01 Saena Chun; 02-04 Various pieces from Saena's Eponymous label, a line that is almost exclusively dresses and celebrates classical romance and femininity.
Friday Q&A: Saena Chun
Saena Chun started her eponymous label in 2009, a line that is almost exclusively dresses and celebrates classical romance and femininity. Her dedication to making women look and feel beautiful has been attracting fans from across Europe and Asia, who are drawn to the sensuousness of her fabrics and the soft sexiness of her designs.
Chun studied fashion design in Seoul before moving to Paris to study at ESMOD. She has worked for Celine, Chloé and Sonia Rykiel and is now based in Berlin, where she produces two collections a year. She showcased her work at last year’s Berlin Fashion Week and on the runway at this year’s Future Fashion Now event, part of the Audi Fashion Festival in Singapore.
Name: Saena Chun
When did you decide to study fashion?
I decided to study fashion when I was 20, but it was more about the marketing or fashion industries. It was when I was in Paris that I developed my passion for elegant women’s fashion.
What serves as your inspiration when you are designing a dress?
Very feminine and romantic mood photos, images and music are always inspiring me, especially the work of Sarah Moon. I’m inspired by the dresses of 1920s Europe and all the works of Madeleine Vionnet. And also the women whom I see in the streets, very often the Parisiennes. Sometimes they have a really great allure – they play a good part in my inspiration.
Tell us about your favourite dress.
My favourite dress actually always changes, but for the moment it is a black chiffon layered dress from my new collection. The dress is made of transparent fabric and has a lot of layers so it plays beautifully with see-through effects in the movement.
You mentioned your admiration for Sarah Moon. Tell us why you admire her. Have you worked with her?
When I saw her photo album for the first time, I was just so touched that I kept that inspired feeling for a while. Her work is romantic, dreamy and shows amazing feminine charm. For me, every single photograph is meaningful. Then I thought that it would be great if I could transfer this emotion to other people through my dresses. No, she has not photographed my work, but it would be an honour for me to work with her.
You often collaborate with other artists. What do you learn from these collaborations?
Working with other artists helps me to see my work in another context. And this is also inspiring.
Do you have any plans to leave Berlin?
No, not for the moment, but one day.
What do you miss about Korea?
Thanks to all the developments in technology, I can have a lot of Korean stuff even though I live in a European country. For example, I call my family almost every day, read Korean books with my iPhone, watch Korean TV whenever I want and order Korean ingredients from the internet. But still I miss a lot of things from Korea: holiday events with my family, small Korean snack bars, jjimjilbang [Korean sauna], karaoke time with friends, night shopping in Dongdaemun, a cup of tea with my old friends.
What is your greatest career achievement so far?
The show I made in Singapore [in May] was my debut catwalk show in Asia, so I can mark this without hesitation as a one of the greatest moments in my career. It was also a really great period when I had some work experience at big fashion houses in Paris, especially when I was working at Sonia Rykiel. I had the chance to design the final dresses for the S/S2008 catwalk show. After the show, I was so touched that I almost cried. I think it was the first moment when it came to my mind that I actually only want to make dresses.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to get closer to more people in the world to show my dresses. The next plan is to present the new collection, S/S2013, in Paris in September. My collection is a wardrobe of dresses for every woman of every age. In the future, I want to be the designer that people think of when they need to get a dress for a night out or for a special occasion.
Aside from fashion design, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Cooking, especially trying the new recipes I collect. Going to the art bookstore, spending hours there. Calling friends and talk, talk and talk! Photography. And watching Korean telly.
So what's a perfect day off for you?
My perfect day off is having a good relax, nothing special, a very ordinary thing – but it doesn’t happen so often! On a summer day, I’d prepare some sandwiches and drive to the lake with my man and read, swim, have some sunshine, nap, chat. On a winter day, I’d have a nice brunch with friends in a restaurant where they have a chimney. Then, rent some movies and watch them while eating sweet popcorn in bed until I fall asleep.