A little rain can't wash away the surprises for fashion designer

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2008, 12:00am

Fashion designer Daniella Issa Helayel is used to surprises. 'The first time I came to Hong Kong, in 1997, there was a typhoon No9,' she recalled. That's why the black rainstorm on Saturday was no big deal. That afternoon, the Brazilian founder of the Issa London label, along with her Hong Kong associate Victoria Tang (pictured), held a private sale at Kou Concept. However, Helayel was still getting over the happy surprise that one of her creations is worn by the Kristin Davis character Charlotte in the new screen version of Sex and the City.

'I had no idea,' she confessed. 'They took some samples in New York but we didn't know they were going to use it in the movie. It's funny. That dress has been worn by a lot of people, including Scarlett Johansson and Hilary Swank, since we made it exactly two years ago in June of 2006.'

Helayel spends close to two months of the year in China, which she says has a lot to do with her 31/2-year-old label's rapid rise. Part of it is because of the material and manufacturing, and partly it's because associates such as Tang are based here. 'Victoria and I met in London through common friends. She's a very smart girl and she's helping us in a lot of areas like packaging and branding. She's very unspoiled, too.'

Despite their glamorous business, it seems both women are grounded enough to handle regular travel to Hangzhou to oversee the factory works. 'The first time I was in mainland China, I spent a month there by myself. I don't know how I survived. I'm vegetarian, so I ate vegetable curry and rice every day.'