Harris Chan of Moiselle: China consumers know quality - Hashtag Legend

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Harris Chan of Moiselle: China consumers know quality

Dec 20, 2017

Harris Chan of Moiselle

Creative director of Moiselle, Harris Chan tells #legend everything you need to know about Moiselle and what we can learn from China’s consumers turning fashion codes inside out.

Can you tell me a little bit about this Moiselle lounge that we are in right now, at the Kodak House in North Point?

It’s kind of amazing – I could totally live here. This space is the customisation lounge for our customers who are working with us on their wedding gowns or special-order pieces. It’s for our VIP customers, of course. There are private dressing rooms, a private kitchen where we have Thai or French chefs on standby, a wine cellar and karaoke. This space is a big part of our customer loyalty programme. We want the ladies to come and hang out with their friends, and feel comfortable and catered to.

I’ve heard that the customer service in your stores is the best. In fact, the bespoke programme is like no other – a customer can basically come into your store, pick out a dress from the rack but ask for different sleeves and essentially see this dress come to life. Is this true?

In 30 days. A customer can come in and have her dream dress in a month. This is our basic service – there are three fittings. This is the advantage we have to serve our customers, since we own our factories.

Congratulations on your 20th anniversary. This would make how many seasons for you?

We do eight seasons a year: pre-fall, fall, winter, fall/winter runway, resort, spring, summer and spring/summer runway. It’s a lot! There are Moiselle stores all over Asia with different climates and needs, so we have to be quite comprehensive with our offerings. It’s a particular retail strategy of ours. The stores in Singapore, Tokyo and northern China really give us a chance to have conversations with the customers in the region and understand their needs. We have 100 points of sale; we’re also launching with Tmall and VIP.com this year in China.

I’ve read that your spring 2018 collection was inspired by Antoni Gaudí.

I was really taken by his philosophy that was inspired by nature, but yet was abstract and fun. I felt this really resonated with my approach at Moiselle – a total embrace of the woman’s body so that the clothes feel like a second skin, but with a distinctive look. I went to the church [Sagrada Família] three different times – each time I was moved by different elements. He is amazing.

For a new customer to Moiselle the brand, what are the essential items she should own? 

The 21-inch little jacket and the 36-inch  flare dress – they’re our bestsellers throughout the years and our golden items.

What have you learned in the past 20 years?

I would say a better understanding of the woman’s mentality. I love having conversations with women to understand their needs. This has really helped me shape my collections. These collections should be dressing solutions to make their lives easier. All these amazing women have enough to do as mothers, wives, and professionals!

Let’s talk about China, which is a big area of business for you. Do you spend a lot of time there?

I do. I was just there for Shanghai Fashion Week; Moiselle was the opening fashion show. I love going to China – I find it incredibly invigorating and there is so much to learn. It’s really interesting to see the changes and the differences. In the last two years, there has been a real shift in the Chinese customers knowing how to spend on quality. They aren’t only interested in a style or a look – the questions being asked are for better buttons or lining quality. There has been a development of awareness on how to value quality for a product. There’s no interest in a good copy, but a desire for product narrative and an authentic lifestyle. I’m seeing customers in Chengdu turn a garment inside out and question the composition of a dress. This is great for designers – this shows respect for the craft. Designers will no longer feel deflated.

What’s your favourite item to create?

Skirts – they’re fun and versatile, and can be such a powerful weapon for women. In fact, my deepest wish is for women to feel brave and powerful in my clothes. I want my clothes to have the same power as a Montblanc pen. Such a small thing, a pen, but so incredibly polished in presence – it commands respect and is totally necessary in negotiations.

How did the idea of showing the collection on Duddell Street come about?

It was quite the block party and the most talked-about event in town. This season, I wanted to do something really fun. The first thing that came to my mind was actually a memorable movie scene... instead of sticking her arm out, Audrey Hepburn hailed a taxi with her distinct charm in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This is how I came up with the idea of “Moiselle Stop the Traffic”.

Alongside models, you had your dearest friends – a cast of influencers and movers and shakers – walk in the show. How did that conversation go?

The conversations went something like this: “What are you doing on September 23rd?” I called my mum first to give me courage, then my sister, Tiffany. Sabrina [Ho] was the toughest because of her schedule. When I asked her, she scoffed at the idea of walking in a fashion show: “Catwalk? No way! But since you’re asking the 20 most important people in your life, I need to go – or people won’t think we’re friends!”

This story originally appeared in the December 2017 print issue of #legend. 

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Kim Bui Kollar