Sennet Frères – Hong Kong’s first Couture house – has recently unveiled its much-anticipated Disney Princess Collection.
The show took place at the brand’s birthplace, Alberose Mansion, which was transformed into a castle for one special night. We spoke to Chief Creative and Design Director of Sennet Frères, Kev Yiu, about his debut collaboration with Disney and the importance of fairy tales.
In Conversation with Kev Yiu, Chief Creative and Design Director of Sennet Frères
For Yiu, the partnership with Disney was a dream come true. “As far as I know, after Mr Daichi Miura, Disney has been seeking another Asian designer to [execute] the wedding gown project,” he explains. “Being the first designer who gets to be creative with all 14 princesses and queens for the very first time in APAC is a milestone in my career.” The range encompasses evening and wedding gowns, each paying homage to a Disney princess or a queen.
Through his dresses, Yiu interpreted the colourful fantasy worlds from the popular movies. Glitter, ruffles and embellishments are all playing a special role in the fairy tale of the designer’s devisal. “We are already living in our own fairytale, and fairytale evolves over time!” says Yiu. “Now you can still transform yourself into a princess in glorious gowns, but rather than using a magic wand or spell, we have credit cards and the internet instead.”
Yiu’s journey as a rising star of couture started in his childhood home. Growing up with four sisters and being fascinated by their toys, the designer took up beading as a calming hobby, which later transformed into a valuable embroidery skill. “When I grew older, I started making dresses from papers and having home fashion shows modelled by my sisters is still my happiest childhood memory,” he recalls. “I finally decided to be a dressmaker when I got my first sewing machine at the age of 13.”
Couture, in its very nature, is the polar opposite of trend-based seasonal ready-to-wear. It’s meant to be passed from one generation to the next, like an heirloom. Even after putting together one of the grandest shows in Hong Kong this season, Yiu stays humble. “Frankly, I don’t call myself a couturier, though I am still learning to be one. I am just a person who loves making dresses and enjoys the happiness brought to each person,” he says. “For me, it’s not necessary to design with posh and luxurious materials; sometimes polyester works better than silk; sometimes it’s the other way around.”
At Sennet Frères, Yiu is free to leap into the world of his creative genius as deep as he desires, “I always feel respected, encouraged and most importantly, they provide me with freedom of creativity. I am never required to design based on trends nor market needs but to create dresses with stories and thoughts behind them, and I think this is what sets Sennet Frères apart,” he notes.
Yiu’s artistry goes way beyond references to classic glamour, it encompasses innovation, nerve and a desire to bend boundaries. “I was profoundly influenced by the British designers, I love the elegance and extravagance from John Galliano, the rebellion and deconstructionism from Vivienne Westwood, and the unexpectedness and structure from Alexander McQueen,” he tells us.
(Hero image: an evening gown inspired by Snow White)