Christine Lau

Christine Lau is exactly what you would not expect from a raising star of the Chinese fashion heaven: she is quiet, down-to-earth, funny, playful and madly in love with her recently-married husband.

作为中国时尚界冉冉升起的新星,刘清扬让人眼前一亮:她很安静、也很幽默;好玩同时也很脚踏实地;新婚的她洋溢着幸福,把对丈夫的爱都写在了脸上。

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We met at Chictopia HQ in Jianwai SOHO, she was sporting a relaxed and confident smile and a cocky piece from her ss2014 collection – she told me she hasn’t been buying clothes from other designers for years now, and I don’t see why on Earth she should.

我们约在了建外soho的Chictopia店,这也是刘清扬自己的品牌专卖店。身着Chictopia2014全新系列的刘清扬笑容慵懒、又充满自信。她告诉我她已经有很多年没有穿过其他设计师的衣服了。是啊,当你有更好的选择时,有什么理由不选呢?

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Leading one of the most interesting and promising funny-chic labels in China, she is incredibly approachable and friendly, and I had the feeling she was enjoying our chat at least as much as I did.

Chictopia品牌将优雅和有趣结合的出人意料,尽管已经是国内炙手可热的设计师,刘清扬却十分平易近人。我预感自己和她的这次访谈会十分愉快。

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What is Chictopia to you?

Chictopia is a very important asset for me, it feels me with a deep sense of success and happiness. It started as a way to express myself, and it still is: I’m a playful girl with self-confidence, and the pieces I design aim at bringing out the cockyness that is in every individual. I am inspired by daily simple happenings – I’m a very good observer and I find the world around me beautiful. It’s not too difficult then to design beautiful pieces!

对你来说意味着什么?

Chictopia对我来说意义重大,它是我的骄傲,给我带来了成就感。起初,Chictopia是我表达自己的一种方式,现在也是:我本人爱玩、有自信。我希望我的作品释放出每个个体身上不同的个性。我是个观察能力很强的人,善于发现周围环境的美,它们是我灵感的来源。所以,要把美表现出来对我来说就没那么困难。

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Which kind of child were you?

I have always been very playful, and at the same time quiet, reserved, not very loud. But I think my main characteristic back then – and to some extent still today – was the curiosity: I used to climb walls of the mansion close to my school to visit its hidden garden. I was attracted by everything inaccessible, secretive, mysterious.

你小时候是什么样的孩子?

我一直都比较爱玩,但同时有很内敛,比较安静。我想我小时候最重要的个性特点是好奇心比较重,我现在也是。小时候,我们学校旁边有个大院,我经常爬过高高的院墙去院子里的花园玩。那些神秘的、未知的总能特别吸引我。

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You were trained as a textile designer at London’s Central Saint Martins. When you moved out from China and found yourself in the UK how did you feel?

I felt completely free for the very first time in my life: I found a completely different environment than what I thought. Studying in China is very stressful and you are not encouraged to develop independent thinking, while in London my tutors were very open minded and, one workshop after another one, a new me was born: an adult with clear ideas about her future and a more educated passion for fashion. I think also the fact that I was in London played a big role: the city is at the same time traditional, arty and very edgy. I found myself in a very inspiring place with people from all over the world. It’s a self-discovery process that I think every person should experience and I hope it will be easier and easier for Chinese students to do so.

在中央圣马丁艺术与设计学院你学的是面料设计吧。当时离开中国到英国读书,你最大的感受是什么?

当时,我第一次感觉自己完全自由了,英国比我想象中还要不一样。在中国学习压力比较大,根本没机会培养独立思维。到了伦敦后,我的导师们都非常开明,也鼓励独立思考。于是,我从一个工作室到另外一个工作室,渐渐地发现自己成长了,变成了完全不一样的人:对自己的未来有清晰的想法,对时尚的热情不再是盲目的。伦敦这个大环境对我的塑造也有一定的作用,这座城市很传统、有着深厚的历史,同时又很前卫。伦敦带给我灵感,这儿的人们来自世界各地。这是个自我发现的过程,我觉得每个人都应该经历,也希望未来对于中国的学生们也能够更轻松地体会这个过程。

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How was Chictopia born?

After graduating, I worked as a freelance textile designer in London for a while. It was fun, but I still wanted to improve my technique. This is why I came back to China to learn more about it. After one year I felt confident enough, or reckless, to launch my own label. For the first two years it was super tough – I had to do everything by myself: design, marketing, sales. Even in the most nerve-wracking days I felt I would eventually make it, and this gave me the strength to keep going.

和我们说说Chictopia的诞生故事吧。

大学毕业后,我在伦敦曾经做过一阵的自由面料设计师。这个工作很有意思,但是我想提高自己的技艺。所以我回到了中国,希望精进这方面。大概一年后,我觉得应该可以做自己的品牌了,现在想想自己胆儿也挺大。开始两年挺难的,我自己打理所有的事儿,包括设计、营销。但即使在最纠结最困难的时候,我也相信我肯定能做好;这份信念让我能一直走到今天。

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How is the Chictopia adventure going today?

Today it’s definitely easier: I have a fantastic team of 20 trust-worty people – her younger siblings, as Christine says – medias really support independent designers and Chinese customers are more and more curious about new and unconventional products and have higher and higher spending power. Moreover, the opening of concept stores which promote up-and-coming domestic designers really gave sales a big boost.

