The Glass Fashion Show, a 1989-born event organized by Canadian/American Laura “The Diva of Glass Fashion” Donefer, is one example of artists two-handedly grasping the opportunity to create a luster-like spectacle garment made from a material which is not conventionally used on the body. Another fine example here is that of Gianni Versace’s 1991 Warhol dress. Taken into daily life account we find that, much like sucrose substitutes sugar, resin makes for a highly conforming alternative to give those ears of glass a stir of solid street style substance — in that non-angelic Harry swing. Temper presents: Li Sisi and her SUCROSE brand!
Through The Looking Glass
While Donefer’s undertaking may have taken glass to new in-vogue levels, the idea of integrating this material as a fashion statement has been around for centuries and thus a little back to glass-blowing basics is in order.
The history of glass-making can be traced back to 3500 B.C. Asia in Mesopotamia, yet these snazzy kittykats may have in fact been manufacturing second-rate copies of glass objects from Egypt, where this complex craft actually originated. Introduced into society as early as the second millennium B.C., glass beads served a decorative function in everyday life as well as in Egyptian burial ceremonies — this glass-blowing enlightenment comes courtesy of the V&A Museum, mind you.
Ancient Chinese glass, as explained in Archaeologist An Jiayao’s 1991 work “The early glass of China”, then refers to all types of glass fashioned in China prior to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). In Chinese history, An adds, glass played a peripheral role in the arts and crafts, especially when compared to ceramics and metal work. Imported glass objects first reached China during the late Spring and Autumn Period (5th Century B.C.), in the form of polychrome eye beads. These imports after while created the catalyst for the production of indigenous glass beads.
Cecilia Braghin, in her 2002 exposé entitled “Chinese Glass” , strings the beads together as she plays up just how the period between the Warring States Era (475–221 B.C.) and the Han Dynasty (
“Glass is too heavy and fragile, so I had to let go of this idea. I like to combine colors with metallics, so I use a range of bright colors to conceive gradients and combinations of metallics, points, lines and polygons.” Li Sisi, founder of Sucrose
As we tread from catwalk into subway, the inconvenience of glass is transformed into the comfort of resin, without cutting into the finesse of craftsmanship.
Symbolizing wealth, power, or certain stages in the life cycle, glass has seen its fair share of applications across cultures transcending time and space. Reliving its modern heyday equivalent in the 1920s as part of the new and shockingly high-hemlined trend in womenswear, silk flapper dresses were adorned with intricate embroidery, soft braids and glass beading details. Regardless of the purpose behind incorporating glass into the fashion industry, “the thought alone of using what some may consider a rigid, stiff material sets the scene for a very eye-opening feat,” quote Diva Donefer. As we tread from Canadian catwalk into the Chinese subway, the inconvenience of glass (hello there, Cinderella!) is transformed into the comfort of resin, without cutting into the finesse of craftsmanship.
Li Sisi knows a thing or two about breaking through the glass ceiling — #metoo and #timesup hashtags aside — and her jewelry brand SUCROSE hereby rises to the occasion. Resin-style. Having grown up in Dali, located in China’s southern Yunnan Province, the artistic atmosphere of this ancient city ensured that Li from a very young age was actively exposed to a more international influence than some of China’s smaller cities could boast at that time. She dedicated her university days to the attainment of fashion design expertise and upon graduating decided to let her rather idealistic personality shine through in the creation of her very own brand, designing to her own liking. The glass ceiling had been smashed.
“The Sucrose staple is made to be bigger and bolder than regular jewelry and leans towards an overall architecture combining color and geometry.” Li
Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch
The SUCROSE label was founded in 2016 as a independent (graduate designer) clothing brand integrating classic aesthetic with a modern spirit, culminating in dandy products which can only be described as “sweet with an edge”. Blending in with the concept of “Never Trust An Angel”, the designs offer all those “what you see, is not what you get” kinda gals the possibility to visually distinguish, and even vindicate, themselves on an “I Am actually Not Me” kinda level. There’s definitely more to the SUCROSE adornment than meets the eye.
The main feature that distinguishes SUCROSE from other jewelry brands lies in its staple architecture: Bigger and more showy than your regular earrings (among other items), with an rapacious penchant for a construction that combines color and geometry. The source of this brand philosophy can be found in Li’s desire to do accessories with an underlying notion of mapping out real “devices” and wearing these on/in the ear. Needless to say, these “devices” usually sport a quirky, big look and in that feat alone set themselves apart from other, more “common”, earrings. SUCROSE shows off a strong sense of shape that breaks the (literal) mold.
The SUCROSE collections also star materials with transparent effects to literally show off a sequence in color fading and figuratively create a sense of suspension.
The Material Girl
Completing the circle of glass, we shall, as Li’s use of material and technique at-large is stand-out.
Those highly conspicuous earrings that instantly make you beam out from the crowd are easier drawn than done. In order to realize her lust for luster, Li’s choice of materials ultimate resulted in the use of resin. Having considered going all glass, she decided after much deliberation that this option would simply prove too heavy and too fragile, hence she abandoned the idea. Mixing colors with metallics, Li applies a scope of bright colors to conceive gradient-like slopes within the accessories, finishing off the finesse with combinations of metallics, points, lines and polygons.
The SUCROSE collections also star materials with transparent effects to literally show the sequence in color fading and figuratively create a sense of suspense. One example is that of the earrings connected to both ears, leaving a small vertical pearl arrangement floating in the auricle; both this type of engineering and sensational induction too create different points, lines and surfaces. To attain and maintain the Li standards, all SUCROSE earrings are handmade, never factory-produced, given that only these artisanally created works will exude that particular sense of unfathomable charm and will surprise people time and time again — no limitations or ceilings in sight.
In Li’s most recent attempts to style and wear her accessories in different ways — be it on the arm, chest, shoulder or whatever blows your glass — she has put the relationship between jewelry and the human body above the exploits of improvement and innovation. When one dabbles in the meshing of novel, fun ideas with previously employed textures and materials, new trials and expansion are not too far behind. The SUCROSE future should be based on both the perfected craft that laid the original foundations for the label and the addition of some brand-new sizeable pieces of work such as home interior products or art-full devices. The sky is the limit.
In the words of Aretha “Diva of Divas” Franklin:
“We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right.”
As is your right, whoever you are and wherever you may be and whatever you may do, to not just break those glass ceilings… Go Versace and shatter them.
All images come courtesy of Li Sisi for SUCROSE
Copyright@Temper Magazine, 2018. All rights reserved
After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.
Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.
Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.
Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.
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