Unable to travel for three years due to pandemic-related restrictions, Caroline Hu returned to Paris in October. But while the City of Lights is a sight to behold in the fall, its falling leaves and petals that left her deeply moved.

That poetic scene gave her “a sense of release and freedom down to [her] soul,” she said, recalling how she started sketching the minute she got on her flight back to Shanghai. “So this is all about flowers.”

The first flowers she produced were actually made out of zip ties. Piled onto each other, they made for rigid cocoons around the models.

A dress shaped like a thicket dotted with tiny blue buds was made of fishing wire with minute strips of silk attached. It had taken a month and a half to make, as a fist-sized flurry required an hour of handwork, Hu said.

Though dreamy, her collection also included more commercially relatable versions. Another part of the process she enjoys is finding different ways to translate her original vision into easy-to-wear options, like say, replicating fabric flowers sandwiches between layers of tulle with a less complicated but just as striking ribbon embroidery, or using cotton to give evening gowns a casual elan.

She even added all-black options, this time working contrasting fabrics into wide ruffled strips to nod to the impressionist smocked dresses she built her brand on.

With her intention of showing in Paris regularly, that canny balance between realism and creative reverie will certainly help her flourish.

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