Malaysian designer Bernard Chandran was a shy kid. You might not believe it of the designer-slash-media personality whose slinky silhouettes and glam touches have made him a favourite with celebrities in search of camera appeal. His more sedate moments have made it into the wardrobes of the royal families of both Malaysia and Brunei. And he is also something of a familiar face in Malaysia where he appears on television in the local version of Project Runway.
Chandran, who shows collections at international fashion weeks, initially trained as a designer in Malaysia having decided early that he wanted a career creating fashion. His precocious talent earned him a place at the Paris Fashion School and there followed a number of years honing his talents working for established Paris-based brands. In the mid 1990’s, he opened his first store in Kuala Lumpur.
Chandran’s fierce umbrella silhouettes with accentuated shoulders of recent seasons are characteristic and have appealed to a number of celebrities wishing to make a bold statement. Known for his use of a classic French chic fashion language incorporating Asian influences, often with a tongue-in-cheek use of Orientalist clichés and imagery, Chandran’s current SS10 season sees him showing looser, more flowing shapes than the tightly nipped structures of recent collections. The Oriental touches are still there – in fact, the high camp influences are far from singular; everything from Club Tropicana Mardi Gras girls to Japanese koi- drawn together in a restrained palette of champagne golds and platinum metallics, perfect for the changeable temperatures of Summer.
But for those who are a fan of Chandran’s svelte extreme silhouettes, have no fear: they will be back in AW10. His collection shown during February London Fashion Week was positively swimming in a black 1940’s suited sensibility; think of Sean Young in Bladerunner taught some new tricks by Mugler and Margiela’s 1980’s exercises in extremity with women’s shoulders.
30 May 2010