Washington, DC (December 5, 2011) – The Freer and Sackler Galleries’ Silk Road Society presented “Dress to Empress,” an evening soiree for young professionals, Dec. 3, 2011.
Chinese fashion was the theme of the night, celebrating the Sackler’s exhibitions: Power|Play: China’s Empress Dowager and Family Matters: Portraits from the Qing Court. Both exhibitions explore aspects of imperial life at court during the Qing dynasty, including fashion.
The highlight of the evening was a runway show featuring award-winning designer Yeohlee Teng’s Fall 2011 collection. Known for her sculptural and clean-lined silhouettes, Yeohlee embodies the concept of a modern, multi-cultural fashion designer. Her designs have earned her a permanent place in the Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is a recipient of the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion Design in 2004 and has exhibited around the world. The late Richard Martin, former Chief Curator of the Met, called Yeohlee “one of the most ingenious makers of clothing today.”
Scholars David Hogge and Daisy Wang lead gallery talks on Qing Dynasty fashion, including the costumes of Empress Dowager Cixi—the subject of the Power|Play exhibition. “The Empress was a fashion icon in her own right,” said Wang. “She was a powerful woman who loved clothes and created her own designs.”
The evening included specialty cocktails, Chinese cuisine, hypnotic beats by DJ Nitekrawler, exhibition tours, photo opportunities in traditional costumes from the Chinese Embassy, and a demonstration by Chinese papercut artist Voyo Foo.