Designer Spotlight: Sue Wong

 

There is an art to being a woman.  A true study in contrasts, every one of us can be at once an angel, a vamp, a muse, and a queen.  We are as complex as we are beautiful, and no fashion artist understands this layered dynamic quite like Sue Wong.

“Basically, I’m a fashion artist. Fashion is my platform and mode of expression. My mantra is ‘Beauty. Magic.Transformation,’” she told us. “Beauty has a magical power to heal.  There’s a lot of negative energy in the world, and beauty counter-balances it.”

This deep understanding of what makes women tick lies at the heart of Sue Wong’s ability to connect with her clients and convey the art of womanhood through her designs.  Anyone familiar with Sue Wong’s immaculate creations can attest to this, as evidenced in her luxurious fabric choices, unparalleled intricate beadwork and silhouettes that make each wearer feel as stunning as she looks.

“I consider myself every woman’s couturiere.  My gowns are totally couture in appearance, yet accessible to most women.”

As young girl, Sue Wong found herself fascinated by the Walt Disney film Snow White – but not the character.  “I was enthralled more with Evil Queen,“ she laughed. “She was so elegant and lethal – treacherous and vain.”

Sue Wong also cites silver screen sirens like Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo as early inspirations.

“After fleeing China, my mother and I settled in Los Angeles. Growing up, I didn’t have any dolls to play with, so I watched old silver screen classics,” she confided. “I was mesmerized by how glamorous the women were and the total escapism of it all.  It was the early 1930’s, and the country in the middle of the Great Depression, but they were so glamorous and beautifully turned out.”

A true creative pioneer, Sue Wong has employed vintage sensibilities in her clothes from her earliest days as a designer – well before it became fashionable.

“When vintage clothing first came out, I was 19, and I used to buy it for $3 a pound, and extract the most beautiful beadwork and vintage detail.  I’d incorporate it into my designs, then hang the garments suspended by wire and displayed gallery style on Venice Beach.

That vintage sensibility evolved into Sue Wong’s signature style and has remained consistent throughout her collections.  In the world of Sue Wong, fashion is far more than an aesthetic: fashion is an experience.  Wiles attended the unveiling of her 2012 Spring /Summer collection – an event at which Sue treated her guests to a fully immersive fashion theater encounter.  A far more interactive presentation that a typical runway show, models floated throughout the venue, interacting with audience members and providing an opportunity to peruse the intricate details of each garment closely.

“I want my audience to be able to look at the garments at close range,” she told us.
“You can’t see from far away the beautiful, total complete details.  I also like to give people an opportunity to talk to the models and find out how she feels wearing my clothing.”

Ms. Wong fully recognizes that fashion isn’t simply about how a woman looks, it’s also about how she feels; and, with each piece, Sue Wong offers women an opportunity to tap into their inner goddesses.

“What I do for women through clothing is to give her a positive feeling. My clothes ode to the eternal female goddess that exists in all women,” she said. “Whereas society sells women, my clothes celebrate women.”

French historian Andre Malraux once said, “Culture is the sum of all the forms of art…”, and Sue Wong takes her role and responsibility as an artist quite seriously.

“Basically, I think the artist in society is the one who really creates new civilization, and that role is very important, in fashion, writing, architecture, movies, everything that is creative,” she said. “You need visionaries in the world at large. Our world would be flat and dull without artists. They remind us of that which is sacred.”

Sue Wong does not simply talk the talk, rather, she lives a life filled with art, culture and glamour, beginning with her three homes – each of which embodies the elements of life: mind, body and spirit.  “My home in Malibu is my mental sphere, my spiritual retreat is my home in the virgin jungles in Maui.”

And when it comes to glamour, Sue Wong’s got that covered -  owning the most iconic Hollywood home ever constructed: The Cedars.  Built in 1921, the home as classic film fans will recognize it as the domicile of fictional fading actress “Norma Desmond “in the iconic film Sunset Boulevard.

If the walls of The Cedars could talk, they’d regale us with stories of past legendary inhabitants and partygoers such as Bela Lugosi Howard Hughes, Marilyn Monroe, and, in later years, Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda and Jimi Hendrix, to name a few.

When we spoke with Sue, she was just starting to work on her 2012 Fall/Winter collection, but you can view her past and current collections, as well as learn more about Sue Wong, by visiting: www.suewong.com.

 

 

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