Bernard Chandran is one of Malaysia’s top fashion designers and the first non-European to win the Open European Contest for Look of the Year back in 2000. He has built a loyal client base – some of which even include members of Malaysia’s royal family, as well as international stars, such as Lady Gaga and Tori Amos. Working to clothe such a prestigious and high-powered clientele is something that has served to inspire and, to an extent, influence Bernard’s design athletics. In an interview with Idol magazine, Bernard described the central figure of his collections as ‘a confident woman who is always ahead of time. I want them to feel effortless, yet look good and feel comfortable.’ In his AW14 show we see that this notion is something that is inherent to his work.
The Barnard Chandran AW14 collection is characterised by dark leather tailoring, strong – yet undeniably feminine – silhouettes and bold block colouring. Every garment strives to be a statement piece, with flute skirted leather dresses paired with heeled, open-toe knee-high boots. Nods to masculine tailoring featured throughout with knee-length dresses detailed with mock-pockets and lapels. His AW14 outerwear comprised of box-cut leather jackets and cape, which were often styled with cropped tight leather trousers and high-heeled ankle boots.
Noctis caught up with the esteemed designer after the show - who was an absolute delight to talk to. In our short interview, Bernard spoke animatedly about the type of woman who personifies his designs…
Hi Bernard! Congratulations on another amazing collection! We loved the contrast between models’ nude make-up and slick hair against the masculine inspired leather tailoring, why did you decide to make this distinction?
‘She has such powerful clothing that we wanted to use less tricks on the face, giving the models a really clean look with slicked back hair. But when you really look at the hair it is a lot of effort - effort that ultimately is made to look effortless. Everything should appear to be effortless, like she didn’t really spend much time on it – but in reality she is aware.’
Why did you decide to use leather in many of your tailored ‘suit’ ensembles?
‘I always work with patterns and cutting. I inspire my own work, I thought “this season why don’t I do tailoring?” I though “how would I do tailoring and what would my clients like to wear?” I work with my clients personally so I understand what women would want. So, I give them the tailoring but it is an Illusion. They are not men. This is why I give the illusion of a three piece suit, this is why you see the lapels and the pockets – they are illusions of the lapels and pockets. The whole thing is about inner strength; my clients set the president and my woman’s strength lies in her awareness.’