Lucien Wang: Stitching Together Parisian Dreams And Beijing Tszuj. 品牌故事: 一种特殊的面对面交流.

Rise and shine, the Year of the Rooster is here! One cannot sneak a sunrise or fine piece of cloth past the vainest of them all and with a mighty alluring crow, my fellow 1981 Chinese animal Chiara Sassu explores the prestigious potential of designer Lucien Wang. Cockadoodledo! 

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Ernest Hemingway in “A Moveable Feast”

Un grand merci et big bisous à self-proclaimed Cubano Sato Hemingway for burning the midnight oil in Paris and turning us all on to the “mojito in La Bodeguita; daiquiri in El Floridita”. The  legend allegedly was not too taken with the Middle Kingdom, one notorious meeting with then First Lady Song Meiling (宋美龄, that’s Mrs. Chiang Kai-shek to you) unfolding in less than sartorially polished manner. “He wasn’t impressed by the culture before he left the United States by ship in February 1941, he arrived determined not to be impressed and he left duly unimpressed,” then Mrs. Hemingway — aka War Correspondent Martha Gellhorn — wrote in her 2001 autobiography “Travels With Myself and Another”. Back to 2017 Paris, then.

That well-established Parisian combination of fashionable lucidity and brainpower-devouring passion can lead to those luminous ideas evoking the lustiest and robustiest of nuances in any designer’s collection. Pattern-perfectionist Lucien Wang’s is no exception to the rule. To this day, the designer scores his fabric from the best French and European suppliers who in their portfolios can boast clients such as Vuitton, Chanel and Dior. Shining like the surfaces of the textiles he employs, the most important aspects for the development of the “Lucien Wang” name and brand are the quality of the product as well as its placement within the market — i.e. which channels will ensure a growth in clientele and let the mode paramours out there know about his brand. Without diluting its essence.

直到今天,他的布料仍然来自于最好的法国和欧洲的供应商,他们的客户包括Louis Vuitton, Chanel和 Dior. 目前对于他的品牌发展最重要的方面,一是产品的质量 — 这必须是一流的;二是在市场的定位,这能保证通过哪些渠道可以让更多的人知道这个品牌,而又不会因此使品牌落入俗套。

 

 

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“I saw a couple of pieces from Lucien Wang at S.T.A.R.S. and was impressed by his choice of fabrics: High-quality textiles with a clear French allure.” Chiara Sassu

Sharing her urbanite passions and fashions through the lifestyle blog that is Chiara’s Coffeetable,  Italian-born and Beijing-based H&M Store Developer Chiara Maria Sassu takes to the streets of China’s capital to capture and question in true fashion-courtisane form the A to Z among the city’s latest talented designer tszuj. This time around, she spotted with her Nikon flashing eye  Berçot-graduate Lucien Wang. From the very earliest of earliests to those lucid dreams for the distant future, Sassu  reigned in the man by his suspenders and he gave her the puff-sleeved shirt off his back. So to speak. Bring it on home, signora!

当然,我们还聊了他创业的初始及他关于未来的梦想。请看下文。

 

 

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“Along the banks of the Seine, his ideas flourished, his vision took shape. One serendipitous meeting with Studio Berçot’s Marie Rucki was the turning point in the pursuit of a dream he previously hadn’t dare verbalize.” Lucien Wang, His Story.

Sassu: How did your career in fashion take off?

Wang: “I’ve always had a great passion for fashion, but way back in 2004, I didn’t have a clue as to how I would actually make it happen. I was in Paris studying French and trying very hard to keep up with my computer science university program… Alas, the result wasn’t good; I simply had no interest in pursuing that type of career. At that point, I had the opportunity to interview with Marie Rucki, president of Studio Berçot, one of France’s most prestigious fashion schools. She could spot my potential even though I had no specific skills at all… ‘The important thing is that which you carry inside your heart,’ she would tell me. She accepted my application and in 2005 I enrolled in a fashion program that taught me the basics. And changed my life.”

你在时尚界的职业生涯是如何开始的?

我一直非常热爱时尚,但在2004年时,如何让这份热爱变成现实,我对此一无所知。我那时在巴黎,刻苦地学习法语,好让自己赶上大学的计算机科学课程。但一无所获—因为我对此不感兴趣。然后我有一个机会去采访Marie Rucki,她是Studio Bercot的校长,这是法国最负盛名的时装学校之一。即使那时我什么专业技能都没有,她还是看到了我的潜力—“最重要的是你内心”,她告诉我。她接受了我的申请,于是在2005年,我开始专业学习时尚课程,这教会了我最基础的知识,并改变了我的生活。

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Sassu: As an insider, was fashion what you expected it to be?

Wang: “Yes, I loved everything about it — and I still do. After graduating, I felt the need to start working straightaway: I wanted to have a more hands-on approach and learn more about fabrics in general as well as get better acquainted with different embroidery techniques. I managed to do so simply by being inside Veronique Leroy‘s atelier. During those years [2007 to 2011], I worked as a designer, but at the same time as a buyer and stylist because I realised that the fashion world is multifaceted. I wanted to know it inside and out, from all different angles.”

