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Sophie Hong : When time turns mulberry leaves into silk dresses

March 14th – September 20th 2020

La Piscine, the museum of art and industry of Roubaix, presents the exceptional work of fashion designer Sophie Hong.

Sophie Hong is a one-of-a-kind creator: she is a painter as well as a ceramist, a fashion designer and an editor; she lives between Taiwan and Paris.

At first there is mere material…

Her work on silk is in itself remarkable.

Because she is so fond of nature, Sophie Hong has made hers ancient technics for weaving and dying silk typical to Southern China. Breathing new life into these technics is a way for her to show her devotion to the environment.

After a process of natural dying, the rolls of silk are unfolded on the ground to enable their natural oxidation. They are then left drying under the sun for several months. The silk develops a lacquered finish that coats its earthy tones of deep indigo, black or brown on one side; dark red on the other. This process provides a unique texture to the fabric, yet it does not in any way affect its delicacy. In fact, it is subtlety that Sophie Hong seeks through this skilful, technical composition with the natural elements.

Every piece of silk unique thanks to the uniqueness of the wefts of the fabric themselves, the intensity of the dying, and the hazards of the bare contact with the earth. Sophie Hong enjoys the versatility of this lacquered-like silk, which can alternatively take the appearance of velvet, time-sheered leather, or a rough yet delicate piece of fabric.

… And then come the clothes

For Sophie Hong, a piece of clothing is a piece of art, to which everyone replies with their own emotions. Looking at the clothes, men’s and women’s alike, it is impossible to miss their simplicity, together with their visual quality, undeniably contemporary. Without concession to functionality, she likes to play with cuts, faces and backs, thicknesses, trims and hems, embroideries, buttons and pleats that give its volume to the fabric.

Sophie Hong is first and foremost an artist. As such, she often works along with other artists on their creations to design their clothing. She is used to collaborate with musicians, actors, dancers…

Sophie Hong is tied to France by an indissoluble bond that is best expressed in two institutions she is at the head of: Taipei’s French bookshop Le Pigeonnier, that she has been managing since the death of its founder Françoise Zylberberg, and her Parisian shop at the Palais-Royal.

After Asian galleries and museums, Sophie Hong’s creations were displayed at Paris’ fashion museum, the Palais Galliera. Besides, she was awarded the French Ordre National du Mérite (National Order of Merit).

See also