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Evening Elegance(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 03,2008)


Cocktail Wear

This elegant dress festooned with crystals, mother-of-pearl and sequins is from the sophisticated cocktail wear collection offered by Youssef Sabra Sons Trading Co of Lebanon

Ranging from richly ornate to modestly accented, cocktail wear comes in all styles to promise every woman a "knock'em dead" look at parties

Elaborately embroidered or understated with subtle details, cocktail wear offers such a wide variety of designs that there's something sure to appeal to every female partygoer.

Targeting the top end of this market is Youssef Sabra Sons Trading Co, whose Jalpar brand features sophisticated evening wear.

"Our collection is more like haute couture, and each season our designers in Lebanon create around 45 styles," says Executive Manager Shatha Yahya.

The new theme from Jalpar for fall/winter 2008/09 is Deep Sea, with beige and gold as the main colours. Ms Yahya notes the range also features some dark yet flashy colours from the deep sea, such as the dark green and purple perfect for fall/winter appeal.

"We use high-quality silk chiffon, satin and lace enhanced with Swarovski crystals and various metal pieces to create a lavish look," says Ms Yahya.

One of the firm's newest items is a silk dress complete with chains of small shells and crystals running down the front in an artistic interpretation of fish scales. "With designs exhibiting European flair, our Lebanon-made garments are well received by boutiques and buyers in Dubai, Korea and the US," Ms Yahya says.

Also expert at evening wear is Chaozhou Glorious Arts & Crafts Co Ltd, which creates 100 new styles monthly. "We sell mostly to importers in the US," says Manager Lin Yang.

He says that the firm's evening dresses range in price from US$25-40 each FOB Hong Kong. "Occasionally, an item may cost as much as US$60 if it contains more handwork," he adds.

He stresses that hand finishing is a core strength at Chaozhou Glorious, as illustrated by an eye-catching evening dress with a bustier adorned with ruffled ribbon.

With its manufacturing base in China's Chaozhou City, the firm sells mainly to the US market, which takes up 80% of its output. "We recently managed to expand from our major market to cover more emerging areas such as the Middle East, as well as Italy and France," enthuses Mr Lin.

Yiu Yeung Fashion Co also counts workmanship and creativity as important aspects in the design and manufacture of cocktail wear. The firm boasts a creative team of some 40 designers, pattern makers and sample technicians, and they create upward of 600 new styles annually.

"With more than two decades of experience in Europe and the US - our major markets - we are well acquainted with customers' preferences for fabrics, design details and colours," says Manager Henry Huang, adding that one of the firm's new designs is a simple yet elegant cocktail dress comprising a ruched bustier and pleated skirt.

"Evening wear, which used to employ lots of embroidery and beading, now tends to feature more contemporary styling that fits in somewhere between a high-fashion and an evening look, and the focus is now more on the cut," Mr Huang observes, noting that popular colours include black, deep orange, ivory, peacock blue and navy blue.

General Manager Jackie Yuen of J. Casseria Mfy Co agrees that lower-key designs are in vogue. "It is quite obvious that buyers are looking for cleaner styles and a reduction in beaded adornment, while pleating, which started to gain attention again last year, is in full momentum," he says.

J. Casseria offers more than 200 new dress designs for this season, featuring bubble skirts and pleating in various forms among other trendy details.

"There are quite a lot of brown and gold colours this year," he says. "Instead of plain hues, though, we have animal prints, polka dots and metallic effects on fabrics such as polyester satin, chiffon, taffeta and knit jersey."

Evening shoes are also important accessories to complement that perfect party look, and Hong Kong firm, Sauvignon, creates more than 130 styles each season.

According to Director Wendy Poon, white is taking centre stage, with evening shoes dominated by glittering designs and even lace. "But we also have colourful variations, such as shoes crafted from pure silk and Italian leather that come in fashionable metallic shades of gold, silver, red, pink, blue or light green," she says.

Designs for the season are also ultra-feminine, epitomised by adornments such as crystal-encrusted bows, stone-studded bands, and ankle straps with dangling crystals. Ms Poon says Sauvignon is not only famous for its ability to create a wealth of styles but also for shoes of quality and comfort.

