Man Chien explains her SS16 campaign

The collection was inspired by Plato's 'Allegory of the Cave' and has paintings of nipples that you'll miss if you don't look closely

By Andrea Tim | Published: 9 Oct 2015

Man Chien's campaign
Photo: Zhong Lin

Man Chien's Spring Summer 2016 collection drew oohs and aahs from the audience at KL Fashion Week in August. At first glance, the pieces aren't particularly intricate, but upon closer inspection, it is hard to ignore the delicate touches: rough strokes of paint on sheer silk to more pictorial eccentricities like unicorns, clouds and watermelons.

Greek philosopher Plato's Allegory of the Cave inspired the Malaysian designer's collection. Her campaign is as thought-provoking as Plato's mind-boggling work. Model Monika Burkot stars in the campaign, with hair by Matao and makeup by Sheng Saw.

"From my point of interpretation, Plato's Cave speaks of mind manipulation, where the ruling structure projects fabricated truth to people," the Seremban-born Raffles Design College graduate told, referring to how our current state of the world is concealed and truth is covered up. "It is translated through painting on the sheer silk fabric, where the chaotic brush stokes conceal certain body parts. This underlines the meaning of my 'No Cover Up' statement, which is also written in Mandarin on one of my pieces."

Two of her pieces were subtly (and cheekily) painted with protruding dots to represent nipples.

"Nipples are a taboo," she said. "This doesn't make sense to me. We all have nipples. We see them every day. However, it seems to be more acceptable to the public if they are depicted in an art form."

(Photo: Zhong Lin)

Working closely with photographer Zhong Lin, Man Chien pinned down elements that she wanted to present in her SS16 campaign.

"Naked soul, docility, discovery of the truth – think The Matrix's blue pill and red pill moment – and the awakening," she said, listing keywords of the campaign's story. However, she insists that the meaning behind these themes is subjective. "I'd like the audience to decipher the message."

She chose to highlight only certain pieces from her collection in the campaign, as these "best describe the character in this campaign story."

"They also highlight the technique used throughout the collection," Man Chien added.

Her SS16 collection will be available starting March 2016.

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