Olive Wu Interview

Models Renee Gee, Katherine Chan, and Rebecca Zhou in Olive Wu • Photos by Stevyn Llewellyn

Modern Glossy had the pleasure of Interviewing designer, Olive Wu after her presentation at NYU’s Expo 2010 fashion show.

Your palette for the fall 2010 season is primarily a romantic mixture of muted and shimmering dark colors, what type of fabrics did you use to achieve this effect?

OW: It’s a mixture of all different kinds of fabrics in wovens & knits, such as jacquard, tulle, wool twill, lace, and some novelties.  I combined them together to create the textured & shimmering effect I was looking for.  It’s fun to play with hard and soft textures at the same time.

You use texture in this collection, integrated with layering.  What type of embellishments did you use on the jacket and skirt? Also, We also noticed that some of the pieces integrated intentional tears in the knits. What influenced this approach of texture?

OW: I used buttons as decoration on skirt and jacket; they’re strategically placed on the garments.  Those buttons are mainly vintage military buttons.  Rhinestones & pearls are also thrown in to give some varieties.

I also liked the challenge of maintaining elegance through seemingly broken, torn knits- the disruptive tone is softened and balanced by the light, transparent tulle.  This design concept is somewhat a reflection of modern life – finding order and integrity in chaos.

What influenced the collection as a whole?

OW: Initially I wasn’t sure what the theme should be, but I knew I wanted to present the whole collection in a black color palette, so I picked various textures in shades of black.  Then I had all these exquisite antique buttons to utilize, and they go against black beautifully.

In the making process, I started draping and piecing fabrics together.  I thought I had the textures I desired, but decided something was still missing.  That’s where the tulle came in.  It gives dimension.

In terms of style, I wanted to stick to classic silhouettes, so I did the puff skirt, cocktail minidress, long sleeve tee… etc.

With all the above elements combined, this collection came to be military meets royalty meets rock-n-roll with a touch of romanticism.  It’s extravagant minimalism.

What type of woman do you design for?

OW: She is chic and glamorous. She’s sassy but not showy. She is classic but certainly not boring at all.  She likes subtlety, but doesn’t mind to have fancy accent on her outfits.  Her inner beauty shines through on the exterior. She’s one of a kind and just a lot of fun!

You work at Ralph Lauren as well. Does the Ralph Lauren aesthetic influence your work in any way?

OW: Well, yes and no.  I learn to love and appreciate “authenticity” at Polo Ralph Lauren.  He has classic styles, and he can make just about anything into his American life style.

I have a different take on my own designs.  I want people to feel every piece is distinctive and it represents their individuality.  I want people to know each garment is thoughtfully made.  I’d like to be more of an artist than a designer.

As a creative person, how do you find your inspiration?

OW: I am always collecting things or tears I like… be it a picture of beautiful scenery, a cute crafty object, a cool graphic design, a special vintage handbag or button, or just a beautiful piece of fabric…  Inspirations come from everyday life.  I get inspired by art, music, fashion, culture, places and people.  Different ways of thinking and concept give me ideas as well.  My motto is to “never stop learning”.

Where can one purchase Olive Wu designs?

OW: If anyone is interested in purchasing my designs, please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected].  Or visit my  Facebook page here and ModelMayhem website.

What are your future plans for this line?

OW: My goal is to participate in more runway shows and eventually establish my own label. I hope to gain more support from people who like my designs and have the opportunity to sell them at department stores and specialty boutiques. I am collaborating with talented people to make it happen.  And I am also networking to find business savvy people to help me to launch the line. Still a long way to go but one step at a time.

Models Chelsea Ignagni, Michelle Marques, and Pauline Ma in Olive Wu • Photos by Stevyn Llewellyn