Meet the region's leading fashion designers A marketing graduate of Boston University, Dorian Ho Kwok-ching has been in the fashion business for more than 12 years. He created his own ready-to-wear line, Doriano, in 1993 and opened about 50 stores on the mainland. In 2000, he sold them to a Chinese competitor to raise capital for an evening range, the Dorian Ho Collection. It made its debut the next year in Australia and New York. Last year, Ho launched a diffusion line, D'Orient by Dorian Ho. His clientele includes the likes of Gigi Leung Wing-kei, Karen Mok Man-wai and Coco Lee. Have you always wanted to be a designer? I've always been interested in beautiful things. A creative career is something I've always wanted. When I was young, I thought of becoming an interior designer or a photo-grapher. But due to my family background, I was destined to work in fashion. How is your company set up? I have an office staff of 12, who are in charge of design, production, merchandising, sales and marketing, administration and finance. I also run a sample room and a production line in Guangzhou, which has more than 100 staff. What's been the biggest influence on your career? My parents. They've been in the garment industry for more than 40 years and taught me how to appreciate clothing. They practically educated me in design. What are you in charge of? Everything from design and production to marketing and administration. My design team is me, two other designers and an assistant. How many lines are there? Besides our tailor service for bridal and evening wear, I have two ready-to-wear lines: Dorian Ho and D'Orient. They're feminine, classic and vintage, yet modern. For tailor-made couture, I offer more vintage styles. My clients see more than just a dress - they see the fairytale behind the dress. Who are your customers? They're sophisticated people looking for a unique design for a special occasion. They include socialites and celebrities wanting dresses for the red carpet. What inspires you? Vintage styling. I'm often inspired by different eras in history, including the Victorian and Russian periods. Audrey Hepburn has also been a major influence. What does your current collection look like? The Dorian Ho collection for spring/summer is called Midnight at the Oasis and is inspired by mystical palaces and exotic opulence. I've captured the ethnic look with designs and silhouettes that express a lavish extravagance. It includes my signature feminine dresses with plunging necklines adorned with beads, pearls and rhinestones. I use delicate fluttering silk chiffon, vibrant-coloured silk satins and taffetas for draped dresses. What makes your business successful? Design is all about innovation, but you also have to cater to market demands. Nowadays, fashion is much more than what you wear. Because of my marketing background, I see fashion from a different angle. Marketing and good PR have played a vital role in the development of my business. Do you design any accessories? I'm working on fur accessories and clutch handbags for events and parties. My clients always inspire me to do more. Where are your designs available? My ready-to-wear lines are available exclusively at Lane Crawford. I also offer a tailor-made service at my showroom. My designs are available all over the world, including Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Britain and the US. How do Asian designers fit into the international fashion market? The view that Asians are more conservative is no longer valid. There are now a lot more westernised Asians. Asian designers are more accepted globally than before. What are your plans? To open my first concept shop. It will maintain the essence of my designs. I want to expand into the bridal market and approach it as a whole concept, including a florist, interior styling and gift registry. What's your motto? I believe there's a time for everything, and everything takes its time. I look forward to every new day.