Ong Shunmugam: A Conversation

Last week, Ong Shunmugam showed their Cruise 2018 collection at Violet Oon Satay Bar and Grill. Contrary to what the comments that followed designer Priscilla Shunmugam’s Facebook post suggest, not every woman liked it

Priscilla Shunmugam has eschewed fashion weeks to go about on her own. Last Thursday, she revealed her Cruise 2018 collection, Love Letters, for Ong Shunmugam at Violet Oon’s present pet project, the eponymous Satay Bar and Grill—a seven-month-old, fantasy colonial-era, E&O Hotel-ish, British-pub-gone-posh establishment in Clark Quay—that, to Ms Shunmugam’s fans, “is such a perfect location” for her “beautiful collection”.

This time, however, “beautiful” isn’t the cultural campur that puts eye, brain, and heart in throbbing disagreement; this time, the collection seems to pick up from where the now-defunct brand Raoul left off—vaguely retro, feminine fluff, so much so that we thought she had hired the latter’s design team.

If we were to take to the town’s tittle-tattle, the brand has fallen out of favour with some organizers of fashion events. Perhaps, this may work to their advantage. A small closed-door affair means keeping the showing to only those who will augment their business, who will likely desire than disparage, who will rave even for no reason. Despite the feel-the-love message that the brand was communicating, some observers were audibly not impressed.

Chance does work in mysterious ways. We were having lunch yesterday at Encik Tan in Bugis+ with those who regularly contribute to SOTD when we heard, between mouthfuls of stewed cartilage pork noodles, the prattle of two voluble women in kind of fashionable attire. They had our full attention.

Woman 1: Did you see the Ong Shunmugam’s Cruise 2018 collection?

Woman 2: Are they serious? Nothing in the collection gave me the impression they know how to even pull it together.

W1: They’re like satay, lah: not necessarily quality meat.

W2: I bet they do not even know how to make satay.

W1: Many people who sell satay don’t know how to make satay.

W2: And people still love their satay.

W1: It’s easy to be skewered! Anyway, just eat, lor. I doubt they know what good satay is.

W2: Still, the accolades that followed! Did you read the comments? “Stunning”?!

W1: They were stunned, lah!

W2: So was I! I better stop my ranting; maybe I am outdated.

W1: There are women with dubious taste: enough to keep Ong Shunmugam in business. Just because I won’t wear their things does not mean others won’t too.

W2: It is no wonder retail is in the state that it is in. I rather wear my old M)phosis for the rest of my life.

W1: Polyester jersey is your destiny!

W2: Better that than cotton poplin batik! Does she think she’s Dries?

W1: Yah, lor. Surely not Batik Keris.

W2: Then I am Phoebe Philo!

W1: You’re Maria Grazia Chiuri!

W2: Oh no, please! She’s so hokey. Actually, I think she’s Francis Cheong!

W1: That’s a compliment.

W2: Thank you, but I’m sorry, I can’t begin to fathom. What’s her appeal? Her clever use of print?

W1: There’s nothing clever about her use of print.

W2: I was being sarcastic.

W1: I was being truthful.

W2: The truth does not always mar anything.

W1: The prints are too busy covering up the truth. No one will know if you can’t sew a straight line. Actually, on paper, she seems to have the concept pat, but the clothes, they are something else. Can’t translate?

W2: Exactly.

W1: Some women fantasize about flowers, but, poor thing, they end up on the dirt.

W2: Eeeee…

Photo/screen grab: Priscilla Shunmugam/Facebook

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One thought on “Ong Shunmugam: A Conversation

  1. Pingback: There Will Be SFW 2017 | Style On The Dot

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