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Interview with Singapore veteran couturier Tan Yoong

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

 


  

  

The Interview

A veteran couturier for the past two decades, Tan Yoong might just be the only designer from our local ground to reach legendary status. Known for his exquisite craftmanship and tailoring from his made-to-measure label, which includes a couture bridal line, it should come with no surprise that his main group of clients are attributed with having elegant taste.

Tan Yoong gives us an eye-opening view of the highs and lows of his prolific career thus far, and hints at what he has in store for his label in our exclusive Test Shoot Gallery interview. By Luth Seah Zhiqiang

  

  

TSG: What kind of environment did you grow up in?

I can recall that I enjoyed drawing from a young age. I frequently used chalk to draw female forms attending different parties in different  outfits, as if they had a endless supply of clothes designed for parties.

My parents and siblings were very supportive of my choice to do art despite the fact of them having little understanding of the arts. Perhaps it was because I was the youngest in the family.

I was naturally attracted to the aesthetics and beauty of the female form (always sketching made-up eyes or lips). As a teenager, I was very much influenced by my sister’s many issues of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. I remember David Bailey’s shoots with Jean Shrimpton, Penelope Tree and Marie Helvin, and also the pictures of Irving Penn and Horst. I was fascinated by the compositions in the photos, and it molded my base of aesthetic appreciation.

After pre-university, I pursued the arts by enrolling into the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. After graduation, I became a graphic artist, because back in those days, aspiring locasl fashion designers were unheard of!

Eventually, I went into advertising and I worked my way up to become an art director in BateyAds, which really widened my view to the world of design. It sharpened my skills enough to differentiate and allowed me to strive towards an international feel in all aspects of my work. Till today, I am still applying the knowledge learnt from advertising to my fashion designing.

  

  

TSG: What was the starting point for you in the arts? How did you know that you wanted to become an artist?

I think it is a gift from God. I was always my art teachers’ favourite student. Always excelling in art although I did badly in other subjects.

I excelled even in my advertising days when I won top awards in poster design, lettering design, interior design and fashion design. I best expressed my ideas in an artsy way, and I enjoyed and appreciated anything to do with art expression – be it photography, fashion, culture, dance, music, etc. I still do of course!
 

 

TSG: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

My design aesthetic would be ethereal and fluid, always feminine and dreamy in terms of silhouette and detailing.

 

 

TSG: Why the move from being an art director to a fashion designer, and how do you compare it to your job as an art director?

First of all, I love fashion. Unlike advertising (especially locally because one’s creativity is controlled or dictated by your clients), fashion gives me more freedom to fantasize and dream. I am not a wordsmith, so if I am not in fashion, I would most probably be doing something associated with fine arts, photography, or interior design.
 

 

TSG:  What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

To quit advertising and start my own fashion label without knowing anything about the business!

 
 

 

TSG: What was the most excited project you had been involved and why?

Two fashion design contests I took part in Tokyo in 1974 and 1976 while working in advertising. Those were the only chances I could show off my fashion flair and I was the first non-Japanese to win worldwide! I felt like I was representing Singapore and it was my first trip to Japan, where I was chauffeured everywhere with a lady translator in tow. It was an amazing experience!
 
 

 

TSG: You certainly seem to be reaching for the surreal and cinematic effects in your advertising campaigns for your label. What led you in that direction with your work? Did you feel disillusioned with mainstream fashion photography?

I am very much a dreamer. I like to think about a woman in different moods and situations. I try to break free from repeating my works and to achieve a cosmopolitan appeal to my designs.
 

 

TSG: Do you like the models doing typical model poses when you are directing the shoots?

In the beginning, the models called me a professional bone-breaker, because I put them in impossible poses just to be unique! Nowadays, I want them to be natural, but still portraying a certain character in a story. Of course, it has to show my clothes in the perfect angle.
 

 

TSG: In your opinion, what’s a designer’s role in the current economic climate?

I think designers have to work more magic to attract. What’s the balance between refining the signature of the house each season and doing something new? It seems there’s tremendous pressure now to do something completely new every time. Yes, it’s not easy to achieve the balance to please your followers and to attract new customers.
 

 

TSG: In five words, what does beauty represent to you?

Anything that pleases my eyes.

