Neue Luxury is a global dialogue on luxury in the 21st century.

Neue Luxury

Luxury

 

 

Each season we are sold a new fashion look. What was coveted one season is relegated to the back of one’s wardrobe the next. But Melbourne-based designer Lui Hon sees fashion as evolution, not revolution. Hon’s approach to fashion has seen his work featured in galleries, both in Melbourne at the Lesley Kehoe Galleries and in The Fuller Building, New York.

SOFTLY SPOKEN
Like his beautifully crafted clothes, fashion designer Lui Hon chooses his words carefully. There are no large arm gestures, as are often seen in this industry, only thoughtful responses to each question. Hon, of Chinese-Malaysian descent, arrived in Melbourne in 1999, intent on pursuing a career in fashion. His father, a salesmen, and his mother, a patternmaker in a clothing factory, were against this career choice. His father thought fashion was a career for females to pursue, while his mother, through her own experience, put fashion in the ‘too hard basket’.

FOLLOWING ONE’S INSTINCTS
Hon’s portfolio was accepted by RMIT University’s School of Fashion, which must have disappointed his parents. “You have to follow your instincts. It’s something you feel deeply inside,” says Hon, whose need to explore body and form was initially realised by exhibiting at RMIT’s First Site Gallery upon graduation in 2001. The cavernous gallery featured Hon’s graduate collection as part of a performance piece with dancer Meredith Lewis, who wore his designs and was captured on film. Hon’s honours year project at RMIT in 2003 was equally insightful. With the music of Icelandic band Sigur Ros, Hon lay naked on the floor using the movements of his body to inform possible garments.

PROJECT RUNWAY
However, artistic collaborations are usually at odds with the commercial world. Stints in retail occupied Hon for the next few years, working in high-fashion boutiques, while slowly attracting a small private cliental for his bespoke designs. In 2008, reality called, with Hon being included in the Project Runway series on Foxtel’s Reality Channel. “It was like fashion boot camp,” says Hon, recalling the isolation of being placed in a room and given numerous tasks to complete by midnight to be presented to a jury the next day. “It was all about the look, rather than the quality of each garment. A crudely glued hem or a sheared off edge didn’t mean elimination,” says Hon.

PERSONALITIES RATHER THAN FASHION
While Hon didn’t win the competition, the reality television show provided insight into the commercial side of the fashion industry, featuring quick turn-around disposable fashion. “It taught me that a garment has to be flattering the moment it’s presented.” Unfortunately, the experience also made him question his own personality, “I don’t have a large TV personality. I’m relatively shy in front of a camera.” Hon should have taken solace that some of the world’s greatest fashion designers have reflective personalities. Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo are likewise unlikely to use large body gestures or ‘kiss the air’ at fashion events.

ESTABLISHING A BUSINESS
Hon started his own label a year later in 2009, still reflective, but with greater confidence in where he was heading. He started producing two collections each year. In 2010 Luka Maich came on board as business and branding development manager. “I have a banking background, but I’ve always been drawn to fashion.” My mother’s label (New Zealand), The Case is Altered, was part of my life from the 1970s through to the 1990s,” says Maich. “At that point, Lui was getting help from everyone, but no one, if you looked at the business plan at that time. Clothes need to be beautiful, but the reality is they also need to find a buyer,” he adds.

Continue Reading
Neue Luxury • Issue 2 • Fashion • Feature • BY Stephen Crafti SHARE

Related Features

    44
  • Neue Luxury • Issue 2 • Fashion • Feature • BY Brett Phillips SHARE

    SIX DIMENSIONS OF LUXURY

    Connecting with the next generation of luxury consumers

    Since the beginning of this century luxury brands have re-defined how they communicate and engage with their audiences. Having long grappled with the changing beliefs of their traditional customers, the emergence of a new and unique generation of luxury consumers has changed the playing field entirely.

  • 37
  • Neue Luxury • Issue 2 • Fashion • Feature • BY Stephen Crafti SHARE

    Stephen Jones

    Thinking seasons ahead

    Pinning down a time to speak with Stephen Jones isn’t easy. As soon as he returns from Fashion Week in Paris, he sets off for Japan, literally with no time in between. But when you start to compile a list of the world’s leading fashion designers he collaborates with, patience is obviously required.

  • 34
  • Neue Luxury • Issue 2 • Fashion • Feature • BY Dan Thawley SHARE

    FOLIE À PLUSIEURS

    Perfumes with a methodical madness

    There are few sensations that speak to our collective consciousness the way perfume does—its fragile, ephemeral nuances conjuring both fantasy and memory in our minds and bodies, with layered possibilities shifting between the wearer and those who share their personal space.

Share this