The Godfather Speaks: WTA Gala Night Shines A Spotlight On Singaporean Talent
Daniel Boey, Singapore’s very own Godfather of Fashion, knows a thing or two about haters. In the many years he’s been involved as a producer, he’s received no shortage of ignorant comments and snide remarks. Just take a look at some of the comments on a recent Channel News Asia article:
To them, Boey responds nonchalantly: “If they don’t get it, that’s their problem. They probably weren’t the intended audience in the first place. Why put so much effort into pleasing people that ultimately aren’t going to affect your work and life?”
The ex-Asia’s Next Top Model mentor and producer of the 2017 New Paper New Face competition extends this advice to the young contestants he comes into contact with as well. But beyond all that, he’s also armed with a strong belief in highlighting local talent, and that beyond the naysayers about Singapore’s lack of flair for fashion or the arts, when there’s an opportunity to showcase what we’re capable of, he will go all out. And that will first of all, be showcased at the 2017 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Gala Night.
2017 will mark the second time Boey will be involved with the WTA Gala Night, slated to be one of the glitziest events of the year as the stars of the WTA descend upon Marina Bay Sands for a glamorous sit down dinner, as the night will see the prestigious draw ceremony to determine bouts, an awards ceremony honouring standout stars, and finally, an entertainment segment, which Boey will be helming together with co-creative director Beatrice Chia-Richmond.
This year, Boey will be upping the ante, from simply doing a fashion show in 2016, to a full on showcase of local talents in Singapore. Said Boey: “Although a lot of local companies try to do the same thing, too often, funding and scale can be a big problem, and we’re very grateful how Lagardère Sports and WTA were supportive of my ideas from the start when we suggested it to them and giving us this platform and opportunity.”
Themed ‘Singapore Celebrates WTA’, the entertainment segment this year will consist of 20 minutes of Singapore entertainers, from rapper ShiGGA Shay to singer Natalie Ong, alongside a fashion show consisting of designs from fashion veterans Thomas Wee and Peter Kor, the latter of which has not done a runway show since the early 2000s. Besides Wee and Kor, designs from up and coming designers such as Max Tan and Ong Shunmugam will also be featured, as well as accessories from local labels such as jewellery from Marilyn Tan and scarves from Binary Style.
Said Boey: “This year, we wanted to showcase talent from beyond the fashion sphere alone, and we can proudly say that this year even our multimedia designers, set designer, soundtrack composers and musicians are Singaporean. It’s not like we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel either; there’s so much talent to choose from that we were hard pressed to pick people from among the many, and this really is a good problem to have.”
As much as Boey wants to completely cast Singaporeans in the show and call it an all Singaporean production though, he will still cast non-Singaporeans as appropriate. Said Boey: “As far as possible, we’re casting Singaporeans in the show, but we’re not restricting it to this pool, or we might end up doing a lot of sympathy casting. We cast as appropriate, and if there’s really no local model that can is best suited to walk a certain look or is unavailable for example, then we will cast a non-Singaporean. We say ‘support local’, but we want to put on a good show as well, and make them go ‘Wow, I didn’t know she was Singaporean!’ instead of ‘Well, this is precisely why we don’t cast Singaporeans.'” As far as we’ve heard though, it’s essentially an all Singaporean production that guests will bear witness to tonight.
Co-Creative Director Beatrice Chia-Richmond, an avid tennis fan herself, added: “Women who play tennis on the court are beautiful and have such strong personalities. The show encapsulates what WTA is all about: showcasing and celebrating these strong women. Held in a fabulous venue like Marina Bay Sands in the heart of Singapore, I can’t imagine a better way to present Singapore as a growing hub for sports and creativity in Asia.”
“As for working with Daniel, he’s a man of many bright ideas, and working with one of my best friends is an absolute joy. We play off well with each other, and our years of friendship certainly helps too,“ she added.
Said Boey: “Ultimately, these are all people who can fly the flag high and bring pride to our local talent, they’re all fantastic and I think that it’ll be a great show. Each of these events act as baby steps towards a much brighter future to look forward to for Singapore’s creative scene, but we must never stop improving. I’m a firm believer in the importance of marketing, and as designers keep getting better, it’s all we can do to help them sell themselves and make people out there more aware that their label exists and that they’re doing good work.”