Malaysian designer, Bernard Chandran is seemingly synonymous with innovative silhouette and structure. The French trained designer graduated with a Bachelors degree from the Paris American Academy and L’Union Des Chambers Syndicales Parisiennes, Paris. The following year after graduating he made his mark by becoming the first non European designer to win the ‘Silk, Cut Young designers award’ and the ‘Open European Contest for Look of Year 2000’ in 1991.
He has gone on to win numerous more awards including the prestigious ‘Maurice Lacroix recognition award’ in Paris 2000.
Chandran’s designs see him wonderfully blur the line with the best of his native home’s influence and dynamic fashion forward shape. From amazing narrow pencil thin pants to strapless dresses that jut angularly for many inches at the hip, to sophisticated maxi length cocoon shaped quilted satin coats. It is no wonder then that his client roster include royals such as the Brunei and Malaysian Royal family respectively, pop stars like Lady Gaga and Estelle etc.
The latter is a big fan of the talented Chandran. She notably wore a striking azure blue dress by the designer with exaggerated pointing hips to perform at the 2008 MTV European Music Awards. She also chose to wear two (one on stage in a duet with Kanye West and one for the red carpet) of his distinctive pieces to the 51st Grammy awards, where she went on to win her first Grammy.
His Autumn/Winter 2009 show was a striking and interesting collection of beautiful optical prints and further forays into structure play which received rapturous applause. It seemed one part futuristic, one part minimalist and had far eastern influences like in his use of kimono sleeves.
Stand out pieces included a stunning maxi length coat with a luxury trim of feathers and a forest skyline at sunset to name a few.
His talent is evident and the designer was recently knighted by the Sultan of Pahang, Malaysia for his outstanding contributions to fashion. I was honoured to interview the busy designer, please read on for insight into the Bernard Chandran label.
1.Thank you for granting this interview, congratulations on your knighthood by the Sultan of Pahang! It must have been such an honour for you. Your designs are testament to your hard work. Please kindly tell us a bit about the ethos of your line as a whole.
My ethos in life is simple but focused i.e. “Believe in what you do, be passionate about it, be genuine about it and eventually it will become wealth”.
Hence the same with my fashion line; they must be products of my passion. Streamlined, fashion forward, sexy with an edge. Even when edgy, it has to convey luxury.
2.I had the pleasure of attending your recent Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 show at London Fashion week. I adored the amazing prints and was intrigued by the experimental structure of the pieces. Please kindly tell us a bit about the collection and your inspiration for it.
This Autumn Winter 09, I wanted to experiment with rain and test the limits how far I can marry it into my collection.
Coming from the Far East where rain is an essential element in the weather forecast, hence it is my main inspiration for the season.
Whilst rain is often depicted with moody, cloudy weather, I want to ensure that my collection is nothing like that but to portray somewhat a kind of upbeat enthusiasm, edgy yet supremacy about the designs.
I am personally happy with the results. The overall design is daring and structural and makes glimpses of reference to the rainy weather.
Hence, you could see oversized “umbrella structure” in some of the designs. The tailored volume gives the collection an edge. Straight slim cut trousers were worn with structured double breasted coats.
3.You trained at excellent schools in Paris but have shown primarily at London Fashion Week since your debut in 2006. Why have you chosen London as opposed to Paris to show your seasonal collections?
Firstly London has been a great inspiration to my growth. The city (London) is very much a foundation of fashion, it is edgy and there is such great freedom for artistic expression. Just being here has given me great motivation and a fresh perspective to my creativity. It was in London that I first launched ready-to-wear and it was very well received by the international audience, and I have great confidence that our ready-to-wear line will be successful here. My focus is London right now and to do my best for London.
4.You have dressed the likes of royals, celebrities worldwide and other notables. Who is the typical Bernard Chandran woman?
The typical Bernard Chandran woman is the individual who is daring, fashion forward, takes risk, sexy with an edge and with an eye for luxury.
5.A continuous thread in your collections is the silhouette, would you say this is this a main signature of your work?
The silhouette is a great deal and one of my key signatures. If you noticed, my designs are easy to wear, exhibit effortless grace and even though structured, it aims at bringing out the slim silhouette of those who wear them. The key here is slim silhouette and the design may not necessary be tight at the waist.
6.What inspires your innovative designs and how do you find fresh inspiration?
I guess as a designer, one must constantly invent and reinvent. Never be afraid to test your limits or go beyond your boundaries and very often that’s where one meets with innovation at the end of the day!
7.You have an intelligent knack for fusing the best of eastern design with the western. How do you find such an intuitive balance between the two?
I guess if you find a right vision for both then you will see the connection.
8.If you were not a lauded designer you would be?
I am quite single minded about this. Fashion design is my area of interest and I started designing even at the age of 16. Hence, I have not thought about being in any profession except fashion design.
9. What can my readers expect from you in future collections?
Stay tuned. I see…
10.On a final note, please leave us with five words that are synonymous with a Bernard Chandran design.
Fashion forward, sexy, edgy, quality, luxurious.
For more information on the designer visit Bernard Chandran .
*Many kind thanks to Bernard Chandran and to the lovely Portia Shaw at BLOW PR