Dido Liu aims to express the energy of living things and the beauty of nature through her creations. We met the Shanghai-based designer behind the brand deepmoss to discover more about her poetic approach to fashion design.
Tell me about your background and how you became involved in fashion. When and how you realized you wanted to become a fashion designer?
I graduated from Central Saint Martins in London in 2012, and then I returned to China to establish my own brand deepmoss, which is has been going since 5 seasons. Before going to London I took 2 years of design courses in Beijing. Honestly I knew nothing about design at that time. It was a fashion show that I occasionally attend that inspired me to become a designer the atmosphere at the show made me feel like if I was of pulled out of real life. It was not the show itself that impressed me; I even forgot which brand it was, but the magic of the event.
Your creations often evoke romantic atmospheres and inspire a sense of nostalgic elegance. What are your main sources of inspiration?
Nature and art are eternal inspirations. Also the things in my daily life inspire me. I am more and more aware that design is essentially driven by artificial and intentional behaviors. I try to stay away from overdesign because the primal state of things is already perfect, therefore I avoid as much as possible intentional embellishing. Concerning the nostalgic feeling that’s not what I want to convey through my clothing. I’m more focused on communicating subtle “traces”. As I said nature is impeccable. Nothing is brand new in a natural environment. Grains bloom and trees grow by themselves. Washed stones reveal their rough texture; fights leave scars on the animals’ furs. All of these traces are full of life. Therefore when I create, I try to preserve the traces of the working process. For the Spring / Summer 2015 collection, we used the distillation method to extract the natural colors from plants, the pigments left on the parchment placed under plants during the process produced stains, which became the main pattern of the collection. I deliberately left some long threads coming out from the embroideries that ended up looking like tassels, because I think those subtle details bear beauty and it would be a pity to wipe them off.
How would you describe Deepmoss ideal woman?
I imagine a woman who is not afraid to show her feminine nature, she doesn’t need to pretend to be powerful to feel powerful, and I hope that when she wears deepmoss she feels comfortable and enjoys her life.
Your designs always feature very special fabrics and embroideries. How much time do you spend in the research of primal materials? Where do you source the textiles?
So far I manly use fabrics from Japan and Italy. Before starting a new collection I always look for the right fabrics. The entire creative process is based on fabrics, so I’m extremely careful in selecting them and that usually takes me long time. I have also been looking for fabric producers to develop my own fabrics, but honestly it’s not easy in China.
You recently presented your Fall-Winter 2015 /2016 collection at Shanghai Fashion Week. What was the theme of this season?
The theme of the Fall –Winter 2015/2016 is the golden age of illustration. I was inspired by the European printmaking in end of the 19th century. I was deeply inspired by its particular brushwork and texture. In order to reproduce the feeling of thickness I used screen-printing on fluid silks. Also, once the garments were made, I sent them to print folded in random shapes. Unexpected patterns appeared on the final clothes when unfolded, preserving the process’s natural textures.
Who is your favorite designer and why ?
My favorite designers are Yohji Yamamoto and Alexander McQueen. They brought and bring so much beauty to the world. I remember once my best friend Kreuz said, “Beauty is enriching, while fashion is boring.” The works of both designers are pure beauty. I extremely admire their pure and instinctive approach.
What do you think about the current fashion scene in China and in Shanghai?
I think Shanghai is one of the few cities that truly have an international audience, vitality and appeal in China, which is the reason why I choose to showcase there.
Are you planning to show your works in Europe in the future?
Currently China is the major market of deepmoss, I hope in the future to able to bring my designs to more remote places and showing them to a broader audience. I ‘m also working on accepting more strict criticism. The expansion of the business overseas is definitely one my next steps.