 

 

TSG: What other artists do you admire in your own field of work?

Currently, I admire the design sensibilities of Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, as well as the Mulleavy sisters from Rodarte.  Though, my all-time favourite is definitely still Christian Larcoix!
 

 

TSG: What was your most memorable work experience?

One of that moments has to be collaborating with photographer extraordinaire, Willie Tang. It is the way he shoots. Always inspiring and demanding perfection, whether it is from the models, the stylist, the setting, basically everything!

He has influenced my works and creative vision to higher standards; to try and view the ideas with perfection.
 

 

TSG: What makes you laugh? 

I laugh easily, I love sharing my laughter and joy with close ones. Although my friends always tease me about having a fierce exterior demeanour.

 

 

TSG: What are you working on at the moment, and what future projects do you have? 

For the year end, I am preparing the looks for my campaign, and I am exploring the idea of a film for that collection.

 

   

 

TSG: Do you have any advice for young people who would like to start a career as a fashion designer?
 
No advice, except that they need to have a lot of passion and patience, and be very focused on their work.
Link


Tan Yoong

Max.Tan “AGAINST” Autumn/Winter 2010 campaign & interview by TSG coming your way..

July 1st, 2010 Comments off

 

 
The Team

 

Photography / May Lin Le Goff
Creative & Fashion Direction / Ashburn Eng
Fashion Designer / Max.Tan by Max Tan
Make-up / Mav Chang
Hair / Annie Tay
Model & Text / Luth Seah Zhiqiang
Styling Assistance / Shanna Matthew

Interview with Singapore fashion designer Sabrina Goh

June 28th, 2010 Comments off

 

  

   

The Interview

Let us face it, women can be vicious. Executed as a self-defense “tool”, or just out of fulfillment for their dark side, they are the species not to be underestimated. Maybe that is why designer Sabrina Goh feels the need to excavate the sinister in the woman in our society, an inspiration that ignited her fourth collection for label ELOHIM.  Named “Poison Ivy”, the Autumn/Winter 2010 collection for ELOHIM showcases a spectrum of colour, material, construction and proportion to express the properties of the character. 

Tripping us with more her illustrated exoticism, Sabrina Goh shares the inspirations to the construction behind the latest collection from ELOHIM, as well as all things trivia of the force behind the label in our exclusive interview. By Luth Seah Zhiqiang
 

   

   

TSG: What was the starting point for your Autumn/Winter 2010 collection?
 

Autumn/Winter 2010 expresses my feeling, inspired by the some incidents that happened. Whenever I feel weak or discouraged, I translate these sensations into drawings/designs. This helps me to stay positive and courageous despite bumps in life. These experiences force anyone to build up an outer layer of new self and conceal past memories subconsciously. Though they might have made progression in life, they don’t make incredible leaps to their lives. I hope that through my work, people will feel encouraged to change in their ideals about themselves, hold on to positivity and step up the values in their lives. 

   

   

TSG: How do you start working on this new collection, and how do you go about designing the pieces?
 

ELOHIM’s Fall Winter 2010 collection is inspired by the concept metaphor of POISON IVY: A lover, a fighter and a femme fatale. A poisonous plant, a Marvel comic character from the Batman series, a metaphor for the modern woman, alluring powering and able to defend herself. POISON IVY is a walking contradiction and mysterious creature. She is a woman who inspires delicate romance and deadly reaction. 

   

   

TSG: What other artists do you admire in your own field of work?
 

The late Alexander McQueen, Grace Coddington, Nicholas Ghesquiere, Ricardo Tisci, Steven Klein and Sazeli Jalal.

  

   

TSG: Before achieving such tremendous amount of success on the local fashion scene, how did you first know that you wanted to become an artist, or your first encounter in designing?

 

Fashion had always been the dream job since young. I remembered my father asking me if I was interested in becoming a fashion designer, perhaps he could see it was a gift in me. I was not artistically brought up as a child, but my father who was an architect draughtsman inspired me, and I always helped him to watercolour. After my “O” Levels, I continued my passion and studied at LASALLE SIA College of the Arts, majoring in Fashion Design. I participated in Singapore Young Designer ‘06 and ‘07 and was a finalist for both competitions. It was a great way to showcase my creativity in public, and I could not be who I am now without the great experiences to mould me. 

