It’s been about five years since yours truly reported on Luly Yang and the imaginative window displays at her Studio Boutique on the corner of Fourth and University. Recent passers-by may also have to take a second look at the “mannequins” dressed in Luly Yang creations for Teatro Zinzanni. Imagine seeing the contortionist Vita Radionova, and acrobat Domitil Aillot, change their pose!
Just that one afternoon the class-act performers created a live billboard for Zinzanni’s new show, “All Dressed up and Somewhere to Go.” The story —written with legendary ballet, film and theater star Liliane Montevecchi in mind— is about couturiere Dina Monte, who’s invited by Caesar, her former partner (comedian Frank “don’t miss a beat” Ferrente) to create a Runway show on his turf. Dame Liliane, in real life a true “fashionista” who looks like a million dollars whether she dresses in Salvation Army finds or in designer labels, sparkles in sequined Luly Yang Couture gowns. Yet she is at her most intriguing performing “Just a Gigolo” in a trench coat with hat.
The title of the show could apply to Luly Yang herself. In 2006 she expanded her LYC boutique on the corner of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.
“The size of that place! It’s a hangar,” exclaimed Dame Liliane in her typical French accent, about visiting the boutique for a fitting or two.
In 2007, Yang received the Nellie Cashman “Woman Business Owner of the Year” award. The following year, Broadway star Dee Hoty wore a LYC $30,000 Runway “Finale” gown in the 5th Avenue Theatre production of “Mame.” The LYC Runway shows, which have benefited Children’s Hospital and continue to benefit Camp Korey, draw a fashion-hungry crowd.
Well-dressed and heeled, Luly Yang is a walking advertisement for her own brand. Clearly she has been going somewhere from the onset. A frequent destination of late is Beijing. November of last year, the go-getter opened a sister-store in the Beijing Fairmont Hotel, and quality control demands frequent visits.
My suggestion that venturing out to China during an economic crisis in America may have seemed like “leaving the sinking ship,” is met with denial by the designer.
“I didn’t think this was a sinking ship. But it may not have been the best time to start a new business elsewhere. You need to pay attention to the home-front when things are difficult,” she said.
Asked whether she experienced a sense of going back to the land of her ancestors, Yang admitted she didn’t know much about them, but that she felt [literally] closer to her parents, who relocated from the Seattle area to China twelve years ago.
“It’s only a four hour flight from Beijing to where they live, so I see them much more now.”
Thanks to her dedicated creative design team, the business in Seattle goes on uninterrupted even during Yang’s absence. The talented young designer Giuseppe Grazioli and seamstress Michele Lateste for instance, jumped at the opportunity to work on a theater-show, pleasing both their employer and world-renowned stars such as Dame Liliane and colleagues.
Ming & Rui, the awe-inspiring aerialists, look dandy in LYC suits, their assistant (Ming’s wife), Alexa Hukari dazzles in an Op-Art number. Opera singer Rachel DeShon IS an LYC Runway bride, and an airy voile and sequins invention ups Vita Radionova’s already radiant beauty. But in my book, the creation presented by “Vertical Tango” star Sandra Feusi wins hands down the Fantasy Tailor’s Trade Award.
Collaboration between Teatro Zinzanni and the Luly Yang Couture design team has been mutually beneficial, each partner introducing their own circle to the other’s art. The result is a lovely marriage between fashion, chaos and dinner you ought to experience yourself.
“All Dressed Up With Someplace To Go” runs through October 11 at Teatro Zinzanni’s Spiegeltent, 3rd Avenue-North & Mercer Street. See www.zinzanni.org.