In award winning designer Carrie K.’s newest collection, the outmoded concept of a family heirloom is given new life with her unique take, allowing future generations to build on existing designs by continually mixing and matching accessories in an ongoing Singapore story.
Now, she’s expanded on that concept and not only has she added new designs to the Modern Heirloom Collection, she’s even launched an entire exhibition dedicated to making the old feel new again in the hands of some very talented local designers in New Wives’ Tales, with products and designs that would be a welcome, fashionable addition to any modern wedding with a heritage twist.
Each of the familiar classics in the New Wives’ Tales exhibition come with their own intimate stories. Besides the existing Si Dian Jin and Peranakan Tile motifs Carrie K has incorporated into the Modern Heirloom collection, meant to represent four generations of stability and harmony under a single roof, the new designs feature centrepiece precious stones featured on rings and earrings, which of course, can continue to match with the previous designs with a clever interlocking mechanism.
New Wives’ Tales also features Kristine Hakim of Eskpade, a local millinery label. Kristine’s hats and headdresses can be seen from a mile away – they’re loud and dramatic, but at the same time classy and intricately designed, with a distinct Asian flair, perfect for standing out at a wedding. Says Kristine: “I started Eskpade because I was looking for hats, and I decided, why not make some myself? It may seem like it’s a concept that’s only popular in the West, but it’s been picking up in Asia recently. Many of my designs are inspired by my travels overseas, which is also partly the reason I derived my brand’s name from the word ‘escapade’.”
No bride’s wedding would be complete without a dress of course, and Time Taken To Make A Dress has decided to update the traditional Chinese wedding kua with their signature blend of fine technique and artistry. Playing on the symbol of the phoenix, these classic looks are given a modern update, ascending to haute couture levels, each one painstakingly handmade over 680 hours and embroidered with love. Melding traditional, auspicious red and gold with modern silhouettes, each of these dresses will certainly make a bridal statement at the banquet.
No wedding is complete without food of course, and new cookie brand on the block Old Seng Choong was also present to showcase their bites. With 11 unique flavours that displayed the range of uniquely Singaporean flavours, ranging from Cereal Prawn to Bak Kut Teh, the brand aims to make their cookies a convenient way for tourists to bring the taste of Singapore back to their home countries.
Finally, we were also introduced to the man behind Qi Pottery. Potter Kim Whye Kee founded Qi Pottery in 2016, and hand makes each of these ceramic teapots out of clay from Tampines quarry, making the perfect companion for a traditional tea ceremony at a Chinese wedding as it blends both the practical with the aesthetic. At the exhibition, the unique design of this limited edition teapot features a handle fashioned after two gold wedding bands that also forms the symbol for infinity, signifying blissful and everlasting love to the bride and groom.
Teaming up with local tea company Pek Sin Choon, we even got a chance to see what these teapots were capable of, drinking the fragrant and aromatic heritage tea blends, leaving us feeling immediately rejuvenated and ready to go. Says Whye Kee: “If you look at the packaging of these teas, there’s actually a story behind them. This ‘iron man’ was a response to the Japanese saying the Chinese were weak-bodied back in the 30s, and these teas are in fact rich in minerals, so the design was meant to encourage people to drink the tea, get stronger and better defend singapore. This other design depicts a table tennis player, designed after the first Chinese man won the world championship in table tennis in 1959, and local tea merchants came up with this design to encourage people to play sports.”
If you’re looking to marry tradition and modernity for your wedding, then New Wives’ Tales might just provide the perfect inspiration for a clever twist of the two. There are some truly smart designs on display here, and we imagine that ‘old’ wives, new wives and their daughters alike will both be appreciative and wowed by the exhibition.
New Wives’ Tales runs at Carrie K. at the National Design Centre till 22nd April. Admission is free. For more information, visit the website here