Hailing from the small village of Jiang Xi, a young Lu Yan soon found herself gracing Parisian runways and making it big in the City of Light. After becoming China’s first international supermodel, Lu set her next challenge by establishing her own premium fashion label, Comme Moi, which represents her inspirational story and fearless spirit. Recently helping to champion emerging design talent as a judge for the International Woolmark Prize Asia regional final, Lu gives us an inside look at the life of a supermodel/fashion designer and tells how she nearly wound up crunching numbers instead of sketching designs.
What set you on your current career path? And what do you love about your job?
I felt like the time was right, so I went ahead and did it; my modelling career had developed to a certain point already and I wanted a change. The thing that excites me the most in my job is when I first lay eyes on the latest samples.
In which city/area do you live and what are your favourite three things to do there?
I’m based in Shanghai, China. My three favourite things to do here are: dining somewhere in the French Concession, taking my son out and hanging out with friends.
What does your daily uniform consist of?
Wearing Commie Moi of course. I advocate a style that is simple, relaxed and wearable. Sometimes I’ll mix and match with other styles.
What’s the best advice you have ever taken?
The best advice I’ve ever taken came from a book called Blue Is the New Black - it gave me a lot of inspiration as a designer. The book is about how to build a brand and run your business.
How do you like to start your day?
I wake up at 7am, get ready, then wake my son at 8am to take him to school and arrive at work at 9am. I like to listen to jazz and pop music to relax at work and it also makes me more productive.
What is your secret last-minute beauty trick to instantly revitalise your look?
I try to eat in moderation and also drink coffee to detox and avoid water retention. In terms of a beauty trick, applying a mask is a quick way to revitalise your look.
What is the true sign of quality in design?
The fabric and the cut. A premium quality fabric brings about a luxurious feel. A good cut guarantees a great fit on the body.
Where are you jetting off to next and what’s the one thing you will definitely pack?
I actually just returned from a holiday in France. My next stop is most likely France again, to Paris for Premiere Vision. While on a business trip, my mobile and credit card are must-packs. In terms of clothing, a little black dress is essential, along with a pair of high heels, comfortable shoes and a versatile jacket.
How did you come up with the name Comme Moi? Who are your target customers?
Comme Moi stands for like me in French - it has a double meaning. Our target female customers are young, confident, stylish and individualistic city dwellers between the ages of 25 to 35. Our signature style is smart casual, sportive and relaxed with an easy elegance, contemporary yet classic, youthful yet mature.
What are the signature/core elements of your brand and collections?
Minimalist silhouette with androgynous elegance - you see elements of both in each season.
How important is wool as a fabric and how much influence/inspiration does it bring into your collections?
As quality and comfort are both really important to me, 100% wool fabrics are essential for a luxurious experience. Wool allows coats and jackets to drape and come to life beautifully on the body.
If you weren’t working in fashion, what would you be doing?
I would probably be an accountant in my hometown - I majored in accounting in university.