Fashion, in fact, plays a big part in Chinese Spring Festival. As a new wardrobe means welcoming a brand new year; a brand new start. So traditionally we all have to dress up in our new outfits – from the head to toe – on the New Year’s Day. Therefore, in the lead up to the New Year’s Day, parents would shop around for their kids’ perfect new clothes.
With the Spring Festival to look forward to; let’s not forget there was lots of window shopping and trying on. Winter; in the Northern Hemisphere, was full of this kind of fun in my childhood and teenage years.
There was one winter when I was four years old and had started going to the kindergarten. That year, my beloved grandmother picked a red and white woven Indian patterned poncho and a pair of oxblood red pants ( RED for fortune! ) as my New Year’s new ensemble.
That was the very first poncho I’d ever worn!
From the series of the photos I’ve carefully kept until this very day; I can see myself as a little girl wearing that red and white American Indian blanket poncho; my hair was styled with two braids. Hey~ I was the cute Asian American Indian girl! 😉
These photos documented a fun outing I had with my father and my uncle at a local park in Yilan (宜蘭市), Taiwan. In several pictures, I am seen holding an ice cream and pulling a cheeky face to the camera, while licking my ice cream on a chilly winter day.
So, there was no surprise then, when I spotted this red-wine red knitted poncho in Printemps Paris during my 2012 vacation there. It reminded me the other red poncho I once owned.
Calling Sydney home now, Southern Hemisphere’s winter starts from June and ends in August; which means no more Chinese New Year winter fun. This dark, cold and inconvenient season might have long lost the excitement it used to bring me.
As I lovingly framed one of my ‘little Chinese Indian girl’ photos and put it on the top of my bookshelf a few weeks ago. That afternoon, I decided to put on my Parisian poncho to channel my childhood fun and learn to embrace and flirt with winter again…
Photography by: Kent Johnson