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The Shanghai Kid

LU Kun has been called 'The Galliano of China' and fairly recently 'The Next Tom Ford'--although he would prefer being called The Shanghai Kid.

He states his observance of a double standard for Asian designers in light of being given such taglines. But whatever title he's been coined by every fashion journalist who's succumed to the buzz he's created, it all just comes down to one thing: the real talent this Diane Fay member and Fashion Wonder Boy posseses.

Profile
FULL NAME: LU Kun
PLACE OF BIRTH: Shanghai, PRC
AGE: 26
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Shanghai
FAMILY: LU Family of Bao Shan
EDUCATION: Fashion Design Degree from Er Qing No. 2 Technical College, Shanghai

Who among the people youve designed clothes for do you think best showcased your creations?
Until now the lady who has best showcased my designs has been Paris Hilton. She is a very strong woman who pays attention to the opinion of others, but makes her own mind and lives her own life. Many people have negative things to say about her, but I only have positive things to say. She is caring, tender, playful and incredibly easy to work with.

What does being Shanghainese mean to you in relation to your designs?
Shanghai glamour is very a critical element in my designs. I try to capture the present and historical essence of Shanghai avoiding at all costs the kitsch. In the 1930's and 40's Shanghai was a vibrant and exciting city. The people in Shanghai were perceived as elegant, glamorous and sexy and most wearing local fashion. I want to bring that back. I want to be the local alternative to ladies who wish to be glamorous. I don't want it to stay in Shanghai, though. I also want to bring that Shanghai glamour to the world.

Tell us about the core inspiration for your work? Where does it come from?
Shanghai is quite important to me, but the core of my inspiration is actually the Shanghainese woman.

If you were to choose a tag-line for yourself, what will it be?
If I were to choose a tag-line I would call myself "The Shanghai Kid." I don't really like to be compared to other designers as they have their own styles and I have my own. I do not idolize any famous designer and the one that I actually like, for example Elsa Schiaparelli, are not so well known to many.

Do you feel theres a double standard for Asian talents like you?
Absolutely there is double standard for Asian talent, but especially in Asia. Mainly people in Asia call me the 'Galliano of China' while in Europe and the US actually don't. It is unfortunate to say that Asians pay little attention to their home-grown talent and when they go shopping prefer to support European and American brands instead. This is quite puzzling as Asia is the largest market for high-end American and European brands. Very few Asian fashion brands have made it into the international fashion world like Issey Miyake or Kenzo, but they became famous in Asia after they were recognized in Europe. I find this puzzling because the French and Italians like to support their own brands first, but Asians unfortunately don't follow this example.

Tell us about your stint with Americas Next Top Model.
Working with the producers of ANTM was quite nice as they are very professional. Dealing with the model contestants was a different thing. I was not surprised to hear that the models thought I was quite tough with them, but that is how I am. I am a perfectionist. I have a good relationship to the producers and am considering using some of the past season contestants in my show in New York either this fall or next spring.

What can we expect from the Lu Kun brand in the next few years?
It is my dream to have my brand become an international success. We are now negotiating with a few European distributors in order to enter high-end boutiques and department stores in Brussels, London, Paris and Berlin. We have began discussions with some distributors in New York as well. I am sure that in the future my stores will be able to open next to Chanel, Dior and others and compete at the same level.

For more information on Lu Kun and his designs visit www.iqons.com/lu+kun

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