Seeing double on the Icon red carpet

Seeing double on the Icon red carpet

Wearing the same dress as someone else to a party is every girl's fashion nightmare, but that was exactly what happened at ICON magazine's 10th anniversary gala.

Held at the Shangri-La ballroom on Wednesday (April 15), high-profile socialite Jamie Chua and fellow society belle Ginny Wiluan turned up on the red carpet in nearly identical dresses.

Both fire-engine red Isabel Sanchis dresses featured an eye-catching layered hoop skirt, but had subtle design differences up top.

While Ms Chua opted for a halter neckline design, Mrs Wiluan's pick featured a bustier top with a deep V-neckline.

Instead of running in opposite directions when they spotted each other, the two ladies managed to laugh off the potentially awkward encounter and gamely posed for photos together.

Ms Chua, a former SIA stewardess and model, told The New Paper (TNP) that she picked the $10,000 outfit from the Spanish haute couture design house as "it's the dress that's on the red carpet this season."

She added: "I don't spend a lot of time preparing. I just see the best thing and I just get it."

According to her Instagram posts, she had been shopping around for the right dress to wear a week before the event.

Ms Chua also defended the alleged fashion faux pas, saying her dress was different from Mrs Wiluan's as "it had more layers".

Dubbed the Queen of Instagram, Ms Chua was one of 20 women who won the best dressed bouquet for the evening.

But it was no surprise to her at all. She told TNP: "I wasn't shocked. Honestly, I'm really used to it."

The former convent girl was previously married to Indonesian businessman Nurdian Cuaca and was involved in a high-profile divorce involving a $450,000 monthly maintenance sum which Chua reportedly demanded. The divorce reached an amicable settlement in November 2011.

Ms Chua is also well-known for having one of the largest collection of Hermes Birkin bags in the world, with more than 200 at last count in 2014, according to a report.

Dramatic "cocoon" dress turns heads

Another style maven who turned heads with her gown was socialite Susanna Kang, whose black "cocoon" dress was, hands down, the most dramatic of the night. Madam Kang was also among the 20 best dressed at the ball.

Her bespoke gown was designed by local designer Alfie Leong, founder of fashion labels Mu and A.W.O.L, and took two weeks to create.

Mr Leong told AsiaOne he designed the lambskin corset "armour" and contrasted it against a mermaid-cut gown, draped with two layers of French lace fabric. 

Madam Kang managed to pull off carrying "over 100 yards of fabric" on her back, which was secured around her "like the wings on a Victoria's Secret Angel," said Mr Leong. Wings which weighed a hefty 5 to 8kg, although one would not be able to tell from the way Madam Kang floated around the room effortlessly.

She was also perspiring underneath all that fabric, and was "prepared not to go to the toilet the whole night", said the flamboyant mother-of-one. The "cocoon" on her back would later unravel to reveal a long train.

Equally impressive was Madam Kang's hairdo, fashioned into several cuboid shapes, styled by local hair guru Grego Oh.

The fashionista, known for her bold sartorial choices, said that she did not consider buying a dress off the rack at a store. She wanted her outfit to reflect her "DNA" as a modern woman with both soft and hard edges, hence the mix of leather and lace. Her "transformer dress", as she calls it, also plays on the theme of "metamorphosis", in light of SG50 and ICON's 10th anniversary.

ICON is a Chinese luxury and lifestyle magazine for Singapore's bilingual elite, published by SPH Magazines.

"In its 10 years, Icon has become the first and most established luxury Chinese magazine, with a strong database and readership," said Mr Sylvester Ng, the magazine's deputy editor.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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