Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown’s Most Stylish Seniors

Andrea Lo and Valerie Luu. Chronicle, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4521-7580-5
In this charming compilation, photographer Lo teams up with writer Luu to showcase dozens of examples of “Chinatown Pretty,” or what they refer to as “a delightful mix of modern and vintage, high and low, bold patterns and colors, and contemporary streetwear” worn by senior citizens in Chinatowns across North America. Each chapter focuses on a specific Chinatown, introducing a brief history of the neighborhood before presenting the photographs. The portraits capture the pòh pohs’ (grandmas’) and gùng gungs’ (grandpas’) eclectic ensembles, such as San Franciscans Betty Yee donning yellow Crocs and an ocean print dress over a striped shirt and James Yang sporting a monochrome beige outfit topped with a red knit hat. Some divulge how they came across their more unique pieces (“Ms. Dang worked as a seamstress for fifty years. She made her yellow zip-up and red-piped velvet pants with leftover fabric from sewing jobs”), while others share autobiographical tidbits (“I’ve been swimming for thirty years,” says centenarian Show Chun Chang in Manhattan, in her “fun plaid pants with a pop of pink Mary Janes”), and a few dispense sage advice (“You can choose happiness or not,” says Vancouver’s Suzhu Liang, wearing a maroon bowler hat). This is a fun and flashy look at a colorful facet of modern Chinatowns. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/04/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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