Published On: Tue, Feb 13th, 2018

Ring in Lunar New Year with goods from these four NYC designers

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When it comes to Lunar New Year, traditions are important, but a group of local designers are using their crafts to celebrate in their own unique ways. From pun-filled greeting cards to a festive new outfit, shop these pieces and up your New Year’s luck.


Spread the Luck


Since launching in 2015, Wonton in a Million has captured the attention of Etsy shoppers with cards featuring punny phrases like “You’re the Only Bun for Me” and “Souper Together.” The popular stationery line is the brainchild of Chinatown native Cynthia Koo, who came up with the idea while waiting for takeout at her dad’s restaurant.


Her dimsum-inspired stationery has expanded to include phone cases, gift wrap, stamp sets and special holiday collections. Koo’s current Lunar New Year line pays homage to the Year of the Dog — there’s a cute pup pin, keychain and washi tape, along with gold-embossed red envelopes and greeting cards.

Set of 10 red envelopes from Wonton in a Million.

(Wonton in a Million)


The pun-filled designs are Koo’s way of showcasing her culture in a fun, approachable manner and it seems to be working — Wonton in a Million was recently picked up by the famed Pearl River Mart.

Where to celebrate Lunar New Year in New York City


Set of 10 Red Envelopes, $8; Chinese New Year Card, $4 at wontoninamillion.com


Blooming Beauties


Symbolizing rebirth and fortune, fresh flowers are a must for celebrating Lunar New Year. In Asia, flower markets sprout up in the days prior to the holiday, giving revelers a chance to pick up beautiful new blooms.


With Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year falling in the same week, red is an especially popular color this year. When it comes to turning those stems into a showstopping holiday arrangement, Chelsea-based floral designer Rachel Cho — whose work has lined wedding aisles and fashion catwalks — suggests highlighting different textures.

All Red bouquet from Chelsea-based floral designer Rachel Cho.

All Red bouquet from Chelsea-based floral designer Rachel Cho.

(Rachel Cho)


“Red comes in all shades, from cherry red to deep crimson,” she explains. “When you’re looking for textural varieties in flowers, having a spectrum and shade of red gives floral arrangements that extra depth and vibrance you might be looking for.”

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Aside from roses, Cho also uses tulips, anemones, ranunculus, ginger and gloriosa, which has “a hint of gold on the petal’s edge that makes a perfectly on-point statement for the holiday.”


All Red bouquet, $100 for a small at rachelchoflowers.com


To the Moon


Trisha Okubo’s eye for detail applies to both jewelry and dumplings. For her annual Lunar New Year dinner, the designer tested dozens of recipes before settling on a filling. “I make an edamame dumpling that manages to be hearty and savory,” she says. “If I’m really brave, I’ll attempt to make xiao long bao (soup dumplings). I went to Hong Kong to learn how to make soup dumplings a couple of years ago and I need the practice to get all 18 pleats right.”

Pave Moon Studs from Maison Miru.

Pave Moon Studs from Maison Miru.

(Maison Miru)


Crescent-shaped dumplings coincidentally resemble one unique piece from Okubo’s jewelry collection, Maison Miru: a delicate, gold-plated necklace with a miniature moon.


“Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays. To me, it’s really a time to spend with the people you love,” says Okubo, who applies that philosophy to her work — each piece is crafted by hand and sent out from her West Village studio. “My line is all about timeless jewelry that keeps people and experiences you love close to your heart.”


Moon Necklace, $59, and Pave Moon Studs, $39, at maisonmiru.com


New Year, New Clothes


Growing up with a Chinese mom, fashion designer Emily Brady Koplar’s childhood was filled with Lunar New Year traditions. “We would thoroughly clean the house leading up to the holiday and my mother insisted that we sleep with a mandarin orange or tangerine under our pillow,” Koplar says. “Everything you do on the first day sets the tone for the coming year, so a clean house, full belly and fresh, new clothes are a great way to start it off.”


Koplar still keeps up many of the same customs, including the new clothes. And it’s pretty easy now for her to find a lucky outfit — the Parsons School of Design grad owns a fashion line called Wai Ming, or “gift of light.”


“It was my given middle name and I like to carry the thought of light and fresh through to my designs,” says Koplar, whose structured, feminine pieces have been worn by celebs like Emily Blunt and Kerry Washington.

Designer Emily Brady Koplar.

Designer Emily Brady Koplar.

(Wai Ming)

Helene Dress from fashion line Wai Ming.

Helene Dress from fashion line Wai Ming.

(Ned and Aya Rosen/Wai Ming)


Designer Emily Brady Koplar (left) created this Helene Dress (right) for her fashion line, Wai Ming.


True to her name, Koplar opts for a piece with subtle shine on Lunar New Year, instead of the vibrant red that’s typically associated with the holiday.


“I always wear new clothes to ensure that I have an abundant and fruitful new year,” she says. “You might as well start it off in silver and gold metallics, which represent wealth and completeness.”


Helene Dress, $205 at waimingstudio.com

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lunar new year
featured lifestyle
holidays

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