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Fashion Folio: Vivian Luk’s New Imaginative and prescient

Fashion Folio: Vivian Luk’s New Imaginative and prescient

Beloved Hong Kong fashion designer Vivian Luk talks about how her struggle inspired her to shift her creative gears and emerge as a force to be reckoned with.

Vivian Luk has been one of Hong Kong’s favourite bridal designers for more than 10 years, during which she endured two battles with cancer. The disease made Luk pause, reflect and reassess, posing questions about her identity as a designer and a person. When she presented her new vision for Vivian Luk Atelier – which embraced a ready-to-wear category – as part of St Regis’s House of Celebration campaign, one thing was clear: the star had been reborn and was shining brighter than ever.

Over a coffee at her cosy studio, which looks like a fairy godmother’s workshop, Luk discusses the journey that brought her to where she is now.

Vivian Luk, taken by @lamma

How did you get into fashion?

Growing up in Canada, I loved music and drama but was also interested in costumes and clothes. I moved to New York to study at the Fashion Institute, where I learned tailoring, and then I went to Parsons because they’re a bit more creative. I also interned [at Donna Karan and DKNY]. I liked the idea that designers can be quiet, which is what I’d wanted to do all along – I was never interested in starting my own thing. I then worked as the head of designer’s assistant at Vera Wang. One day, Vera asked me to sketch for the red carpet. So, I was doing a lot of that and bridal for her before returning to Hong Kong. I didn’t do ready-to-wear from the get-go because I thought I had more of an edge in red carpet and bridal.

Vivian Luk’s Lotus jacket

How did you fare in Hong Kong?

I started doing bridal and did that for around 10 years before giving birth. But when I was pregnant, I got sick. We did a charity show during that time, too, because, since I had cancer, I wanted to give back to people who also suffered from the disease. I continued working through sickness. And then, four years later, I got sick again. So I changed my lifestyle and stopped for a bit. The funny thing is, I didn’t feel stressed, because when you love what you do, you don’t feel it. But then, maybe the adrenaline wasn’t working for my body. So I closed the shop and worked at home. Then Covid-19 happened. I didn’t have to worry about my staff going to work, and all the weddings got postponed. I started teaching fashion design to kids. I taught them draping with paper, because it’s something I know I’m good at and because paper is easier to work with than fabric. I wanted to teach those kids how to create a silhouette.

What’s the most challenging aspect of the work you do?

All my pieces are hard to make because everything is curved. There are no straight lines, nothing matches and it’s asymmetrical. I get a lot of comments from my staff that they think my creations are hard to make. But I want to say that working with people is the hardest part. I get a lot of good clients, but then there’s always this one person who doesn’t get it, and you end up with too many chefs in the kitchen.

Vivian Luk’s sketch

Tell us about your friendship with couturier Barney Cheng.

When I first came to Hong Kong, I went to see if he’d hire me. He saw my work and said that I should do my own thing. We’re still friends – he’s almost like my big brother. He makes me feel like I have someone watching my back.

See Also

Do you have a style heroine?

Angelina Jolie. I mean, I love people who surprise you with their juxtaposition of feminine and masculine.

Which book are you reading at the moment?

Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah. It’s about a man going through an identity and emotional battle, whose partner is a woman coming out of her own battle with cancer. Then this little girl shows up in their lives behaving like she’s not from this world. I connect to it, as it’s how I felt during Covid.

Source: Prestige Online

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