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The woman behind Beauty.Magic.Transformation: SUE WONG

April 27, 2010

Interview with Sue Wong : A Fashion Philosophy

1. Define fashion design in your own words?  As poetic, artistic, and descriptive as possible..

Fashion is something that’s transitory, and a momentary statement of the times, reflecting that moment’s movement in taste and trend… Style is something that trandscends fashion and trend and has to do with individual, creative and artistic flair…one can be stylish without being trendy or au currant… Style is informed by the individual’s own creative expression…

2. Why are you a fashion designer?  From the roots to where you see yourself in the future ?

My roots are not in fashion, but based in art… I am a visual artist who happens to express my art through fashion and style…it has become my art and my modality for creativity…I originally aspired to be an artist/painter, a pursuit frowned upon by my very traditional Chinese parents, who refused to support my education…therefore, I went into fashion as a secondary choice… Beauty and its pursuit has always been important to me, and something that is essential to my very being… I revel in it; I play in the field of beauty… I am surrounded by art and beauty in all my various environments, I am immersed in it…  On an everyday basis,  I am priviledged enough to create beauty and it courses through my being. It is one of the most important healing agents, and connects me to the Eternal Divine; It is my doorway to the Transcendent. Designing fashion connects me to the Goddess and the Eternal Feminine and the power of the Aphrodite Aspect… It honors the Goddess and therefore, my clothes honors the Goddess within every woman… I use the beauty and power of the Goddess and to honor and to heal my own inner feminine…

3. Where are you from?  Where do you identify with?  How has that affected your designs ?

I was born in rural China, and a child of Mao’s Prolitariat Revolution… My father had fled back to America before I was born, and I only met him for the first time when my mother and I escaped Communist China with nothing more than the clothes on our backs….Growing up in Communist Mainland China and being the daughter of struggling immigrants was a sensory deprivation, as beauty and anything that was rich nourishment for the soul was not essential, and  as such, was discouraged or outright oppressed…In America,  I turned to the iconic fantasy glamour of  the classic goddesses of the Silver Screen, such as Harlow, Garbo, Dietrich for inspiration …  Their glamour, beauty and magic absolutely  left their impression…My creative work, therefore has the imprint of these iconic goddeses written all over it..Mine is a fantasy aesthetic that is informed by romance, beauty and the feminine power of the Goddess, who enchants and empowers…

4. Thoughts about fashion school and education?  Where have you learned the most, etc. ?

I never had but a year of formal training or schooling…everything that I learned was from direct assimilation from being on the job, technically…the rest I brought to the picture through my own essence and energy… I believe talent to be an inborn, inherent  attribute… One is born an artist… You cannot “learn” creativity…It is not something that can be learned, acquired or assimilated… The nucleus of art and creativity has to  exist already from  within…Again, it can only be refined, but not learned nor acquired…

5. What feeling did you have when you witnessed your first runway show / designs, etc. ?

A runway show for a designer is the final realized or actualized   manifestation of the original vision or concept brought to life… It is the completion or the end result of an idea, or a cluster ( a collection) of ideas.The model or muse  IS the finalized ideal vision of  Aphrodite herself in three dimensional form .I like my runways to always be bigger than life…My runway presentations are part fashion showcase and part fashion theatre…They are always full of wit, charm and vitality… They are never just normal basic catwalks!

6. Do you want to say anything about your ethnic perspective in your art and fashion ?

Art precedes fashion…Art and beauty trandscends all boundaries of ethnicity…However,  I am grateful that   my ethnicity is Chinese and that  I  come from an ancient cultural lineage that dates  back over five thousand years in terms  of beauty, civilization  and refinement… The Chinese aesthetics is about refinement, and delicate feminine beauty… The luster and sensuality of silk, the most beautiful textile in the history of civilization was realized in China thousands of years ago… The exquisite embroideries and hand-work techniques that were created by hand many centuries ago, are still employed and incorporated into new designs within my collection every season….

7. What do the following words mean to you:  Beauty?…  Magic?..Transformation ?

Beauty creates magic, and the alchemical agents of magic have the power to transform… Hopefully,when a woman puts on a Sue Wong creation, she is magically transformed into a goddess, because hopefully the power and beauty of the design makes her feel literally like a beautiful  goddess incarnate… My own personal patron goddeses are Athena, goddess of the wisdom sphere; Artemis, the warrior goddess of the hunt; and of course, Aphrodite, the quintessential feminine  goddess of love and beauty….In  the Eastern tradition of Yin and Yang,  I honor  the Yang, male energy in my outer manifestation of being engaged in the world, where I am a very active warrior; and my Yin  is  very much expressed through the work that I do and the beauty which I create, and is most definate and very present in my inner world…They are both equally present forces in my life, and I honor their dual nature, yet  both aspects are in check and balance within our own being… We are all both Yin and Yang.

