Littérateur Turned Haute-Couture Designer Dazzles Observers During New York Fashion Week
Represented by China Fashion Collective.
Featured in Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and leading industry media organs worldwide, Sienna Li, after showing her line at the beautiful Baccarat Hotel and the Jane Ballroom in the past two seasons, took a significant leap forward and presented her breathtaking Spring/Summer 2020 haute-couture collection on September 6th at Pier 59, one of the major venues serving New York Fashion Week.
Sienna’s SS20 collection was inspired by the timeless belief that meteorology and mythology are deeply connected, an elemental symbiosis in multiple civilizations. The visual beauty and powerful forces of weather and climate have long been suggestive both of what is divine and what is evil. In her forthcoming collection, Sienna Li manifests this connection in the realm of fashion, exploring a juxtaposition of those opposing concepts–divinity and evil–shaped by the multifaceted natural beauty of meteorologic phenomena.
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Unlike her previous collections featuring lace and embroidered or printed fabric, Sienna used mostly tulles for her latest creations, utilizing multiple couture-making techniques such as hand-pleating, draping, and Sienna’s unique fabric manipulation, and more. The implementation of extensive handwork creates a sense of liquidity, inspired by and echoing the ever-changing patterns of weather and climate. The hand-pleated textures give life to the garments and suggest vivid movement, such as wind blowing over the surface of water or clouds shifting and changing over time.
Blended hues reflect the colors of the sky: white and black standing for day and night and mixed colors representing the colors of dawn, dusk, a sunny day, storm clouds, etc. The colors and silhouettes are also symbolic of the opposing forces of Good and Evil, rendering the style of this collection at once both fairy-tale and gothic.
Distinct from many of her designer peers, Sienna’s creative philosophy evolved from her knowledge and experiences beyond fashion. In China, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese literature, followed by Master’s in English literature conferred in the UK. Her early studies of narrative accomplishment provided her with a sophisticated, romantic, and creative perspective not merely on writing, but pertaining also to art and fashion. Upon graduation, Sienna worked as a full-time journalist in London for China Daily, China’s largest English-language newspaper, where she interviewed a distinguished array of talented artists and fashion designers who eventually inspired her, in terms of personal passion, to switch gears to the fashion track.
“Fashion is not completely alien to literature. My life has changed from reading and writing to seeing and making,” Sienna explains. “Practical techniques were altered to a different field. Essentially, however, there’s no big difference between the two fields as humanity and as art.”
Bearing this passion in her heart, not long after winding down her journalistic responsibilities, Sienna was accepted by Central Saint Martins before enrolling in Parsons New School of Design. Her unique educational background has provided her with proficiency in design, patternmaking, and manufacturing. She refined her expertise and business sense employed later by the renowned design studio operated by Jason Wu and Johnathan Cohen.
Distilling classic romance to reflect a modern sensibility, Sienna creates upscale, ready-to-wear and custom-made couture that welcome ladies to enter the designer’s delightful and graceful aesthetic world. With imaginative designs featuring original construction, silhouette and finishing, Sienna Li fashions deliver unexpected beauty, celebrating tasteful stylishness with an engaging light sense of mystery.
Sienna describes herself as someone who stubbornly sticks to what she’s drawn to and who retains full integrity in her own spiritual realm. The way she focuses on design is the same as she used to be in literature. As fast-paced as the ever-changing world of fashion can be, Sienna’s design, however, always pursues Timeless Beauty.
In a utilitarian sense, Sienna sees herself as an entrepreneur before fashion designer, in that she experiences a multitude of practical, down-to-earth challenges every day. She recognized from the outset and still acknowledges that to excel as a fashion designer, one needs to be an entrepreneur first with a solid, credible business mindset.
“Fashion may seem to be one of the most fancy industries, but running a successful business in fashion can be as cutthroat as any competitive industry, if not more.” Sienna noted. “And for me, I have the same challenges faced by any entrepreneur. The challenge is to run my company as a promising business without sacrificing the collections from being artistically creative. Multi-tasking is my best friend.”
The Sienna Couture line engages and influences women who wish to present themselves in the most elegant light, striking yet subtly beautiful, whether at a gala or on a red carpet. Yet Sienna knows that haute couture is never for everyone, thus her Sienna Li Epic line was born—a sister brand attuned more to daily-wear occasions and more affordable.
“Haute couture is always a luxury that few can afford, and I don’t want that—so I hope Sienna Li Epic will bring true and affordable fashion into more people’s lives, and more aspiring women like myself can feel and touch fashion every day. That’s my dream.”
The new line of Sienna Li Epic will hit the market very soon—by the end of 2019.