August 30 2014

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3 posts tagged "Helen Lee"

With Bright Colors and Bunnies, Helen Lee Brings a Burst of Energy to Chinese Fashion



It’s official. Fashion’s obsession with bunnies continues, and this time in China, as Shanghainese designer Helen Lee incorporates surrealist and Dada-inspired takes on the furry critters into her Fall 2014 collection.

“We call it ‘The Magician’s Rabbit,’” said Lee, “because usually, when people play in magic, they’re always using bunnies as their tool and magically turn them into something else.” The idea is an abstract one, aiming to connect life’s multifaceted worlds together through the transformative power of dress, with the wearer as the master illusionist.

Lee took thick, woolen techy fabrics; mesh; and organza in variegated textures (which were all designed and produced in-house) and layered them as in a painting. She finished the garments with graphic bunnies, many of which were depicted as being held by a playful manicured hand. The designer used this motif to signify change, a concept that Lee, who was once on the course to becoming an accountant, embraces so well.


The daughter of artists (her father is a self-taught musician who now curates arts exchange programs at a district cultural center, while her mother works at a heritage museum), Lee decided to alter her course upon joining a joint design program between Donghua University and Raffles Design Institute in Shanghai to study fashion design. She launched her namesake line in 2010, after working for a Japanese textile company in Tokyo. She also has a lifestyle label called Insh, which she has shown at Shanghai fashion week for 10 years. Helen Lee was born out of a natural desire to fulfill Lee’s more creative leanings and to complement the dynamic cityscape and culture around her. “It was my dream to start a Chinese fashion brand based on original designs and an urban chic style,” she told

“In the past—from my own knowledge—most Chinese designers were influenced by Japanese or European designers, and their colors were always safe, either black, white, or beige, and I wanted to target bold colors and to give people jingsheng [energy],” Lee explained. Even her Spring ’14 collection was full of Pop Art colors and prints, with Mickey and Minnie Mouse taking center stage. (The collection was a collaboration with Disney.)

What’s next? “Spring/Summer 2015′s theme will be on Narcissus,” she said. “I was inspired by the attitudes of fashion bloggers, It girls, and KOLs.” Stay tuned.

Helen Lee is sold at stand-alone stores in Shanghai, and various sales points across China, including Lane Crawford.

Photos: Courtesy Photos

Lane Crawford Is Shanghai and Mighty


Lane Crawford ACcessories
Lane Crawford Menswear

Tomorrow China’s leading luxury retailer, Lane Crawford, will open the doors to its brand-new Yabu Pushelberg-designed Shanghai flagship. A veritable designer mecca, the outpost is LC’s largest property and stands to stock five hundred international fashion, jewelry, beauty, and lifestyle brands.

A buying team of eighty-five experts curated the store’s comprehensive brand selection, which includes everything from Saint Laurent to Sacai to J.Crew. Lane Crawford is notable for introducing the latter into the Chinese market for the first time. Additionally, the three-floor store boasts a series of pop ups, and three homegrown labels—Helen Lee, Ms. Min, and Chictopia—will be carried in the flagship’s Hub section, which aims to promote and nurture emerging industry talents. Lane Crawford is also set to implement its first e-tail meets in-store facet in Shanghai: Customers will be able to pick up and return Internet orders at a special concierge center, marking an innovative fusion between the online and the on-ground.

Lane Crawford plays a long-standing and important role in China’s luxury goods landscape, with multiple branches already operating in other cities such as Hong Kong and Beijing. But Shanghai holds a special place in its heart. “Since the company opened its first store here in 1872, the city has been an important part of our heritage,” said company president Andrew Keith. “We are thrilled to be back.”

Photo: Courtesy of Lane Crawford

Shanghai Fashion Week’s Fall ’13 Standouts


Fall 2013 was arguably the most polished and directional Shanghai fashion week to date. Womenswear designer Qiu Hao—who scooped the Woolmark Prize in 2008, and WGSN’s Breakthrough Designer Award in 2011—presented his first ever runway show (above). And it lived up to the hype. Well-constructed and impeccably styled, the collection included oversized coats, A-line skirts, and deep V dresses in luxe plaid checked prints, textured blacks, and creamy whites.

Experimental Xiamen-based design house Sankuanz revealed its debut collaboration between lead designer Shangguan Zhe and artist Chen Tian. The show was an irreverent take on religion, and fused Tibetan silhouettes, Native American totemism, Catholic and Buddhist symbolism, and even voodoo references. Looks in opulent papal velvets and silks came in jewel tones like cardinal red, saffron, and white. Suits were hand-embroidered and printed with an eclectic array of insects and dragons, and snapback caps, slouchy hooded coats, and white worker boots had a streetwear feel. Zhe alternated between razor-sharp tailoring and deconstruction; trousers were worn baggy and rolled at the ankle, and a few androgynous robes and skirts were thrown into the mix. Continue Reading “Shanghai Fashion Week’s Fall ’13 Standouts” »