NEW TALENTS: interview with Caroline Hu, from CSM and Parsons schools up to New York Fashion Week


Her MFA graduate collection was one of the most photographed and admired at New York Fashion Week and she conquired the hearts of public and professionals with immense clouds of tulle and handmade embroideries. Let's talk with Caroline Hu, the young and nice student of Parsons School of Fashion

Sometimes can happen that one student of a fashion school, also if is so renowed as Parsons is, dazzle the public with a graduate collection incredible mature and innovative at the same time. The novelty is not technological this time, but more poetic and artistic. As we haven't seen in a long time (do you remember John Galliano and Alexander McQueen or Martin Margela examples?), she give us the final demonstration that fashion is a real form of art.

Her summer 2018 collection, presented with all the other students of MFA Parson School of Fashion at last New York Fashion Week, is a rapture of ecstasy and delicacy, of fabrics used as brushstrokes on meters and meters of tulle to recreate the effect of a Reinassance painting. As she made since the beginnings at Central Saint Martins school, fashion is not only a question of shape, proportions or colors. As she said in this interview, dresses become real artworks, are made with the same matter of dreams.

Caroline Hu PARSONS MFA summer 2018 collection mood board

This is a complicate but wonderful job. When you decided to become a fashion designer and what were the difficulties and best satisfactions during your studies?

I think I always enjoy my design process. I think that the more difficult part is how to focus only one thing and balance the design. Because fashion students always like to put all the thing they know into one project and this looks too surface, so in these years I've tried to focus on one or two things at a time and research/develop deeply one technique. Like my NYFW collection, I focus on fabric design and put my inspiration and my very personal feeling into fabric design.
Caroline Hu PARSONS MFA summer 2018 collection fabrics
What are the major differencies between Central Saint Martins and Parsons School of Fashion?

...difficult  question. I think they are different not only because two different schools. They are in different city. New York is more focus on technique, London is more about attitude and everyone is not afraid to express thinkinsg and feelings, even if lots of people don't like that. I think CSM taught me to be brave and be myself. And New York people care time more efficiently and designer need to know the value of his job and even more about business. Maybe it's not right, I just feel that. But I need to thanks for Parsons Mfa program, our tutor SHELLEY and Joff who very encouraged me to do what I want to do.
Caroline Hu Central Saint Matins "Death project"
Caroline Hu PARSONS MFA collection making of
Every designer has his own method. How is your approach to design process and where do you make reasearch to find inspirations?

I like drawing and take photos when something really inspired me. I think I'm a very emotional person, I alway has a story in my mind, maybe coming from my dreams or maybe just my imaginary. When I working on my collection I need to keep my self energy very positive, if I feel sad it means that I can't make beautiful things today...hahah!
Caroline Hu's Parsons "Protection project"
In your previous final collection for CSM I've seen a great study of ancient costumes mixed with traditional elements. How is your connection with the past and how it affects your style?
For my BA final collection, I was inspired by a movie name "Elizabeth Bathory". She killed hundred of girls and use their blood to keep her young. And she was a real person in history, that's very shocked me. And in that movie she was not just molded into a bad queen, she also a very good mother. She had many faces, was very kind, romantic, while in another side she wasvery evil. I'm always attracted to  mysterious things or person. So I tried to used embroidery to connect all this with my inspiration. But I want my design more contemporary, so I tried to embroidery on plastic bag. Just use cheep materials to made luxury feeling, keeping big volume in my design. 
I alway know that I'm good at textile/fabric design and I like to use color to express my design. Some people like to dig deeper into pattern making. But I like fabric design, also if people don't like too dramatic shape in their daily life. If I had make nice textured fabrics with simple shapes, I think people will like that. Oh see, this is a  very different thinking when I'm in London. There I don't care about other people hate or love about my design, I project just what I want to do. But in NY, I will thinking about who is my customers. Interesting.
Caroline Hu CSM final collection moodboard
Caroline Hu CSM final collection
Caroline Hu CSM final collection
Textile seems really important for you. In what direction are you moving about innovation in this field?
I think I will keep focus on textile/fabric design. I like to learn some traditional technique and recreate it. Like bobbin lace, that's a very old and dedicated lace.
Finding a method in the ancient history is very difficult like to learn how this working, but it still unique, so I want to recreate it and use in my own way to build up a different design language. Even after 50 years when you'll look your wardrobe, you'll still love it because of fabric.
Caroline Hu "Flower project"
Can you describe the inspiration of your summer 2018 graduate collection?

We had a project before. My tutor assigned me a project about a brand named "Brioni" (menswear), they asked me to recreate this brand. This is a very tailored menswear brand. Totally not my style, so I spent long time to research the brand's background, trying to find out something can inspire me and also connect to this brand. So I found that Brioni was founded in Rome in 1945. I researched a lot about Rome city, architecture, history. And it's a very Romantic city. I was deeply touched by it. And I find out that Rome's remains buildings had lots of scaffoldings on top to rebuild or repaired them. So I use the keyword "rebuild" to recreate my fabrics, destroying something to build it again. So finally I find out my texture design. I've continue to develop this texture in my final collection. It's also inspired from Renaissance arts and painting, like those by Bosh.  Every look has different story and color palette but the main keyword is Romanticism. 

Caroline Hu MFA Parsons graduate collection
Your collection is one of the most noted and appreciated by fashion magazines, blogs and surely buyers. How is changing your life and what are your projects for your soon future?

Thank you!! I'm just replying  emails everyday😅 ... you know my english is not very good. Still I need more practice.
Yes, I've already a plan to have next season on 2018. Just keep secret now...hahah

Hi Caroline, thanks to you and your indomitable spirit! We are sure that whatever are your projects your future will be bright because you are really talented!
And dear reader, what do you think about our Caroline Hu? 
Enjoy more fashion stories and info about graduate collections, young designers and avant-garde fashion in our blog, always focused on illustration and inspirations!

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