– Last year you released a collection inspired by the famous poet Pushkin, and the Chinese Embassy has celebrated your work there and in St Petersburg. Can you tell us how Russian culture is inspiring you to create elite collections for Russian High Society? – Yes, It’s our Fall Winter 2019 Collection. The theme is: “I Remember the Wonderful Moment”, a very famous poem by Pushkin. The Collection was shown in Moscow, and we also had a wonderful Ball in St Petersburg to celebrate the Collection, with dancers from the prestigious Mariinsky Ballet. I read a lot of Russian literature from my childhood. These poems and novels, as well as Russian classical music, had been my greatest inspirations growing up. I dreamed that one day I would be in one of the Royal Balls, wearing a beautiful gown, dancing with a handsome Army O cer, just like in the romantic storyline in Pushkin’s poem. And we made just that happen with this trip to Russia. Fashion is a dream; it is what people are inspired to become. I put my understanding of Russian culture into the design of this collection: it represents not only my understanding of Russia in the 18th or 19th century, but also in modern times. As you can see, to mix elements from 200 years ago with the fashion forward styles of nowadays, is a very intriguing experience. Russian women in my mind are among the most stylish and sophisticated women in the world: they de nitely can get my point.
– Our friends Lukas Kroulik and Her Highness Princess Olga Romano created a stunning event for your designs in one of London’s Royal Palaces. Can you tell us what made that event special, and what you look for in the best fashion events with Russian connections for the future? – It’s our rst Couture fashion show in London, in the prestigious Royal Palace of Lancaster House. Her Highness Princess Olga Romano walked the runway for us as the nale model, wearing a stunning light green chi on gown I created especially for her. She couldn’t believe that the gown tted her so well. She said: “Grace, how could you have made the gown so perfectly when you had only just met me in person!” The Collection was called “Simply Divine”, and was inspired by the English Royal style in the Victorian era, but at the same time it was very Chinese with lots of elements of Chinese artisanship and heritage in uence. We had a wonderful crowd: VIP guests came from London, Paris, New York etc, including members of the Royal Family, Ambassadors, artists and business elites. It was one of the most memorable fashion events in London high society. Yes, I’d love to have this kind of fashion event in Russia in the future, to share our stylish creations with the best fashionistas in Russia.
– We see so many rich cultural in uences in your designs – from your mastery of calligraphy in your childhood, your Rock n’ Roll teenage years and your 15 years in New York and Los Angeles. Your work is so distinctive. In a few words, can you tell our Russian readers what Grace Chen fashion is about? – We have a name for the women who wear Grace Chen, they are called the GC Girls. Grace Chen is created for the GC Girls, they are the most beautiful, the most glamorous, the most con dent, the most powerful and the most intriguing women in the world. Growing up, I loved to watch Hollywood movies, the heroines in the movies gave me an image of a perfect woman, and this had become the inspiration of my life: I believe there is a perfect woman inside of every woman; I want to use my fashion style to create this image for her, to help her nd the best of herself. So, Grace Chen fashion is about a woman’s life and dream: it not only makes her beautiful from outside, but also happily ful lled from inside. It’s not just clothing, it’s part of herself. That’s why a woman who wears Grace Chen always stands out from the crowd; she shines with the glory of her best self.
– In Russia today young designers look to you as an inspiration. From your rich experiences, what advice would you give an emerging star designer who seeks to shine, as you do? – Fashion is about life experience. It’s not only technical, not just material, but more importantly, it’s spiritual. As a designer, you need to inspire people, you need to give your clothing meaningful substance under the fabrics, the embellishments, the forms. So, I believe, as a fashion designer you should become a philosopher, poet and artist, beside your business side and your craftsman side. Yes, fashion design is a holistic work, it’s a passion, not a just a career.