SOFT IS THE NEW STRONG
XUAN FU, A FASHION DESIGNER WHO REFORMULATES FEMININE POWER
Xuan’s love for clothes is rooted in her own resilience. She experienced a challenging childhood and always found in clothes a shelter that provided comfort to her body. So, becoming a fashion designer was the natural thing for her. This idea of comfort never left her, and she chose to specialize in intimate apparel. She sees it as a dialogue between her and the person wearing her clothes, a way to support them in their everyday life. “There is a level of shield and protection associated with intimate wear, something that no other piece of clothing can do,” she adds.
Moving to New York City was also an idea that had always been attractive to her. The heart of the fashion industry in the United States would offer her a myriad of opportunities and challenges she was ready to take. Today, she has lived in the city for a few years, working for top-notch companies. “New York is an exciting city, especially to see all the factories continue operating in such a crowded and expensive part of town. I feel really honored to work in this industry, where I am surrounded by supportive, creative, and humble people,” she enthusiastically shares with us. Alix NYC is a net-a-porter brand that specializes in bodysuits and bodycon dresses. Their target audiences are Gen Z and Y, and they offer looks that are effortlessly chic. Allure declared the brand as “Fashion’s Favorite Bodysuit.” Xuan currently works as their Fashion Design Development Associate focusing on their summer and fall 2022 collections for their bodysuits. With her team, she leads the design detail improvement and trims developments of their bodysuits - an essential job as she is involved in all the final looks of the products.
Fig 1. Xuan Fu's Collection "The Disintegration of Women"
Xuan’s love for intimate wear has previously led her to work for other prominent and respected brands. Her favorite materials to work with are silk organza or silk chiffon. She enjoys working materials that are smooth and soothing to maximize the wearing experience. When she works with other brands, it is important for her to stay true to her beliefs and the quality she aspires for. When previously working for the luxury lingerie brand Fleur Du Mal, Xuan led and executed the lead for different collections from 2020 to 2022, as well as a summer capsule collection “Ice Cream.” She worked alongside the pattern makers to design the garments. The “Ice Cream” capsule was playful, quirky while remaining classic and chic. The panties were named after beloved ice cream flavors (“French Vanilla” or “Buttercream”) and were packaged in an exclusive “Neapolitan ice cream pint” carton. This collection rapidly sold out and was featured in numerous outlets, including WWD. While working for Fleur Du Mal also worked on the collection in partnership with model Precious Lee. The collection is made with Lily embroidery lingerie and satin trench. It worked both for everyday wear and special occasions. The ensemble was all black, and the stunning photo campaigns were shot by the Eiffel Tower - offering an elegant addition to their clients’ closets. Xuan’s work in this particular collection reflects her general work ethic and her commitment to high-end fabric: “Both silk charmeuse and organza create space for the body to move in, while silk-satin provides the practicality, wearability, and structure the garments need to consolidate. I created a biased pintuck to play with space and embed them into the cotton to connect the two worlds together.”
Fig 2. Xuan Fu's Collection "The Disintegration of Women"
Some of the other brands she has worked for include the LVMH group, a luxury goods multinational that owns Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Kenzo, Christian Dior, FENDI, Moet, and Hennessy, among other reputed brands. She designed uniforms for Loewe’s employees while also working on the Asian market rebranding program. Previously, she had also worked for a fashion incubator company, LABELHOOD, where she partnered with the brand Yirantian and the Fall/Winter Fashion Week show in 2016. Lingerie, net-a-porter, corporate projects, Xuan is very versatile. She has also designed eyewear for Thierry Lasry, one of the most important French brands for glasses. She led the CAD designs for their capsule collection in partnership with Mattel for the 60th anniversary of the Barbie doll. The Barbie collection reflects Xuan’s motivation to create a comfortable product. An element of nostalgia is added to this collection. The cat-eye glasses have a unique vintage look with peach or marble rose colors. Flaunt magazine described the collection as “futuristic vintage, blending the vintage fashion and nostalgia with futuristic reimaginings of classic designs.” Each pair of sunglasses came beautifully packaged in a collector's box and different barbies. “Most of my designs translate my belief in the power of women,” Xuan states. It seems like this is definitely the common thread between all the collections, the designs, and a powerful one.
Fig 3. Xuan Fu's Collection "The Disintegration of Women"
“When people think of clothing to empower women, they think of the power suits, which were copied almost directly from menswear,” Xuan shares before talking about her new collection, “The Disintegration of Women.” Her personal collection was an opportunity to question the elements in garments that shaped the cliché of the independent modern woman who has it all. Women’s strength does not lie in the “elements that predecessors have provided.” the designer had told the magazine Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam. Her collection is made with her go-to fabric and contains a couple of pieces that are adaptable to a number of occasions. Her work was featured in L’Officiel and ELLE, some of the most prestigious magazines dedicated to fashion. This year continues to be very busy for her as she was nominated for the 2022 – A Design Award in the “Fashion, Apparel, and Design” category.
Xuan will continue to design apparel that reflects the intimacy and comfort we need for today’s troubled world. “Translating feminine power back into a soft language” is her mission.