Since his debut in 2013, Leonard Wong has charmed and excited the fashion world with his maxi-minimalist approach to design. His sculptural, monochromatic pieces have been worn by celebrities like Chinese actress Zhou Xun, while more adventurous dressers like Lady Gaga and Ayabambi have also sought him out. Here, he speaks to Schön! about his newest collection, Alchemy.
Like many exciting designers before him, Wong is a storyteller, weaving his tale through every collection for his experimental line. Explaining this method his says “all the concepts of my experimental line are linked and related. After a couple of years, they will develop into a complete story. And I hope at that time, people who read the story can understand my philosophy of fashion at this period.”
His current collection based on the theme, Alchemy also forms a part of his grand narrative, he tells us: “From ancient times, alchemists have sought after truth by persistent experiments and imagination. I express my analysis for alchemists via composition of different materials and shapes, and processing of conflicting cultures. I hope in the future, more and more people can understand by all dimensions the virtual world created by Leonard Wong.”
Alchemy feels lighter than his previous collections. “This time” he explains, “the concept of Alchemy is to evolve the brand by using different materials. And now we can provide the clients with more choices.”
While Wong creates his two lines – his Collection Line and the Experimental Line – the Collection Line has a more wearable, contemporary look and feel so it almost seems that he is creating for two different women. For Wong, it’s about giving the customer a wider breadth of options “my Collection Line is inspired by my Experimental Line, so the two lines share the same concepts. Experimental Line is an expression from microscope, and Collection Line is its magnification. The design of Leonard Wong can help women to experience both micro and macro modes in life.”
It’s not unusual for designers today to create several lines under the same brand however, one of fashion’s greatest worries today is the burnout of its creatives, but Wong has created a system that makes the process less taxing. Both collections form harmonious parts of his brand’s story: “The design of new Collection Line is inspired and defined by the details and visual effect of Experimental Line. When working on the two lines, I always need to choose and improve in various aspects. Creating Experimental Line calls for wild and unlimited imagination. While for my Collection Line, on the contrary, I will set a frame to balance creativity and modernism.”
Even as his Experimental Line seems to be just that – experimental with a more conceptual take on fashion – wearability remains at the core of his practice: “All my design initiatives come from clothing perspective. Wearability is the baseline for creativity development, and they should be combined precisely.”
His methods appear to be working in the short years since the brand has been in existence. Wong has not only been worn by celebrities but has also found a supporter in the grand dame of avant garde fashion in China, Lily Gatins. For Wong, such partnerships are natural: “two who have similar atmosphere will meet inevitably. In this world, there is no coincidence, only the inevitable,” he says. He further explains that he and his creators “have the same thoughts for the future by breaking the tradition, which is the reason why we meet each other.”
While the brand has gained a foothold in Japan, Wong is set on expanding his brand into markets as close as China and South Korea, and as far as the United States but his ultimate goal remains Paris. “Paris is one of my plans, just for its unique charm,” he says. He’s biding his time, however. “Now, I’m still writing my brand story. I believe when I have the chance to publish my first show in Paris, it must be an unprecedented one. It may be a journey in the time tunnel, or an adventure in the interstellar space.”
Discover Leonard Wong’s collections here.
Words / Kristie Gonzales