A Cheerful Afternoon With Sylvia Chan – My William Street Festival 2013 Highlights

A Cheerful Afternoon With Sylvia Chan - My William Street Festival 2013 Highlights

The 5th annual William Street Festival, took place on a glorious spring day, Saturday the 28th of September.

Not only the local retailer community were out in great force in support of their big day… This festival also attracted many fashion lovers, shoppers and fun seekers to indulge in William Street Festival’s aromas, live music, street food stalls and of course, fashion, fashion, and MORE fashion! !

After a strolling alone William street, experiencing amazing energy and saw vivid colours of balloons and decorations, pop up bars and even a street ping-pong… I was then introduced to Sydney based fashion designer Sylvia Chan by my close friend – fashion photographer Kent Johnson.

‘Come and sit down!’ ‘Have some lollies! Or you prefer popcorn? It’s organic!…’ Sylvia greeted us warmly and kept offering us more food and drinks.
My first glance at Sylvia, this petite Australian Chinese designer was in a floral print summer dress, without any make up or jewellery….
I looked ‘into’ this fashion designer/couture retailer, thinking : ‘There’s nothing flashy or pretentious about this woman!’

As we sat facing each other across a small round outdoor table, chatting alone in between selling kids and visitors popcorn and offering free lollipops and balloons ( See the fun I had by involving with this festival?! ), several familiar faces and mutual friends surprisingly spotted us and dropped by for some chat and laughter.
The atmosphere was lay back and cruising….

Kent then pulled out his camera, started documenting our little party….
‘No! I have no make up on! Let my niece do it!’ Sylvia happily introduced her niece Kelly – a young up and coming fashion designer – to represent her for Kent’s fashion blog page.
While they were working on the shooting inside Sylvia’s store, here came our Turkish coffees – in Chinese handle free china cups – on an old English style silver tea tray… followed by a plate of mini rolls, mini pies and sausages… all prepared by Sylvia!

Our conversations, from her up coming New York trip to her store’s taking so far at that time. ( No kidding! That’s what she told us all – in an open and humorous way! )
‘You must join us for our pre Christmas lunch party when I return from New York.’ She said to me. ‘There will be all fashion people….’
When I got a verbal invite from Sylvia there and then, I knew she didn’t just try to be polite or social. She meant it!

We had to say good bye to Sylvia while she was inside her store serving a returned customer….
‘I made this lady her wedding gown fourteen years ago!’ Sylvia told us proudly while she was doing a fitting for her client.

Spending such a relaxing and fun-filled afternoon with Sylvia, I was totally wooed by her incredibly down to earth energy!
‘What a warm hearted charmer!’ I said to Kent when we left. ‘She is all real!’ I added.

Yes, Sylvia Chan, this earthy, giving, funny and creative fashion designer…
She ‘had me at hello’! !

Photography by: Kent Johnson

Check out Kelly Chan on Kent’s Street Fashion Sydney blog!


  1. OMG Vivienne! YOU ARE SO FUN, I just want to make your Wedding Gown!!!
    Look forward to our pre Christmas brunch with yummy foods, it’s going to be much better then party pies & sausage rolls.

    • Oh Sylvia, so good to hear from YOU!!! Kent told me that you are back from NYC. I’m sure we have lots to catch up!
      HAHAHA… YES my Wedding Gown!!! Since you’ve told the entire crowd that day – William Street Festival – I guess it’d be hard to disappoint everybody, right?!!! 😉
      We miss your company! Good to have you back! X X

  2. Thank you Vivienne.
    I will forward to others to join into the blog, I love Kent’s fashion writing style and your writing style is very ‘out there’ – surreal!!! A cloud on my head, out there! Let’s tell the whole world our thoughts.
    The photograph of you in this yellow dress is surreal, you look so amazingly stylish & I love people wearing hats on a daily basis. Twenty years ago every person walked pass with a hat on, now only a few. What Happened Viv??

