Graphic Content - An Introduction to Mandy Lau
by Anya Georgijevic
Illustrations by Mandy Lau
Mandy Lau is fresh out of Vancouver Community College's fashion program, having finished her Fashion Arts Certificate while juggling a full-time day job in publishing. You don't choose your passions, and when the local designer had to choose the right outlet that would challenge her creative skills further, fashion was the natural choice.
Contrasts play a large part in Lau's background. While her love for fashion came early - she began reading Vogue by the sixth grade - the designer initially chose a more practical career path in print technology & business management, completing a degree in Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University. But that early desire for fashion kept coming back. It wasn't long before Lau went back to school to study fashion, pursuing her dreams while continuing to carry her day job. "I was going to work nine to five, coming home from work, picking up a couple of things to eat and then rushing straight to class. You had to be on the ball, taking your notes, doing your work, because you just cannot get behind." She certainly didn't get behind. The budding artist won the Gabriel Levy Scholarship and Hudson Fashion Award for her six piece graduating collection and landed a chance to showcase her work last November at Vancouver Fashion Week's International Fashion Design Competition.
Those accolades are perhaps the result of Lau's ability to balance her talents in fashion design with her equal love for graphic design. The inspiration for her latest work comes from both worlds, from simple ribbons and knots to the surrealism of Salvador Dalí. The latter is notable, with Lau bringing strong graphic concepts to her clothes in her interpretations of that Dalí-esque "flowy melting concept" and trying to "re-create that into fabric." Her background in graphic design also comes through clearly with sophisticated geometric construction and colour-blocking in her work. A sensational grey silk cocktail dress features a high ruffled collar which turns into a network of slender grey and red straps on the back of the dress. An impeccably constructed red silk halter dress features intricate ruching on the bodice and a draped full circle skirt.
Given her love for all things fashion and design, it should be no surprise that the designer is also a talented illustrator and has recently launched a website. As with her garments, Lau's illustrations are graphically strong and confident, with single black strokes enough to capture complex concepts. It's no wonder that her hope is to "be able to really show an emotion...Not just with my illustrations but with my clothing too."
Lau brings together all these varying facets with a simple aim. "I'm always wanting to create a piece that is visually stunning. I want someone to pick up a piece of my garment and go 'wow!'" After seeing her latest collection, let me be the first: wow!
Visit Mandy Lau at www.mandy-lau.com.