By Aisha Hassan on 28 January 2024
Step into a world where fashion meets fortune and style intertwines with symbolism. This upcoming Year of the Dragon is the perfect time to infuse prosperity into every accessory, including with powerful and auspicious symbols from Asian culture.
Whether you celebrate Chinese New Year or not, these unique accessories are a great way to weave cultural heritage with fashion during the festive season or all year around. Check out Dia’s top picks below — these pieces not only style statements, but can also be your own talisman of good fortune.
The accessory: There is no better investment piece for the Year of the Dragon 2024 than the Suzy Wong Minaudière by Neil Felipp. Currently still available in Emerald Penn Shell or Black Tab Shell, textured finishes that were meticulously crafted by artisans, this evening clutch strikes a powerful note. The hand-carved dragon is a sight to behold.
The symbolism: In Asian culture, the dragon is revered for its strength, nobility, and auspicious nature, often perceived as a potent embodiment of cosmic energy and spiritual wisdom. In Chinese culture particularly, the dragon holds a revered status as a symbol of good fortune, prosperity, and protection. Its mythical prowess is believed to bring blessings and ward off malevolent forces — an excellent symbol to carry as we enter the New Year.
The accessory: This sculptural minaudière has a gold-plated phoenix resting on a hemispherical structure, and is handcrafted by skilled artisans in Cebu. This evening clutch, which is currently still available in iridescent White Cabebe Shell or opaque Black Tab Shell, is the perfect conversation-starter.
The symbolism: In various Asian mythologies, the phoenix is associated with rebirth and regeneration as it rises from the ashes in a blaze of glory. Across the region, the phoenix stands as an emblem of auspicious beginnings, which is exactly the energy we need for 2024. It is also the perfect accompaniment to the dragon: In Chinese culture, the phoenix and dragon are often seen as complementary symbols representing the concept of yin and yang, embodying the harmonious balance of dualistic forces in the cosmos.
The accessory: In a scene straight out of the waters of Cebu, a pair of colorful koi adorn this hemp fiber pouch. Hand-embroidered using straw and beads, these graceful fish create a showstopping piece that comes with a removable wristlet and zip fastening along the top. It makes for a gorgeous finishing touch to any ensemble.
The symbolism: Originating from ancient Chinese and Japanese legends, the koi is celebrated for its ability to swim against strong currents and even leap waterfalls—a powerful metaphor for overcoming adversity and achieving success. Due to its vibrant colors, elegant movements, and tenacity, the koi has become an auspicious emblem, often associated with positive life changes, wealth, and resilience.
The accessory: This one-of-a-kind bag is crafted out of vintage obi silk fabric, which can take up to four months to weave, and each side of the bag has a different floral motif of “kiku”, or chrysanthemums. It features a top handle and hidden shoulder chain, and was completely handcrafted by the brand founder, Shirley Ong, in Malaysia.
The symbolism: In Asian culture, particularly in China and Japan, chrysanthemums are revered as a symbol of longevity and resilience. The flower holds a special place in cultural practices and is often associated with autumn, a season that signifies harvest and abundance. The chrysanthemum's ability to bloom late in the year, defying the onset of winter, reinforces its symbolism of endurance and enduring beauty.
The accessory: Inspired by peonies and featuring hand-beaded peony motifs, this bag is adorned with different hues of pinks and orange. This accessory is exclusively available on Dia, featuring a sturdy fabric lining and concealable long chain — carry it as a clutch or sling it across your body as a practical shoulder bag.
The symbolism: Often referred to as the "King of Flowers" or the "Mudan" in Chinese, peonies symbolize good fortune, beauty, and enduring love. In Chinese art and literature, peonies are frequently depicted as emblems of success and good luck, making them a popular choice for celebratory occasions such as weddings and festivals.