No stranger to the fashion design spotlight, China-born, British citizen Lulu Liu showcased her ninth consecutive runway collection during London Fashion Week on September 19. Since her departure from China to enroll at the prestigious London College of Fashion in 2008 and subsequent internships with Alexander McQueen and Giles Deacon, her work has always embodied a complex, intelligent fusion of well-mannered restraint and raw sensuality. This season, Liu drew upon influences of flamenco dance to enrich her Spring/Summer 2016 collection.
In a backstage interview after the show at Freemason’s Hall, Liu told Jing Daily,“The Spring/Summer 16 collection essentially focuses on the feminine silhouette, mirroring the inherent contrasts of a woman’s personality of both the Eastern and Western culture. The vibrant heritage of flamenco introduced a collection revolving around contrasts.”
The collection was her most extravagant to date, with each piece carefully handcrafted, taking over 52 hours to complete. The color palette flirted between bold powerful reds, magenta, and sober neutrals. Read our full interview with her below to find out more about where this cultural melting pot of influences comes from.
Where did this flamenco inspiration come from?
I’m having a healthy lifestyle at the moment; I’m going to the gym and enjoying dance lessons. Flamenco for me is an open dance with an explosion of passion and it’s powerful but you need a lot of control; you can’t go over the line even though there is a lot of movement. This inspired my collection; it mirrors the European empowered nature against the classical Asian attitude of self-control in love and emotion.
As an experienced designer, how has this collection evolved from your previous work?
It is new territory for me. This collection has intricate weaving, flaring, fringing, and draping. A mixture of different touches to create the unique balance. In flamenco, each dancer wears a different garment depending on the body movement needed for the performance, creating a different silhouette with each movement.
How does your Chinese heritage balance your work?
It will always influence me as it’s who I am so will always play a role. I learned traditional Chinese weaving techniques as a starting point and then adapted this for my collection. Usually, weaving in Europe is for knitting, so by challenging this and going back to Chinese principals, it allows me to enter into a playful era.
How would you define luxury in your signature style?
I design wear for a luxurious woman in mind. For me, luxury is not obvious or loud; it’s in the design. It’s not about just cutting and sewing; it’s more than that. My collection is all handcrafted, using hand weaving techniques, carefully selecting colors; it takes a long time with many hours on each piece. The entire process is luxury and hopefully the customer can appreciate it’s not loud or obvious, but it’s undeniably there in every thread.