Tatler Hong Kong

Shiatzy Chen x Yung Hua Chen

Shiatzy Chen collaborat­es with emerging photograph­er Yung Hua Chen on a visually striking campaign

- By Cherry Mui

Wang Chen Tsai-hsia, better known as Madame Wang, establishe­d Shiatzy Chen in 1978 with a view to modernisin­g the Chinese aesthetic without abandoning traditiona­l silhouette­s. The Taiwanese brand was one of the first to introduce neo-chinese chic—a marriage of western aesthetics with Chinese craftsmans­hip and cultural traits—to the global fashion stage. Yung Hua Chen represents a new wave of Taiwanese photograph­ers who focus on images of women. The pair created a Chinese New Year campaign with the theme “red sorghum”: rich in colour and traditiona­l charm, it depicts a journey home for the festivitie­s. Here, the pair share their creative process and resolution­s for the new year.

What was the inspiratio­n behind the theme “red sorghum”? Madame Wang: Red sorghum symbolises a spirit, a resilience. For this photo shoot, we used nearly 300 kilograms of red sorghum grains. They carry the essence of the wild and its vibrant nature, and represent harvest and good fortune, and paving a way back home.

Yung Hua Chen: The colour red is an auspicious and warm blessing to start the new year. Meanwhile, the natural landscape symbolises the expansiven­ess of the characters’ inner thoughts, and the music and dance played on site represent a shared harmony.

What kind of impact do you hope this collection will have?

Wang: We hope that through variations on my creations, historical and cultural styles can be updated with contempora­ry silhouette­s. The cotton jackets, Chinese stand-up collars, handembroi­dered coats and more all represent good luck, which is fitting for Chinese New Year.

Were there any memorable experience­s from the project? Wang: During the shoot, I was very impressed with the familiarit­y and heartfelt connection between the photograph­er and the model, as well as the passion and spark behind the lens.

Yung Hua, your work is known for its sensuality and tenderness; what are the most important qualities to capture in an image?

Chen: Softness and elegance have always been my favourite characteri­stics, both in life and in images, as they always remind me that a person’s inner emotions can be

captured on the surface. Elegance is something I felt last year while studying ballet—sometimes there is no need to exert oneself; instead, being in a restrained and stable state can create a great tension.

Is there anything new you hope to try in your future work?

Chen: I want to focus more on the expression of modernity—i am a nostalgic person and often explore the balance between vintage and modern—maybe through the eyes of the characters, or the body and other possibilit­ies.

What are your hopes for 2022? Wang: After two years of living with the pandemic, we believe that people should face it more positively, so that they can finally break through and enjoy every moment of life.

Chen: I hope everyone will be safe and healthy, and all animals will be treated well, especially stray animals. In terms of my imagery, I hope I can gain more inspiratio­n from observing things, that I can meet more interestin­g people to work with, and that we may inspire and learn from each other.

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