Exclusive: Adrian Cheng on Bringing Haute Couture to Hong Kong
This December, K11 Art and Culture Centre in Hong Kong's Victoria Dockside will host a brand new exhibition of haute couture and prêt-à-porter. Savoir Faire: The Mastery of Craft in Fashion will showcase works from Balenciaga, Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Iris van Herpen, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford and Valentino, plus one-of-a-kind pieces from Carine Roitfeld’s private collection. Tatler spoke to New World Development CEO Adrian Cheng about how bringing haute couture to Hong Kong marries with his mission to rejuvenate the cultural landscape of the city.
In case you missed it: Adrian Cheng and Carine Roitfeld to Join Forces for New Hong Kong Haute Couture Exhibition
How did you come up with the idea for this exhibition and event, and how did you begin working with Carine?
We started working with Carine in 2020 and it has been our shared passion for creativity and craftsmanship that inspired our idea for this exhibition. We have the same vision to connect people and different cultures through fashion and appreciation for artisanship. We hope that by bringing amazing pieces from internationally renowned fashion houses to Asia, we will do just that. I have always been dedicated to making art and culture more accessible to everyone. Carine, who is an iconic fashion editor and stylist, does the same by making fashion and style come to life for people worldwide.
While making K11 Original Masters, our online webinar series, we realized the importance of conserving and restoring fast-disappearing craftsmanship techniques and doing what we can to ensure those skills are not forgotten. We believe that preserving history and tradition is vital because it is only by looking to the past that we can learn how to develop and innovate for the future. We hope that the exhibition inspires and delights people through the appreciation of beauty and craftsmanship.
What is the significance of bringing this range of couture to Hong Kong?
Carine and I are excited to bring this multi-brand fashion exhibition to Asia for the first time. Hong Kong is an important cultural centre globally and has always acted as a bridge between East and West. We hope this exhibition can be a unique cultural fusion of Chinese and European craftsmanship, and also act as an inspiration for the next generation, motivating them to pursue artisanship and beauty in their own lives. I hope this unprecedented exhibition can rejuvenate the overall cultural landscape of Hong Kong.
How does couture relate to your own focus on craftsmanship and artisans?
The exhibition highlights the mastery of crafts in fashion, which is a perfect echo of what we have done with K11 Craft & Guild Foundation (KCG) since 2018. I founded KCG in 2018 as a non-profit arts and cultural foundation in Hong Kong, which is Asia’s first and unique creative platform for cultural contemplation focusing on conserving and preserving Chinese traditional craftsmanship.
KCG is offering a platform for artisans to tell their own stories through cascading their timeless techniques. And we are exploring ways to make every technique sustainable, for example, applying traditional techniques in modern designs. Young generations welcome this kind of crossover and are willing to invest in it. The aim of KCG is to bring these crafts to the next generation and do it in a sustainable way that supports these unique artisans. Couture is a typical example of this kind of application.
What are you most excited about sharing with the public through this exhibition?
In this exhibition, we are showing rare and masterful works from renowned fashion houses and avant-garde designers, along with some of Carine’s never-before-seen private collections. We will also have 12 rare artefacts from the K11 Craft & Guild Foundation which will be on display for the first time. It is a unique crossover between East and West on the theme of savoir-faire. I hope it can inspire more cultural collaboration in the future.
Produced by CR Studios, Savoir-Faire: The Mastery of Craft in Fashion will be on view from December 13 to February 14, 2022 at the K11 art & Culture Centre, at K11 Musea. Additional information is available here.