8. Thoughts about stereotypes in the fashion world?  In confronting opposition ?

I don’t care for hungry ghost fashionistas who take themselves or fashion seriously…such as label whores or attachment to status or terminal fashion victims… I find it  all such a  bore when fashion is taken to that level… Fashion is supposed to be fun and playful and should only be an enhancement to a woman’s beauty. I have no opposition… My biggest competitor is myself, as each time, I strive for a higher level of excellence…

9. Thoughts about language / culture / heritage / countries / diversity

I am inspired not only by the romanticism of certain eras, but by  various ethnic cultures around the planet, depending on what I favor in that particular season…I love the culture from various tribes or ethnicities from around the planet… Not only am I fascinated by their different modes of dress, but by their tribal rituals and their mystical beliefs and their way of life…

10. Visceral, aural, and sensual characteristics about your art ?

All art has to have true emotion…it has to come from the heart…it can come from an intellectual plane, but it will be void of feeling or heart and might be lacking in soulful engagement… It will be strictly cerebral… I prefer not to be merely THINKING about life; I’d much rather be LIVING it!

11. Personal quote(s) of inspiration that you live by ?

The native American quote about beauty as being an essential essence and spiritual mantra in our lives: ” Beauty before me; beauty behind. Beauty to the left of me; Beauty to the right… Beauty above me;  Beauty below … ”

12. Personal inspirations?  Fashion and non-fashion.

Art, Beauty, Poetry, the glory of Nature, Love and Romance, Sex and Sensuality, The Goddess…all of these have a sacred order in the universe…

13. Reflections on love, lust, and romanticism ?

These elements are all  reflected in my work…the work is informed by  a lot of passion and intensity and much sensuality and sexuality; At my core, I am a sensualist and a romantic… I have an intensely dramatic aesthetic sensibility… I like everything strong and intense— there is nothing weak or insipid about my work or about the life that I have lived so far!

14. Any personal struggles in fashion career ?

Finally finding my métier…Designing eveningwear became my calling… I am glad that I heeded the challenge  creatively. Eveningwear offers the opportunity for me  to indulge my fantasy as I am able to unharnass my creative imagination and set it free— it is the most creative category in fashion to play with!

15. Views that mean the world to you…

Be true to oneself,,, have the courage to live in authenticity and be brave and truthful enough to follow one’s bliss…and courageous enough to take the appropriate risks to love, to create… To LIVE!!

16. Types of art you love / dislike ?

I like it all…from Baroque to Minamalism; from the Primitive to the Modern, as long as it’s all good…I have a huge Modern Art collection, mostly the work of many artist friends who are my own creative contemporaries and figurative art from Paris…Any  art  has to be the best of its genre…the best from any given genre inevitably becomes a classic, as it is the best representation of that era and classification.

17. Future ambitions, goals, etc. ?

I wish to build an International, global brand and to build a body of global licenses, as I aspire to complete what I have started in fashion to complete that idea and take it to the highest level of that I am capable of accomplishing.. I wish to see all the places of great beauty and marvel in the world, as I find indigenous cultures around the planet to be fascinating… Their origins and voices speak to the purpose  our own life journey on this plane…   I wish to carry out my creative vision to   build my beautiful personal sanctuary  on my enchanted oceanfront property in Kipahulu, Maui, where it is indeed, heaven on earth! Hopefully, I ‘d like to have someone wonderful and special to share love with and to travel  the rest of the winding journey with one day, where with every twist and turn in the road , there awaits more magic and ever  new would be wonderful to pproach the oncoming years together with ever more light, wisdom and understanding…

18. Things you want to improve ?

My consciousness… How to be a more enlightened and compassionate human being…

19. What are you most proud of ?

I finally am confident in my creative work as an artist as I’ve become  a master of my craft after so many years of practice in my chosen profession….

20. Lessons learned

I am still learning new life lessons every single day,  as life is an ever unfolding collection of new lessons…It is a fascinating and most intriguing journey! I wouldn’t have missed this incredible ride for anything! I just wished that we were all given a lifespan of about 500 years, as there is so much to see, to do and to experience! There is not enough time given within this lifetime to do it all!

21. Personal values?

To walk in honor and in integrity… It is all that we really have and all that really matters…it is something that comes from the essence of the soul… When one loses one’s integrity, everything is lost, as we will have sold our souls to the Devil— the Devil being our own individual chief evil desires— usually governed by the falsity and illusion of Ego. Integrity and honor are non-negotiable truths…

22. Other interests?

Art, Architecture, Decor,  Literature, Cinema, Theater, Philosophy, Travel, Fashion, Cuisine, everything that builds and creates  civilization…

Watch Sue Wong video . A Fashion Philosophy.

View Sue Wong ”La Vie Parisiene” 2010 cocktail party . Photo gallery here

Credits and Interview belong to Sue Wong

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 27, 2010 7:52 am

    Simply beautiful! A stunning work of an interview and what an amazing woman.

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