说说Chictopia现在的发展状况吧。

现在真是好多了,我们有一支可靠的团队——用刘清扬自己的话说,这是她的孩子们;媒体对于独立设计师十分爱护,而且越来越多的中国人对独立个性的设计开始有兴趣,也具备越来越强的购买能管理。不仅如此,专门销售国内设计师作品的概念店也是提高销售额的重要原因。

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Are you interested in selling your pieces abroad?

Of course I’m interested, but I feel Chictopia is not ready yet. It’s a very young label, it needs to grow and grow wiser before it goes abroad. At the moment I’m still focusing on the domestic market, aiming at having more and more shops selling my pieces. Once we have a very wide selling platform and our brand is stable, then we’ll be ready to go – I don’t see the point in rushing things.

你想过把Chictopia推出中国吗?

当然。但是,我觉得现在我们还没有准备好。Chictopia还很年轻,需要时间成长。目前我想专注国内市场,希望我的作品能进入更多的店铺。一旦我们的平台足够大,品牌稳定了,时机应该也就差不多了。我们不想太过急进。

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What’s your big dream?

I’m actually not a dreamer, and I’m not particularly ambitious. I would love just to keep Chictopia as successful as it is now. If I have a dream, it’s about the health of my family members and the love to my husband – these are my priorities.

你最大的梦想是什么?

我其实不是个爱做梦的人,也没那么大野心,我只想把Chictopia做好。如果我有梦想的话, 应该是家人健康,岁月静好吧。

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And, out of curiosity, what’s the secret of Chictopia being so incredibly media-friendly? [Christine has a Weibo account with around 200,000 followers who happily like everything she posts]

[She laughs like I just made the funniest joke] Actually, I think the secret has something to do with the design – you need to do something unique if you want to stand out and catch the attention. In my case, I think Chictopia’s prints are memorable, they speak out. And my lovely followers are there, listening to them.

我很好奇,为什么Chictopia这么受媒体欢迎?(刘清扬在新浪微博的账户有200,000粉丝)

(大笑)我觉得可能和我的作品有关吧;如果你想引起公众的注意,首先得有特点,与众不同。Chictopia的设计独一无二,是设计在和我的粉丝们对话。

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Christine let me use her adorable pieces for a photo shooting, during which my dear friend Mario Duyuchen took care of the creative direction and street style photographers P1 contributed with their cameras and skills. It was lots of fun, and I loved wearing colourful and funny pieces from her collections.

为了本次访谈,刘清扬特意贡献了Chictopia作品让我穿着拍照,Mario Duyuchen先生负责创意,时尚街拍P1的摄影师负责本次拍摄。整个过程都让人兴奋,我太爱这些设计了。

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Christine is the proven evidence that people working in the fashion industry don’t need to be aggressive and out of reach to be successful. And, if I may add, that a beautifully-cocky summer dress with a funny print can make a statement – actually, a glamorous one. I thought Christine deserves a Chiara’s Pick for her talent and passion. Do you agree with me?

有人说,成功的时尚设计师大多咄咄逼人,拒人千里之外,刘清扬显然是个例外。而且,一件设计别致、充满趣味的裙子足以表达一个故事。本期柯雅的时尚人物推荐——刘清扬,一位充满创意和有趣想法的中国年轻设计师。

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Christine Lau, founder del brand funny-chic Chictopia, e’ quanto di più lontano ci si possa immaginare dalla designer vip. E’ simpatica, alla mano, con i piedi per terra, e mette al primo posto nella sua vita l’amore per il ragazzo che ha appena sposato. I suoi abiti sono sbarazzini, divertenti e a tratti impertinenti, ed e’ stato un piacere per me indossarli durante il photo shooting che ha visto la collaborazione con i fotografi streetstyle P1.

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For the chat with Christine Lau at Chictopia HQ I was delighted to wear:

我的搭配:

dress 裙子: Sandro

sunglasses 太阳镜: Dior

Blogger’s set:

书写必备:

Yellow notebook 黄色笔记本: Moleskine

Dotted pen 星点笔: Campo Marzio

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For the photo shooting, I was delighted to wear Chictopia creations.

拍摄之时尚搭配

From my own wardrobe, I used:

以下是私人物品:

Pumps 平跟鞋: Stuart Weitzman

Wedges 坡跟鞋: Zara

Sandals 凉鞋: Fausto Santini

Pearl necklaces 珍珠项链: vintage

Silver bracelet 银色手镯: Nanis

Shimmering bracelets 亮色手镯: Accessorize

Silver ring 银色戒指: Furla

Gold ring with the yellow stone 镶石金色戒指: designed for me by Gianni Martinis 由设计师Gianni Martinis独家为本博设计

Pink earrings 粉色耳饰: hand-made in India. Bought at Geco in Rome 印度手工制作 。购于罗马Geco

Gold bracelets 金色手镯: vintage

Sunglasses 太阳镜: vintage

Lipstick 唇膏: Chanel Rouge Coco #16 Taffetas Rose

Nail color 美甲: OPI Alpine snow + OPI Matte top coat

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All the pictures at Chictopia HQ were taken with my white Sony NEX-5T.

相机:索尼 NEX-5T.

Pictures during the photo shooting were taken by streetstyle photographers P1 – More streetstyle in the P1 app.

访谈照片皆由时尚街拍P1摄影师拍摄。

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Chinese version of the interview by Jasmine Wang.

访谈中文翻译由王素馨提供。

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