How a Chinese fantasy film inspired Vivienne Tam’s latest collection

Hong Kong designer’s surprise collaboration with blockbuster animation Monster Hunt brings a yin-yang spring-summer collection of romantic, feminine creations and boxy military jackets to New York Fashion Week

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 September, 2017, 4:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 September, 2017, 4:03pm

Designer Vivienne Tam found surprising inspiration for her latest spring summer collection – a Chinese animated film and its radish-shaped lead character.

“I liked the Monster Hunt movie a lot when I first saw it. The character Wuba is so cool and adorable. It talks about the values of family, hope and love and friendship, which I really loved,” Tam says.

Not only was her collection in part inspired by the visuals in the 2015 blockbuster; a cute Wuba character strutted the catwalk at New York Fashion Week alongside Tam’s models for her show’s finale.

Tam explained how the fantasy film, inspired by an ancient Chinese book of mountains and water, influenced her designs: “The landscape and scenery in the film was so beautiful, so I was really inspired by this in my collection. Colours were nature-inspired with plenty of soft blues and greens and floaty, ethereal dresses underscored the light and lovely aesthetic of Spring Summer 2018.”

Ruffled dresses and details gave the line a romantic flair and easy, comfortable silhouettes dominated the look.

“The collection was very soft, feminine – reflecting a sense of fantasy and a fairy tale dreamland, but I had these military boxy jackets to balance it out and create this yin and yang feeling,” Tam says.

Hong Kong designer Vivienne Tam first China stores to open

The connections between the film and the designer go deeper. Tam and Monster Hunt producer Bill Kong (of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon fame) have known each other for years. And Tam has long admired the work of director Raman Hui (a DreamWorks veteran who worked on Shrek) – Hui and Tam are both graduates of Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

This may not be the last time we see Chinese films, or indeed other collaborations, influencing fashion in New York – certainly not Tam’s. “Of course I’d love to partner more with different talented Chinese creatives in different industries. I love these kind of collaborations. There’s so much you can learn from different fields,” she says.

Monster Hunt 2 is due for release in early 2018.