Vote for Charmian - MUUSE x VOGUE Young Vision Award
We’re always on the search for new design talent, and apparently, we’re not the only ones.
It's that time of year again... for the celebrated MUUSE x VOGUE Talents - Young Vision Award, our talented friend Gee Mai Charmian Chiu from Hong Kong is one of the nominees and we can’t get enough of her designs! We caught up with the designer to talk all things fashion, her inspiration and living the dream...
Tell us about yourself and the FW14 collection?
My name is Charmian, I was born in Canada and lived in Hong Kong for 14 years, then continued my studies in the UK. I went to London College of Fashion for the foundation course and recently graduated from Brighton University doing Fashion and Business studies. I also had an opportunity to live in Tokyo to learn Japanese and pattern cutting at Bunka College for a year. All the experience mentioned above allows me to produce designs that contain a mixture of different cultures which comes naturally.
In my FW14 collection, I combine elements of the Zoot suit riots from the 1940s mixed together with the traditional tailoring suiting techniques to create my collection Zuit, where garments are oversized, with extended shoulders, elongated jackets and high waisted baggy trousers to exaggerate the muscular riots attitude from the Zoot period. However, structured silhouettes are constructed against soft fabrics like drapery suiting wool and sheer organza, to maintain femininity and the subtlety of a piece of traditional suiting contains.
What's your favourite piece of this collection?
Umm… it's really hard to pick. I really like the suit that is made out of organza, where it allows viewers to see all the details, constructions and hand stitching inside the jacket. Since people always tend to only see the shape of the jacket and ignore the complexity of a suit because it's all hidden behind the lining. It is such a nice thing to be able to show the inside part of a jacket and make it as a detail or feature of my design, to allow it to be appreciated by public.
Apart from the organza suit, I'm also in love with the sleeveless drapery cape jacket, where the front isn't attached to the back, since the front and back are separate pieces, it has different construction that creates two extreme shapes where the front is very structured canvas, and the back is just a single layer therefore it is very draped like a dress. I love the subtlety of the cape jacket.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I got my silhouette shapes from the 1940s Zoot suits, where they wore oversized jackets and super baggy trousers. They are often seen as riots on the street, where they have a very strong attitude and this is how I want my Zuit girls to be. I am also fascinated by a Korean artist called Do Ho Suh, where he makes huge installations of see-through materials, which allows viewers to be able to see the details of the objects. The objects are huge however because of the choice of material used, it contains that softness at the same time which clashes with the huge structured shapes.
What are your plans for the future?
This coming year, I am planning to move from London to Shanghai. I've always been fascinated by traditional tailoring, therefore I want to go to Shanghai and learn from those old masters that construct clothing in a Shanghai way. I have always believed in quality, and I think to be able to create clothing that would last forever, it is essential to have a strong knowledge and skills of how to make clothes. Once I think I am ready, I will start my own label maybe in Shanghai, Hong Kong or London.
The grand prize winner is invited to design a capsule collection under the MUUSE label which is industrialized and sold on muuse.com and at select multi-brand retailers. In addition, the winner will appear in a feature story on vogue.it.
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