The company uses Swarovski crystals and high-quality silk. "Leather is also employed for both outsoles and linings, and we add a soft pad to guarantee the consumer extra comfort when wearing our shoes," she assures.

With its major markets in China (70%) and Japan, Sauvignon is looking to expand into the US and Europe, especially targeting evening wear companies.

"Most designs offered by makers of evening shoes in general are highly standardised except for the big brand names," she says. "I believe we have a niche in the mid-range and high-end segments of the market."

Offering a diversified product mix is Ambrosia Paris, which, headquartered in the French capital, specialises in evening bags, watches and accessories for markets including Europe, the Middle East and Indonesia.

Romance is the latest theme. "This collection is inspired by a beautiful and romantic garden, with tulips, roses, ladybugs and butterflies, all of which become vivid three-dimensional motifs crafted in our evening bags and accessories," says Export Manager Prudence Pao, stressing that the company's wares are unique and unavailable elsewhere.

"Our original products are all designed in-house in Paris, using various materials from different suppliers in Asia that are sent to Paris for final assembly," she explains.

With such a variety of cocktail wear on offer, getting dressed to the nines is never a challenge for partying belles.



Ambrosia Paris
8, Rue De La Corderie
75003, Paris
Tel: 33-1-4274-5514
Fax: 33-1-4274-5528
Year Established: 1992
Major Product Categories: evening bags, watches, gifts, silver jewellery
Own Brands & Certificates: Ambrosia Paris
Minimum Order: €3,000
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 60 days
Factory Size & Location: Paris, Europe, Asian countries
Workforce: -
Chaozhou Glorious Arts & Crafts Co Ltd
WeiYe Bldg, D5-5, Gaoxin Zone
The North Piece of Economic Development Experimental Zone,
Tel: 86-768-227-8445
Fax: 86-768-229-2542
Web: www.hglorious.com
Year Established: 1990
Major Product Categories: evening dresses, evening bags, metal bags, wedding dresses
Own Brands & Certificates: Glorious
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production: 10,000 pieces
Delivery Time: 30-35 days
Factory Size & Location: Chaozhou
Workforce: 200
J. Casseria Mfy Co
Unit 608, CAC Tower
165 Hoi Bun Rd, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2799-3173
Fax: 852-2798-7533
Web: www.casseria.com.hk
Year Established: 1989
Major Product Categories: apparel and fashion accessories
Own Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: 100 pieces (5 sizes) per order
Monthly Production: 5,000 pieces
Delivery Time: 60 days
Factory Size & Location: 20,000 square feet; Chaozhou
Workforce: 150
Rm 1101B, Bartlock Centre
3 Yiu Wa St, Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2572-5770
Web: www.sauvignon.com.hk
Year Established: 2004
Major Product Categories: ladies' shoes, bridal and evening shoes
Own Brands & Certificates: Sauvignon
Minimum Order: 60 pairs
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 4 weeks
Factory Size & Location: -
Workforce: -
Yiu Yeung Fashion Co
5/F, XinWei Bldg
No.6 Ke Ji East Rd, Exploitation Area Technique Gaoxin,
Tel: 86-754-888-1904
Fax: 86-754-888-4146
Web: www.yiuyeung.net
Year Established: 1986
Major Product Categories: beaded evening dresses, scarves
Own Brands & Certificates: Yiu Yeung
Minimum Order: 60 pieces per style, one colour
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: -
Factory Size & Location: 3,500 square metres; Shantou
Workforce: 450
Youssef Sabra Sons Trading Co
5/F, Sabra Commercial Centre
Corniche Al-Mazraa St
P.O. Box: 14-5160, Beirut-Lebanon
Tel: 961-1-706868
Fax: 961-1-701608
Web: www.jalpar.org
Year Established: 2004
Major Product Categories: high-end evening dresses
Own Brands & Certificates: Jalpar
Minimum Order: 4 pieces per colour and style
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: -
Factory Size & Location: Beirut, Dubai
Workforce: -