Melinda Looi Q&A - Spring/Summer 2014 Collection

Melinda Looi Q&A – Spring/Summer 2014 Collection

MELINDA LOOI’S SPRING/SUMMER 2014 COLLECTION EMBODIES A CERTAIN JOIE DE VIVRE THAT IS BOTH NATURALLY INSPIRED AND CONTEMPORARILY DRIVEN.

Winner of numerous awards – including Malaysia Young Designer Award and World Fashion Week 2014 – it’s no surprise that Looi is carving her mark in the fashion industry.

Spinning raw silk, lace and chiffon with a plethora of pattern and colour, such as peacock blue and jade green, the Malaysian designer has an inimitable talent for building bold theatricality into shapes that are both wearable and diverse. From androgynous, loose fits to sleekly sculptured, cinched-in waist silhouettes, the latest collection offers the undeniable charm of a style chameleon.

Here, Looi talks enthusiastically to TopStylista about her influences, design process and eponymous brand…

Melinda Looi Q&A - Spring/Summer 2014 Collection

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SPRING/SUMMER 2014 COLLECTION IN 3 WORDS?

Bold, luxurious and versatile.

THERE’S A THREAD OF THEATRICALITY RUNNING THROUGH YOUR DESIGNS, WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Nature has always been an important source of inspiration to me. I always try to incorporate natural fibres in my designs like silk and cotton, and also elements like metals and stones. I am also inspired by vintage fashion from the 1930’s and the Victorian era, as well as art in all its forms and manifestations (dance, painting, theatre, sculpture, movies….).

YOUR GARMENTS HAVE EXQUISITE DETAIL, CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS?

It all starts with the conceptualization of the idea and selection of fabrics (the sequence could be either way – sometimes I get inspired by certain prints or textures), then the sketches, followed by the sample making. It is at this time that I make the adjustments to the fit and overall silhouette. When I am satisfied with the structure of the garment, it’s time to add the trims and embellishments. Usually I pre-select them after confirming which materials will be used, but the final look is always accomplished at the end – e.g. the layout of Swarovski crystals, the design of embroidery work (which I sketch by hand, then pass on to the embroiderers to translate on to paper). I prefer garments that are hand-beaded because they last longer, and just look better in my opinion.

Melinda Looi Q&A - Spring/Summer 2014 Collection

DESCRIBE THE MELINDA LOOI AESTHETIC…

Eclectic vintage, theatrical, subtly sexy, feminine.

HOW DOES YOUR DESIGN PROCESS DIFFER FROM ONE OF YOUR LINES TO ANOTHER?

The process doesn’t differ. It all comes from within the heart, and starts with that one idea or story. What changes is the techniques, fabrics, level of detail required to tell the story that I have in mind.

YOUR LATEST COLLECTION EMBODIES A VARIETY OF STYLES AND SHAPES, WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS BEHIND THIS?

I always like to play with styles, shapes, and textures. My garments are like art pieces to me; every piece is unique and tells a story. From a commercial point of view, the variety enables us to appeal to a wider audience, catering to different body types and preferences.

Melinda Looi Q&A - Spring/Summer 2014 Collection

WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO DRESS?

I perceive her to be a modern day warrior. She has a soft, feminine appearance, but is strong in character, and unafraid of challenges or new experiences. She is independent, confident, and knows what they want out of life. I don’t have any one muse in particular. When I design, I think of my clients and the people in my life whom I admire (who bear the characteristics of the Melinda Looi woman). I would love to dress any woman who is strong, independent, and confident

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR 2014? YOU’VE STAMPED YOUR MARK IN MALAYSIA, SHOULD WE EXPECT A MELINDA LOOI TAKEOVER IN LONDON?

I certainly hope so! February will be packed for me as I am travelling through Europe to show my AW2014 collection at trade shows. I might be doing a Couture show in London some time next year too, but that is still to be confirmed.

FINALLY, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU AREN’T BUSY BUILDING YOUR EMPIRE?

I love to travel, visiting new countries, immersing myself in the culture of that place. It helps me get inspired.

I always like to play with styles, shapes, and textures. My garments are like art pieces to me; every piece is unique and tells a story. From a commercial point of view, the variety enables us to appeal to a wider audience, catering to different body types and preferences.

Posted in Interviews.