Internationally renowned couturier Andrew Gn presented a two-day trunk show in Vancouver’s most engaging retail space, Leisure Center. With a selection of over 150 pieces from his Spring/Summer 2018 Collection, PreFall 2018, and a limited amount from Fall/Winter 2018 (which debuted at Paris Fashion Week last March).
In person, Andrew Gn is warm, robust, with sparkling eyes, and infectious wit. A relieving about-face to his brooding dark portraits which more often than not features a torso engulfing black turtleneck—which only serves to accentuate the seriousness of his gaze. This day he was in all black wearing his favourite Harajuku branded tee’s, skinny jeans, and understated studded loafers.
Leisure Center had created a private showroom in the lower level of their immense space which was abundant with florals and greenery. From 11 am each morning, guests were greeted with a personalized selection of Champagne, tea, cold pressed juices, and sweets, and the opportunity to work with Andrew personally for style, fit, and wardrobe recommendations.
Their selections were presented on models and choices boxed. Pieces from the Fall/Winter Collection were ordered and will be created especially for the purchaser.
You are one of the few luxury designers who embrace the ‘trunk show.’ What is it that attracts you to this mode of meeting your clients?
I’m very curious by nature, and always interested in meeting personally the women who wear my clothing, in order to understand their lifestyles and their needs.
How many trunk shows do you attend each year?
Very few, mostly with retailers with whom we have a special relationship, for instance, Bergdorf Goodman or Leisure Center.
Which city do you anticipate visiting each year and why?
New York, San Francisco, Chicago, London, and now VANCOUVER! These are cities where we have developed a strong following.
As this is your first trunk show in Vancouver, can you tell me how you became aware of our city and what convinced you to add it to your already full roster?
Yes! My first time in Vancouver, I’m thrilled to discover your city, about which I’ve heard such praise! I have a very unique relationship with Mason and Muyun, the founders of Leisure Center. I like their fashion sense, their unconventional approach, and the inventive way they mix brands. I absolutely wanted to see their spectacular new store.
About the Spring/Summer Collection:
In an interview with Vogue Magazine, you said that you have been incorporating more street influences into your work. This collection is obviously influenced by Asian streetwear. Do you remember what it was that first caught your eye and tweaked your interest?
When I was a youngster, stopping over in Tokyo to visit my grand-mother in Kyoto, I remember watching all the fashion kids in Harajuku with their fabulously creative attire and colors. That did catch my eye!
What are your feelings on the American streetwear movement into luxury and do you think you may incorporate any elements into future collections?
Streetwear is great for everyday’s life. However, there’s a time for elegance and refinement as well. It is interesting to see how some designers who started with streetwear are seeking to upgrade their collections towards a more sophisticated client.
The boldness of colour in S/S 18 is refreshing. Did you set-out to have as much colour blocking as was in the final runway pieces?
I love colors. Bold or subdued, that depends on my mood or the season. Referring to Harajuku in my SS18, it had to be bold…
Were there any special techniques that you incorporated into the collection that you hadn’t used before?
Throughout all my collections, I have expressed my passion for beautiful, intricate hand-work. In our tech world, I think this is the ultimate luxury. I’m constantly working with my ateliers in search of new or forgotten techniques.
What was the most challenging piece to realize? What was the challenge?
The pink cape (last runway look). It is embroidered with 48 different types or sizes of fabric flowers, all of them hand-crafted and applied one by one. Extremely time-consuming, but what a stunning piece…
About the Fall/Winter Collection:
With the inspiration of love triangles in movies starring Catherine Deneuve, the collection is sexual yet very subtle. Did you have to restrain yourself to maintain a balance? Was there a time when you felt perhaps you should push it a little more?
I believe that you’re at your best when you stay true to yourself. When I design, I let myself be guided by my unconscious mind and gut-feeling. Therefore never feel the need for restraining or controlling.
The colour palette for a Fall/Winter collection could be described as ‘startling’ for those unfamiliar with your embracement of all things opulent. Was there an inspiration to the unconventional shades of purple, coral, and pastels that were incorporated?
Part of that collection was inspired by Italian Renaissance “Pietra Dura”, whence its amethyst purples, Malachite greens, and coral reds. I’ve added deep prunes, dusty pinks, cornflower blues, and crimson reds, which I drew inspiration from Old Masters paintings of the same period.
If Catherine Deneuve gave you carte blanche to create a look for her, what would be your immediate thoughts on colour and fabrics?
I feel black suits best her inscrutable and sometimes unsettling beauty. I would see her in a simple, voluptuous, close-fitting black crepe dress.
The Pre-Fall collection has a delightful light-hearted side but subtle with grown-up sophistication. What was your inspiration for such a citrus-y palette?
PreFall 18 was a continuation of Summer 18, with a beautiful color palette inspired by Japanese kimonos from the Edo-Period. The theme was “Jackie O in Tokyo”. I’m particularly proud of that blue to citrus degradé brocade woven in France on traditional looms with ancient techniques.
It has been written that the kimono fabrics and the floral designs were influenced by your Japanese grandmother and your penchant for collecting antiques. Please share how your grandmother has influenced this collection and what is the latest item that you have added to your personal antiques collection?
My grandmother was a very elegant woman. Her uniform was either beautiful traditional kimonos or pastel tweed suits from Chanel. I dedicated my Winter 18 collection to her.
My most recent – and beloved – acquisition is a pair of wall sconces in the shape of mermaids, by famous mid-century modern French ceramist Georges Jouve. Maybe I’ll soon design a collection inspired by fairy tales and sea creatures…
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at email@example.com.
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