Fashion designer, Jade Chiu, (pictured top left) recently completed a line of stylish and innovative belts based on the Zodiac. Each of her twelve belts corresponds to an animal in Chinese astrology and she even cast her runway models according to each of their animal signs.
"Surprisingly, they match their own character so well," she told me in a recent interview, there's "monkey-girl, piggy-girl, rabbit-girl... and each girl feels... bonded to their own zodiac belt." The qualities expressed in each belt vary according to the different animal motifs Jade uses. Themes such as fur, skin, shape & color blended with the alchemy of Jade's fashion sense create a metamorphosis of materials that express human qualities like "elegant, humorous, funky, kinky, and punk."
She says,"people who are interested in what I do are usually artistic... my work provokes their thought." If her work is provocative that's because it is intricate and complex; multi-layered in meaning and dramatic in the way she combines materials. In some instances she has used "metallic[s]combined with short irregular fur, and pearls in glass." Of this she says, "I found their impossibility contradicted yet, a harmony."
"People who see my works they see my life." Memories in each of us make certain materials meaningful. That's how something like a belt can spark emotion in the creator and wearer. "I carry my memories and emotion in to my works like a ritual." Drawing is another artistic ritual for her; a form of self-reflection. "Every time I feel down and frustrated in life I go back to my illustration." Through drawing, she says, she can "release frustration, through color, stroke and distortion." When she is finally satisfied with a piece, she "can forget and forgive what [she]was frustrated about."
Artistic ability is in her family as well. On her website Jade reports: "My grandfather was a photographer and an art teacher. He followed Chaing Kei Shek's fleet to Taiwan to start a family. I feel that so much of me is inherited from him. Although he never saw my work, I hope that he looks down upon me and is proud."
Photographer. Alex Zhang
Models: (Middle Left) L to R, Cass Cheng as snake; Marie Thibault as rabbit; Charmaine Waldrop as rat (Bottom Left) Lei Zhang as tiger.