LuLu(Lu) Liu takes time out to talk to Lieutenant Uhura about the creative studio process, her innovative visual take on Tibetan influenced garments, interning at Giles Deacon and why London is a great place to find inspiration.
How would describe your collection to someone who has never encountered any of your pieces?
My aim for this collection is to create garments that illustrate a futuristic direction and a unique vision. My collection is heavy but elegant look but I want to bring the look up to date and make it desirable to modern consumers.
Through this collection you have made designs which are forward and futuristic whilst also returning to a simple earthy natural tone, was this your intended interpretation?
Yes even though my influence came from Tibetan history I was very much aware that I needed the final result to have update look. I feel that even though the colours and idea show tradition the shape and use of material give it a modern twist.
It also comes across as though you handle fur, any animal aspects and how it is going to be worn in outside in your clothing with an immense amount of respect, was this important you concerning themes of Tibet?
Fur is a part of Tibetan dress and I felt that I needed to use the correct style and colour to really transform my collection. I was lucky enough to have my collection sponsored by Saga fur in Denmark where I produced the garments. Saga have the highest quality fur and great resources to get the best out of the material.
The fur is used in a way that every bit is used within the collection and no element goes to waste. The use of real fur ensures the garment will stand the test of time and keep good for generations.
It was in the studio where I started to develop my handmade pleating and fur trimming cape, which took its inspiration from the winter capes Tibetan monks wear.
I folded the wool and sewed the two pieces together so I look like a pleat but in fact its not done by machine, then I added sliver fox fur trimming in the gap to give a different texture. The wool and the fur are the same color; this gives the garment different texture.
The process was a bit of a nightmare because in order to make all the pleating look perfectly straight, all the stitching has to perfect otherwise it will shows on the pleats and ruin the whole garment. I spent 4 days and nights in the studio in order to create the pleats and fur trimming. With thanks to the fur specialist at saga team who gave me so much help. By the end of the week we finally see the pieces coming together on the stand and it looked just amazing.
The pleating fur cape is a great practical winter statement piece, do you have a particular items you are most proud of or do you see a collection as one body of work despite various amounts of times being spent on the production of individual items?
Each of the pieces took a long time either in the pattern or the final production so I feel a connection to each. However the long blue knitted dress has proven to be very popular and has been used in a number of recent photoshoots and will be produced by the London fashion label Garmez this autumn.
Have you ever collaborated or plan to work with other designers on projects?
I recently interned at Giles Deacon in London. I learned so much from him and I love they way he puts things together, its effortless yet really urban cool. And I love the attitude he puts into his work, not serious, a bit of humor, its just great balance.
What advice would you give to anyone about to leave A-levels behind and attend fashion schools at the end of this summer?
I think as a designer you will never be 100% satisfied. I am a perfectionist and nothing is perfect, so this will always be a problem. At the end of the day it all comes down to hard work and wanting to succeed more than anything
How important do you think London is concerning studying Fashion in general, did you ever think of training in New York or Paris?
I really enjoy living in London and studying here has been a great experience. My college was located in an area of town famous for starting trends in fashion. London is a hub of creativity and I feel my collections have embraced this.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
My aim is to set up my own label LULU LIU. I just finished my website and it will update after the new collection come out ( http://www.lulu-liu.com)