Thursday March 7, 2013
The greenhouse effect
By SANDRA LOW
A young couturier infuses a stunning floral print, sheer fabrics and fresh lime tones in his latest range.
IDEAS and inspiration for a new clothing collection can spring from anywhere.
For Malaysian designer Jonathan Liang’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection, it came from a series of images by one of his favourite photographers.
During his art school days, Liang came across American photographer Anthony Goicolea’s work in a Japanese photography book.
He found a series of pictures by Goicolea called The Detention Series filled with dark humour and sadism, and at the same time with hints of joy and oddities, which completely intrigued him.
Since then, Liang – whose 25th birthday is today, incidentally – has been a fan of Goicolea’s work.
Liang, who was born in Penang but grew up in Kuala Lumpur, graduated in Fine Arts from The One Academy and Fashion from The Raffles Institute of Fashion in KL.
He went on to win the iStyle (KLIA) competition, Raffles Graduation Best Collection 2010 and the prestigious “Most Promising Designer of 2009” at MIFW’09 (Malaysia International Fashion Week).
In 2010, he took on the role of principal designer of Ultra – a sustainable fashion brand he co-created with several friends.
Then in 2011, Liang officially started his womenswear label, Nue, targeting the European and American market, hence his decision to be based in Paris.
Anthony Goicolea’s series of photos called Septemberists became the motivation behind Liang’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection.
“Septemberists is one of my favourite. It contains pictures of boys in a greenhouse, tending to cotton plants. I was inspired by greenhouses that look abandoned, how the structures come across and how light falls through the glass windows to provide the optimal environment for plants,” says Liang in an e-mail interview from Paris.
“This can be seen in most of my sheer outfits this season, which outlines the lines and shapes of bibs and shirts layered under the sheer sweaters and pulls,” he adds.
All his sheer tops are made of silk chiffon and silk satin, outlined with bias tapes as frames, while rose gold zippers adorn the sides of the sweater as a functional zip and detail.
The choice of using a stunning floral print design with 3D pansies and a burst of lime colour in his Spring/Summer 2013 collection is an intuitive one as it clearly gestures the start of a season that is bright and full of cheer.
The gorgeous pansies are embroidered in different lurex thread and weaves, and are attached with iridescent Swarovskis onto the prints.
French artist Anne Suze or Nouchka, who is a good friend of Liang’s, was specially commissioned to come up with this jaw-dropping floral print.
“When you look closely, you can actually see thousands of tiny strokes on the flowers in different colours!” he points out.
Liang stuck to comfortable and wearable fabrics like satin, crepe and knits, but also introduced crinkle-treated organzas and duchess satin.
His nude jackets are engineered with a wing back detail and leather straps at the collar so that when it’s closed, it provides a different shape for the wearer.
The skirts come in three different fabrics from tweed, chiffon to satin.
Liang’s label which is made in very limited pieces for exclusivity, are all produced in Italy.
What would you like women to feel when they wear this collection? “I always want women to have a more heightened sense of everything from confidence, style to humour, and of course, to have fun,” Liang says.
“Also, like how greenhouses provide a good environment for its inhabitants despite being bare, I believe the same for my clothes. In a way, to give women a sense of protection and the confidence to grow,” he lyrically describes.
Liang also collaborated with Malaysian artist Seamus Lim who produced a five-piece artwork inspired by Liang’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection and Florence Nightingale.
“Pre-orders made for my new collection allows the buyers to obtain Seamus’ artworks in high quality print as well,” he explains.
Liang made his debut showing in KL with this collection late last year. It was shown to a packed house where guests were treated to a collection that was refreshingly captivating.
This is only his third season but he is certainly a designer worth keeping an eye on.
For information on availability of the Jonathan Liang Spring/Summer 2013 collection, contact email@example.com.