 

 

TSG: What is your idea of Elohim in a woman? 

 

ELOHIM’s stark silhouettes portray the image of strength and vulnerability, having confidence on the outside and internally.

 

 

TSG: Why did you move to Singapore, and how do you compare it to Malaysia? 

 

Singapore is the closest country to home and is a well-known safe place to study. The move to Singapore was a natural decision after many years of influenced by Singaporean TV shows, radio and magazines. Back then, I was inspired by K.MI Huang, a senior at Lasalle College of the Arts, also the designer behind WOMB won the Singapore Fashion Designer Contest 2001. I hoped to be as successful as her by enrolling myself in the same school that she studied at.

 

 

TSG: Your advertising campaign photos are often quite dark and haunting, is there any particular inspiration? 

 
My campaigns are emotionally influenced and reflect the concept behind the collection. I like the fact that the photographs are not taken in perfect overly happy manner but in a social realistic way. My campaigns have their hidden messages to encourage people to stay strong in life, hence the tougher strong styling.

 

 

TSG: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?


“When you have faith to see your dreams come to past, you are halfway there to your goal.”

 

 

TSG: What was the most excited project/ work you had been involved and why?

 

Mango Fashion Awards El Boton 3rd Edition and shortlisted as one of Top 46 Finalists worldwide. I feel it is always good to get involved in local or overseas competitions because I am constantly kept on my toes and there always will be a thirst for improvement. 

 

 

TSG: Who would be the ideal public ambassador for the brand? 

Kate Lanphear. 

 

 

TSG: How do fashion and photography coexist for you or ELOHIM? 

Photography is important especially in fashion, as they are fronts to portray and translate a brand/collection’s image, concept and sensation.

 

 

TSG: What do you think of luxury designers collaborating with and having their work mass-produced for stores like Uniqlo? Do you think, in the long run, it will affect the artistic integrity of the fashion industry as a whole?


Designers take pride in the works they produce; creativity will not be compromised for something even that basic. Mass produced brands like Uniqlo had been successful in selling their concepts and products even as it outreaches to the masses. I do not think it will affect the artistic integrity of the fashion industry because it is targeted to different market. 

 

 

TSG: Lastly, any advice you will offer to aspiring designers?

 
My advice will be to set your goals and head forth to achieve them. Do not be afraid to dream, as you will never know how sharp your pencil is until you sharpen it. As they always say “Work without dream is treacherous. Dream without work will always be a dream”.

Link

Elohim

Shito “del.icio.us” Autumn Winter 2010 Campaign by Test Shoot Gallery

May 11th, 2010 Comments off

 

“del.icio.us” presents a palate of colors – in stripes, bright shades, glitter and prints – influenced by retro pop culture. Shito brings these colors into strips of suede, PVC and snakeskin leather. This sinfully irresistible collection screams, “You know you want it!” to all women out there. 

Shito enters Autumn/Winter 2010 in its most titillating form. The collection rebels against traditional fashion trends and chooses instead to flirt with colors in the grayest season of the fashion year. The collection “del.icio.us” is just too delish to resist!

The Team 


Photography / May Lin Le Goff
Creative and Fashion Direction / Ashburn Eng
Shoes / Shito
Make-up & Hair  / Chris Ruth
Tattoo Artist / Jeremy Tan
Styling Assistance / Shanna Matthew 
Interview  / Luth Seah Zhiqiang
Model / Anna L  

  

Shito, despite being a young shoe label freshly introduced to our local designing scene, proves that it is packed with enough sensuality to flirt with the feet of our local woman. In conjunction with the collaboration together with TSG for their latest ad campaign, Alice Soedirman (one-half behind the label) helps familiarize us with the label more in our exclusive interview. 

  
TSG: Tell us a little more about yourself, as well as “Shito” the shoe label?
 
 Alice: 5 years ago, I came to Singapore from Indonesia to pursue my studies in fashion design in Lasalle College of Arts. It was during my last academic year, we (my design partner Cheryl Mok and I) decided to launch “Shito”.  Shito is a new exclusive footwear targeted for women who want to make a bold artistic statement. Created in early 2009, Shito produces shoes that were one-offs which the intersection of arts and the nature of the human body. Our vision for Shito is to produce well-heeled shoes that encompass erotica attraction, built with a sense of being in control and empowerment to the wearer. We believe in the quote from Geoff Nicholeson – “What a good shoe crucially does and must do, is to reveal the foot, enhance and display it, offer a frame and a setting for it.”
 