    • Haha Sylvia, thank you for sharing my blog around!
      I like how you describing my writing style ‘out there’!! And guess what? I used to write romance novels for youth readers in Taiwan and got several novels published by Morning Star publishing company in Taiwan years ago.
      English is my second language and it’s much harder for me to share all my thoughts by such a limited language skill, but I’m trying and enjoying it!
      Yes I totally agree with you about the hats… The era (which a hat was a part of our outfits) has gone, and only very few still indulging in the ‘good old day’ trend in daily basis….. What a shame!!!

      There are some dresses of yours I’d love to try on, and also get to know more about YOU, Sylvia!
      I guess another visit with Kent to your boutique will be happening soon… Last visit was mostly about William Street Festival, next visit I’d love to see more of your latest creations!
      Simply can’t wait!!! 😉

  3. WOW VIVIENNE this explains your writing style now, “ROMANCE” and you dress like that as well!!! The mood in those pictures by Kent reminds me of the ‘ROMAN HOLIDAY’…… Where we fell in love with Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn. See you soon & we can play dress ups. We can set the standards where dreams become a reality. XOX

  4. From the revelation of some of your ‘out there’ thoughts and since we started to tell the whole world about our meeting…… Let’s create a vivalaViv VS Audrey Hepburn frock that enhances your personality. When I create it, I will write to you on this blog to try on – give me a few weeks though – then we shall run around like a few 8 year olds playing dress-ups like we use to do in our mom’s dresses.
    My mum was born in that era and her dresses were so beautiful and those black & white photographs taken by my dad, hand develop in a dark room & re-tinted by hand are glory days…..

    • OH~ WOWWWWWW!!!!!
      Sylvia!!! YOU are so wonderful! What a great thought and I’m so very flattered to be even linked to my style icon Audrey Hepburn – by YOU!!! 😀 😀
      OH YES please make it happen Sylvia and let the whole world know how much fun our love of style/fashion/photography can bring to us and brighten up our life! ! !

      It sounds to me that you grew up in a family which art/photography/fashion were playing important roles… How lovely! Thank you for sharing it with me and my readers – now everyone will be looking forward to your creation, my interpretation of this Audrey Hepburn inspired frock!!!

      OH I can hardly contain my excitement Sylvia! I’ll soon tell Kent about this exciting news and I bet he’d love to capture/documenting our ‘dress-up play day’ with his favourite toys – cameras! 🙂

  5. Yes, street parties are great fun, specially in the centre of Sydney, meeting old friends and making new ones.
    A writer and a fashion designer, what a combination – obviously you both hit it off, it showed in the blog and even more in the comments. Good reading.
    Maybe more of the same in the future? Look forward to seeing the vivalaViv/Audrey Hepburn frock outcome.

  6. Hello there,
    Hmmm been away lately attending to deadlines, however I have interpret a look which incorporates a custom made cloth which is an amazing pure cotton guipure lace specially woven for me in Taiwan that I will be using to create this number. It makes sense that I use the Taiwan craftsmanship in this cloth that is now a vintage cloth. Its very difficult to get this quality in the current era so you being a romantic novelist having your previous books published in Taiwan, your personality will be captured in this piece. It will happen…
    Ciao! xxx

    • WOW!!! This is just getting better and better Sylvia!!!
      What would be more perfect and special than a vintage fabric from my homeland Taiwan?!!! I mean, not only you are creating a frock for me to wear that’s inspired by my/our style icon Audrey Hepburn, you are also making it ‘meaningful’… YOU are AMAZING!!!
      Don’t hurry Sylvia, as we’d like to keep our readers stay tuned and wanting for MORE… X X X

  7. Couture is the way to go for this so can’t hurry this project.
    I have a few ideas that’s developing and where are those fairies that we can just wave that wand?
    Hurry Sylvia! (me)

  8. Will phone you soon to arrange a time to meet up. Turkish coffee is delightful !
    Today I sent out your blog to many to read.

  9. Ohhh… You should see it without the pearl pins! It’s DIVINE Viv! I think 3 more days till you can refit! Should be ready next week!

  10. Free lollipops and balloons would be enough to make me have a look inside. Nice designs on top of that is just extra frosting on the cake:) Did you go to the christmas party?

    • Oh yes, Sylvia’s pre-Christmas party was fabulous! Kent and I were invited for a twilight dinner at her back yard. She even baked her own bread!! It was an evening full of joy and laughter. 🙂

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