Congratulations on surviving the first month of 2021. It's February and we're right on the heels of the first holiday of the year. Chinese New Year 2021 falls on 12 February, and seeing how it's the Year of the Ox—based on the Chinese calendar—fashion brands are already emblazoning capsule collections with as many oxen-themed everything as they could possibly muster up.
But let's be honest, the ox isn't the most style-friendly animal of the Chinese zodiac. And if you're planning on treating yourself to something auspicious and Chinese New Year-appropriate for the festivities, the best (and smartest) thing to do is to get something that will get more wear beyond the Year of the Ox.
There are plenty of specially designed capsule collections out there by fashion houses both big and small. We've curated a selection of pieces from some of the best that'll get you more bang for your buck.
B27 low-top sneakers, by Dior Men
The phenomenal success of Dior Men's collaboration with streetwear legend Shawn Stussy for fall 2020, makes a return specially for Chinese New Year. The capsule collection includes the use of a ox-shaped cutout of the Dior Oblique motif on a series of ready-to-wear and accessories, but we recommend aiming for the collection's B27 sneakers instead. Marked by a 'Dior' done in red and in Stussy's signature font at the heel, this is one pair to cop, especially if you missed out on the debut collaboration.
dunhill's Chinese New Year capsule collection draws inspiration from an archive print found on a lighter. And while it has nothing to do with the Year of the Ox, it's an oriental design that symbolises good fortune, wealth, and love—all the positive things anyone would want to start a new year with.
At Alexander McQueen, the season's capsule collection is a twofer; it's also designed for Valentine's Day. A piece from that collection that one would definitely get a lot of use of (but still has that hint of huat-ness) is the iPhone pouch that comes with a detachable strap. It's also designed with a few card slots at the back, with enough interior space for a phone or some red packets.
Cotton long-sleeved T-shirt, by Moncler
If you’re looking for a more literal interpretation of the Chinese zodiac, Moncler offers up quite a brilliant statement print. Set against a constellation-filled Moncler logo are two oxen embroidered in red, but done in such a way that they’re quite realistically part of the night sky.
One can hardly go wrong with a Fendi monogram bucket hat. It's super practical for our side of the equator (rain or shine) and is the sort of lightweight accessory one can quickly whip out when needed. It helps too that it's been done in a shade of red that's not unnecessarily garish.
Leather Vida Viva sneakers, by Christian Louboutin
If those iconic red soles are not already symbols of luxury and well, auspiciousness, Christian Louboutin amps it up for Chinese New Year with an orange iteration of its Vida Viva sneakers. There's also the fact that these sneakers glow in the dark, so once the clubs are open again, you'd have your dancing shoes sorted.
Staying home for this year's festivities because of the imposed eight-person limit per household? This Dolce&Gabbana hoodie ensures that you do so in comfort and style, especially if visiting looks to be in the form of a FaceTime call this year. This is one red outfit that grandma will most definitely approve.
Kenzo's interpretation of the Year of the Ox is so stylised and rather subtle that we don't really mind the graphics covering almost the entirety of this mini belt bag. It also helps that the graphics blend in seamlessly with Kenzo's own branding. Brilliant.
Canvas and leather Stellar sneakers, by Berluti
Berluti's Stellar sneakers were most recently reworked in the house's signature canvas—a new motif that was launched in autumn/winter 2020. But if that iteration was a bit too decorated for your liking, the Chinese New Year capsule collection version is topped off with red leather inserts (bound to produce that signature Berluti patina) for a touch of elegance and textural contrast.
What's more auspicious than the colour red? Gold. And there's little else that could be more wealth-welcoming than an outfit completely decorated with gold coins, courtesy of Versace. It's quite Crazy Rich Asians but also the kind of energy you'd want to exude for a prosperous 2021.
Count on Saint Laurent to make something that resembles an ox (technically a buffalo in this case, but, you know, same family) look chic and sophisticated. Thankfully, it's not made of an actual buffalo's horn, and is an accessory that quite abstract enough to be worn whenever.
Edison Chen's streetwear brand added some Chinese stylings to some of Polo Ralph Lauren's signature pieces for a collaboration that's unlike any other. Mandarin frog buttons are key design details in most of the pieces, and in this denim jacket, they add just enough visual interest without going too overboard.
AirPods Pro case, by Burberry
It may be something small, but it's also one accessory that you're probably use so often. Encase your AirPods Pro in this Burberry case for extra protection and attach it to your everyday bag so that it's always there when you need to plug in and escape the world for a bit.
This is arguably the cutest interpretation of the Year of the Ox. And coming from Balenciaga, it does make sense—it reminds us of those souvenir keyrings of animated characters one could get from theme parks.
For something a bit more abstract and done in quite a streetwear-friendly graphic, Givenchy's version of the ox is a rather menacing (read: too cool) take. The T-shirt is cut oversized too so all those Chinese New Year goodies you'll be inhaling won't have any visible impact.
Metal hexagonal sunglasses, by Ray-Ban
A pair of hexagonal sunglasses done in a gold base and tipped in just the right amounts of red, make for the perfect accessory to accent any look. Unfortunately, this won't shield anyone from those dreaded questions on relationships and career from relatives one meets only once a year.
Cotton jumper, by Gucci
Forget about trying to figure out the connection between Doraemon and Chinese New Year (there isn't, really). But one can't deny that the collaboration between Doraemon and Gucci evokes some feelings of nostalgia. The print of Doraemon donning an ox costume is the closest connection to the Year of the Ox you're going to get with this, and definitely a collector's piece for any Doraemon fan.