often inferior to imported fabrics in color, purity, and texture, and as consumers become increasingly choosy and import tariffs are lowered, imported fabrics have become the only choice for top designers.

In addition to fabric, most local designers also source their lace, buttons, and other fashion accessories from New York and Paris, halfway around the world.

"Now is the time for Chinese couture to move onto the international market," the Taiwan Textile Federation states, but only when the hard work that has been devoted to raising the quality of domestic design was been extended to related areas of the industry can Chinese apparel truly stand in the forefront of the fashion scene.

[Picture Caption]

Soft, light chiffon is one of the main fabrics used in expressing a Chinese style. (photo by Vincent Chang)

Traditional slanted and vertical buttoning methods are widely used in Chinese fashion design.

Shen Po-hung won top honors in the First Asian Design Competition with his China Sea series, which features layered collars, rounded shoulders, and spiral cuffs. (photo courtesy of the Taiwan Textile Federation)

The Taiwan Textile Federation held two seminars to encourage designers to set out from China in exploring different creative ideas. (photo by Vincent Chang)

The appropriate use of exquisite embroidery in garment design is another expression of the China look. (photo courtesy of Carson Huang)

The lovely sight of these beauty pageant contestants in cheongsams certainly contributed toward promoting Chinese dress.

Patterns from Chinese architecture often appear on designs for the improved cheongsam.

 

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