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Priscilla Ong Shunmugam: Buro 24/7 Singapore Playlist #121

A groovy kind of love

Priscilla Ong Shunmugam: Buro 24/7 Singapore Playlist #121
Fashion designer Priscilla Ong Shunmugam shares the playlist that inspired Love Letters, her latest cruise collection

I typically listen to a fixed set of songs on repeat throughout the process of bringing a collection to life. The keyword here is "repeat' — I'm notorious for listening to the same songs for months. I always keep this playlist private but this time round, I tried to be a bit open, sharing with it my team a few months back. I just wanted to get them into the headspace I was at and travel with me on this journey which I tend to take alone.

Love Letters is a collection with such a personal narrative that's also poised with open arms. Take it and do whatever you want with it. Love is one of those things that you can never truly be able to define or explain. At least, that's what I've come to realise in the two years that brought Love Letters from ideation to runway. 

I first heard Joni Mitchell's 'A Case Of You' when I was 15, way before I understood her significance. I remember not understanding what a "case" here referred to. I always wondered who I would sing this song to — some things are really worth waiting for and this song captures this reminder for me so well. 'Pendulum' by Pure Bathing Culture is just a track that comes with fixed personal memories for me. I've listened to it endlessly on flights, while sketching, sourcing, hiking, writing and thinking. It tends to float with me from playlist to playlist. 

Sbtrkt's 'Gon Stay' was the opening track for the show. I've always wanted to use something by Sampha for our shows and for years I thought it would be 'Without', but I guess I got distracted. It also brings just the right amount of South London to the game. 'Wonderful' by Lianne La Havas was the third track in our show. It swooped in as a last minute replacement with just a week to showday, but when I stumbled upon it there was no turning back. The girls in the studio would sing along as we worked late into the nights. They would harmonise too!

The first time I heard 'Hello Stranger' by Julia Holter, I was driving and it made me pull up and just stop to give it my full attention. It's one of the most beautiful covers I've heard and it captures one of the most beautiful love stories I've come to know. We lined this up as the finale track for the show. 

Ong Shunmugam has just launched Love Letters, a contemporary Asian womenswear collection dedicated to the expression of love through the written word. Exclusively available at Atelier Ong Shunmugam

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