Per week in the past, Robert Wun’s studio within the Dalston space of East London was buzzing with exercise, because the designer ready to stage a present for the primary time ever — at Paris high fashion week, no much less. Eight years after the launch of his namesake label, Wun had been invited to shut the week as a visitor of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. However as ending touches had been being placed on a dramatic black quilted down cape and a gold lamé costume with panels of ruffles, Wun nonetheless could not fairly imagine it was taking place.
Chanel’s style president Bruno Pavlovsky had agreed to sponsor Wun’s software whereas mentoring the designer after his ANDAM Prix Spécial win final 12 months. “That is when actuality actually began to hit,” says Wun, “however I used to be nonetheless saying to my staff: ‘It may not occur; the opposite members may not need it.’ [The Fédération] had extra confidence in me than I did.”
It is taken time for the Hong Kong-born designer to search out his groove after working for years on the fringes of mainstream style, weighed down by imposter syndrome and exhibiting his collections in wholesale showrooms with little to no fanfare.
“I began my model crafting items by hand in my bed room in Brixton,” recollects Wun. “There was no enterprise technique. It took years to see how I may slot in and the place I needed to be.”
Wun wasn’t chosen for the graduate press present at London Faculty of Trend, the place he studied, nor was he a part of London’s NewGen or Trend East younger designer assist schemes. “I used to be by no means a part of that gang,” he says.
It was the pressures of the pandemic and the dying of his grandmother that spurred Wun to undertake a do-or-die angle, leading to a set referred to as “Armour,” launched in April 2021 through a easy, iPhone-lensed lookbook. With clear nods to the work of Wun’s designer hero, Alexander McQueen, there was a palpable sense of grief within the line’s knife-sharp pleats, neoprene-bonded lace-up corsets and straps.
The gathering gained quick traction on Instagram, prompting Wun to pivot his enterprise away from wholesale, making customized items for personal shoppers at £15,000 to £200,000 every. His work by him has since been worn by Solange, Celine Dion, Priyanka Chopra and Cardi B, serving to him to construct a wholesome shopper roster, primarily within the US and the Center East.
“These prospects could have their measurements already from different manufacturers and we’ll work with their stylists or assistants on getting the match proper. They’re fairly understanding of newcomers like myself or Sohee [Park] and so they’re excited to get one thing extra uncommon from new couturiers.” (South Korea-born, London-based Sohee Park’s Miss Sohee label made its personal Paris debut, albeit off-schedule, earlier this week).
Wun is vocal about not wanting his Chinese language heritage to vary the way in which his work is judged. “They need us in a bunch to tick a field,” he says. “At any time when a ‘POC’ designer is talked about, it is at all times with this story of battle. You’ll by no means ask Christopher Kane about being Scottish on a regular basis. My heritage is private and my very own.”
His personal vulnerability is nonetheless the central theme of the gathering that he’ll present on the Hôtel d’Évreux on Place Vendôme tonight. Attire will include what appears like cigarette burns and pink wine stains. Sneakers with perspex wedges include damaged heels hanging on the again. A pearl necklace is smashed and scattered throughout a robe. There isn’t any couture bride; as a substitute a hooded black quilted cape dotted with feathers will shut the present.
“Concern itself is the inspiration,” says Wun. “It is like a timestamp of me understanding and remembering the method of doing my first present and overcoming my insecurity.”
Wun is intimately conscious of his label’s limitations. “I am by no means going to be a £200 million enterprise or see a great deal of individuals on the road carrying Robert Wun. I do not design that method,” he says. “What we do right here is de facto private. Being grateful can be essential. I’ve discovered that simply as issues come to you shortly, it may all go away right away.”