Fashion pioneer Lucia Liu is the next creative to be highlighted as part of the Jing Daily community of individuals who have helped build China’s booming fashion industry. This section profiles industry leaders who contribute to the national and global fashion communities, from creatives and influencers to business executives and entrepreneurs.
Lucia Liu, the Chinese fashion industry’s “touch a stone and turn it into gold” stylist, is currently one of its most in-demand figures. Based between London and Beijing, her style is a blend of Chinese and Western aesthetics. Her unique fashion taste and intuition have garnered her 954,000 followers on Weibo, where she shares her picks for the most exciting emerging designers and artists.
Liu moved to London at 19 to follow her future in fashion. After school, her talent for styling was recognized by major fashion magazines like i-D, Glass, and Dazed & Confused. By 2012, she was working as Harper’s Bazaar China’s Style Director.
At the same time, she founded her creative platform, theBallroom, which allowed her to style China’s top-tier celebrities (Zhou Dongyu, Zhao Wei, Yao Chen) and magazine editorials while consulting luxury brands.
After a decade of developing her profile as an influential stylist and creative director, Huasheng Media recently announced Liu’s return to the company as group fashion editor in chief. Along with the group’s founder, Feng, she will work on a new China-focused fashion magazine that scouts and incubates young local talents.
Jing Daily spoke to Liu about her illustrious fashion career and her new role in creating a dynamic new Chinese magazine for an international audience.
You were born in Sichuan. Do you still feel connected to the city?
It’s my hometown. It has changed a lot, and there are many places I am unfamiliar with now, but it’s rooted in my blood. I usually come back to visit my parents during the Spring Festival. It subtly influences my creative vision, and its colorful prints are a recurrent theme in my works. I like flowery clothes, and you can see from my editorials, too.
View this post on Instagram
And how about Beijing? What do you like about Beijing, and how does it inspire your work?
I like Beijing’s artistic approach, cultural atmosphere, and the independent space it offers. I enjoy working alone in cafés at the local parks like Beihai and Jingshan. They are very traditional Chinese parks, and I always draw lots of inspiration from them. Both Beijing and London are cities very close to me. They are very different but have one thing in common: the ability to find private space in a bustling city.
And now, post-pandemic, has this had any impact on the way you are working?
Everyone was forced to slow down and reflect on their futures. Emotionally, I treasure each moment of my life more — when being with friends, seeing beautiful things, or tasting delicious food. We have found other ways to get around work difficulties like not being able to go to fashion week or working with the international team. The pandemic taught us about what can be solved.
Can you tell Jing Daily about your new role?
I was at Huasheng Media when T Magazine was founded, and now I am coming back. Similar to what I did before, I will scout and collaborate with new emerging local talents for our monthly fashion editorials for the group’s magazines. On the other side, together with Xuan, we are also developing new products.
Your upcoming project is a new China-focused magazine. How will you resonate with local audiences, and what are the novelties it will provide?
I think the resonance comes from a shared vision of art, fashion, and aesthetics in our circle. And through this magazine, we want to reverse [the current state of publications in China]. In the past, we would localize a Western title. We now want to make a Chinese title and internationalize it. That is what I truly want.
What advice would you give brands and magazines when they collaborate with celebrities and KOLs?
Apart from the superficial level, only looking at the face and body, we can focus more on the minds of our celebrity or KOL partners. I think, after all, being smart is very attractive.
Who is your favorite Chinese artist, designer, or photographer?
Leslie Zhang, Zeng Wu, and Feng Li are photographers I really appreciate. China-based designers Didu, Yueqi Qi, and Märchen have very strong and unique styles. There are so many artists that I like, both traditional and contemporary. The format is less relevant to me — the content is what distinguishes them. The way they communicate with an audience is a big part of their artistic expression.
When it comes to definitions of Chinese beauty, how do you promote those ideals to international audiences?
Eastern beauty definitions are not set in stone. My experience abroad helped me develop an appreciation of Western aesthetics, while Chinese beauty is something that is “in my blood.” I really like the combination of the two. Eastern culture conveys in a more subtle way, very different from Western, where the approach is more enthusiastic and direct. In my editorials, I communicate local references through the details of clothes and the tone of colors.
Finally, do you think the fashion industry could be doing more to empower women?
I support women’s empowerment. Yet, gender should not be perceived as two sets of opposing ideals. For me, talented people have no gender. Equality is the aim. I am pleased to see more independent women, especially among the younger generation, as I firmly believe self-realization and satisfaction bring us mental and physical happiness.