作为圈中人,时尚跟你之前预想的一样吗?

是的,我热爱时尚的一切,现在我仍然是。但是毕业后,我觉得有必要立刻开始工作:我需要一个更实用的途径,通过在Veronique Leroy工作室的工作,我学到了更多的布料知识和刺绣工艺。从2007年到2011年,这些年中我的工作既是一名设计师,也是买手和造型师,因为我意识到,时尚界是多方面的,我想从里到外,从不同的角度了解它。

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Sassu: If you liked what you were doing in Paris, why did you decide to come back to China in 2011?

Wang: “Actually, during my years in Paris I realized I was really touched by the ‘fashion magic’ — once I couldn’t stop crying after a fashion show: Hours and hours of work had gone by within the timespan of a mere 10 minutes. Lights off! I clearly remember thinking to myself: ‘Stop crying and go found your own fashion label!’. This personal brand in 2008 came into being, but I soon realised that it would be absolutely impossible for a young brand to survive in France — everything is just too expensive. This is the reason I decided to move back to China, opting for Beijing because of its culture and historical allure. Even from here, I keep working with French and Italian fabric suppliers. I do miss Paris, very much so… Its environment and fashion awareness are unparalleled.”

如果你喜欢你在巴黎所做的工作,那你为什么决定在2011年回到中国?

事实上,在巴黎的那些年,我意识到我真的被“时尚的魔力”所感动—曾经在一场时装秀结束后我无法停止哭泣:无数个小时的工作浓缩在关灯后十分钟的走秀里。我现在还清楚得记得我那时的想法:“不如现在停止哭泣,创建我自己的时尚标签吧”。于是在2008年,我开始创建这个品牌。但是我很快意识到,一个如此年轻的品牌是无法在法国找到立足之地的—这里的一切都太贵了。这就是我决定回到中国的原因。我选择北京是因为它自身的文化和历史魅力。即使在这里,我仍然保持和法国及意大利布料供应商的合作关系,我非常想念巴黎,想念它的氛围和时尚意识。

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Sassu: Out of curiosity… What story actually lies beneath your 2014 S/S White Collection?

Wang: “This collection actually told my own story: A collection made up of basic pieces  that have been realized with the best of techniques. It took me quite some time to select the exact white nuances I wanted to use and to de-construct and re-construct those basic garments — using my own style and technique. Moreover, white is the most difficult color to work with! You have to be very careful when handling white fabric: It’s tricky to wear and thus even harder to sell. And the latter is precisely why this collection tells the story of my life: It’s a challenge. And a continuous improvement in motion.”

你的2014春夏白色系列背后有什么故事吗?

这个系列讲述了我的故事:最好的工艺完成最简洁的设计。我花了时间来选择我想使用的不同白色之间的细微差别,我也想用我自己的风格和技巧来分拆和重新构建最简洁的服装。此外,白色是最难使用的颜色—当你处理白色布料时你需要非常小心。它需要花费心思来搭配,所以销售的速度也比较慢。这就是为什么我说这个系列讲述的是我的生活:它充满挑战,但又是一个持续进步的过程。

Sassu: What is the main challenge you and your team are facing right now?

Wang: “Finding out the right sales channels is crucial for the development of my brand. I have been contacted by quite a few shop owners across Beijing [and China-at-large], but it’s very hard for me to trust them. That is to say… There aren’t that many professional buyers around here and sales people are very often not suited to sell the Lucien Wang lifestyle. This is a problem for me and the reason I have thus far been very picky about my selling points. Michel Alarcon from S.T.A.R.S. is actually one of the few I completely trust!”

你和你的团队现在面临的主要挑战是什么?

目前,我们需要找到合适的销售渠道—这对我的品牌发展非常重要。北京的很多店主,也有来自中国其它的城市,已经跟我联系过。但是对我来讲,相信他们并不容易:这里没有太多专业的买手,而且店里的销售人员不能够很正确地诠释Lucien Wang的生活理念。这对我来说是个问题。这也是我对销售地点的选择非常挑剔的原因。S.T.A.R.S.的Michel Alarcon是为数不多的我完全信任的人之一。

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Whether it’s by means of sowing, pleating, baking or weaving, one’s outfit contains the chemistry between fabric, body and creative vision; and in order to inflame the outlandish couture-cred, one must try new things. Every cut and fold embodies Wang’s demand for everlasting elegance and every creation in itself is a chemical feat — albeit in a figure of speech. 

Hemingway once wrote,“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” Ergo… There is such a thing as perfection; it just requires the suitably stitching together of dreams and technique. Et un peu de tszuj.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional editing by Elsbeth van Paridon

Chinese translation by Vivian Zhou. (中文翻译由Vivian Zhou 完成)

Images: Chiara Sassu.

Portfolio S/S14:  Lucien Wang