 
TSG:How and what motivated/inspired you to launch “Shito”?
 
Alice: As a shoe lover myself (which girl is not by the way?), I have always dreamed about owning a pair of shoes that could provide the perfect balance of comfort and excellent design. After experiencing shoes designing module in my last academic year in Lasalle, “Shito” idea was borned and launched.

 

TSG: This season you included wedges and flats, a different addition to your normally high heels-dominated collections in the past. Are there any reasons why?

Alice: We wanted to expand our footwear range to our fabulous heels. At Shito, we truly believe that great shoes come in any height.

 

TSG: What are the references you always come back to in your work? Are they any techniques you employed so far in designing and creating your shoes fascinated you the most?

Alice: I am constantly amazed by how a pair of good shoes can beautifully frame a woman’s legs. With designing, I always come back to how I can frame that leg to its outmost beauty. Technically, I find footwear designing fascinating as it demands me to look at many different perspectives that were never considered in the process of apparel design. For example, the space within the shoes needed for the arch of the foot, and the construction of stable high heels are crucial considerations in the designing process.

 

TSG: What is your idea of elegance in a woman?

Alice: I believe elegance is something that cannot be bought but is possessed naturally. To me a woman is elegant when she is confident in herself and knows how to carry herself in grace and femininity.

 

TSG: Who would be the ideal public ambassador for the brand? And if there is one, who is your muse?

Alice: Dita Von Teese. She carries sexiness in the most elegant and feminine way. She is sultry and has a little teasing edge, everything that Shito stands for.

 

TSG: What would be your own personal shoe choices?

Alice: Definitely high heels. I want to wear high heels 24 hours 7 days a week.

 

TSG: Do you have any plans to expand to other countries?

Alice: Yes. Aside from Singapore, we are currently available in Jakarta, Indonesia. We are also in the process of expanding to Malaysia, and hopefully to Australia as well.

 

TSG: With the upcoming trend of couture shoe designers like Christian Louboutin collaborating with Rodarte to create statement pieces for the runway, which major fashion houses would you love to design for and why? 

Alice: Dolce and Gabbana, and it would be a dream come true. As a designer, I have always been fascinated with 2 things- shoes and corsets. To me, no other brand portrays sex, confidence, and elegance in a woman better than Dolce and Gabbanna.

 

TSG: How did you get to know Test Shoot Gallery? 

Alice: Test Shoot Gallery has been gaining reputation in the local fashion scene for their amazing advertising campaigns, and their various collaborations with various designers did manage to create a buzz.

 

TSG: What made you collaborate with Test Shoot Gallery for your ad campaign this season? 

Alice: The amazing advertising campaigns that Test Shoot Gallery have produced reflects their understandings of each label’s individual point of view.

 

TSG: Is the idea of creative collaboration important to you? 

Alice: Yes. As a designer, I believe with a balance of good design and individuality of the label will always reach out to the everyone out there. Hence, creative collaborations are one of the best platforms to showcase that balance.

 

TSG: Besides platforms like Singapore Fashion Festival to create awareness, what kind of support do you feel home grown labels need?

Alice: I think home grown labels need more frequent media exposure and support like being featured in the magazines, workshops and Asia-wide tradeshows. Frequent media coverage will create more awareness for home grown labels for local market knowledge.

 

Stockists

Antipodean            27a  lorong mambong                                                          Tel: +65 6463 7336
Blackmarket           19 Jalan Pisang                                                                    Tel: +65 62968512
Fashion First          Senayan City 1st Floor Kav. 12, Jl. Asia Afrika Lot. 19  Jakarta          
Shito                       www.shitoonline.com
Ztamp                     Far East Plaza, #03-47                                                      Tel: +65 63338526

We’re featured in GlamCult Magazine March 2010 (Netherlands)

April 23rd, 2010 Comments off

 

“PRESSED” Spring Summer 2010 Campaign is featured in March issue of GlamCult magazine (Netherlands)

Link
GLAMCULT

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