INTERVIEW: LISA HO Jade Lynn Goh October 10, 2012 Fashion, Insider, Interviews Lisa Ho has been a purveyor of aesthetics and a collector of beauty from a tender age. She estimates her formidable collection of vintage clothing and fabric to be close to the 18,000 mark causing one to question whether there is any other designer better qualified to design the dress, better classified as a future heirloom. The designer’s affair with fashion began when she was 10, at the end of her kitchen table with a sewing machine that ‘nobody was allowed to move’. She formalized this relationship at East Sydney Technical College and since then, her career has only gone from strength to strength. Success followed shortly after her graduation; Lisa Ho became not only a household name but also, a global brand as the local and international fashion scene embraced her philosophy that aims to make beauty accessible to all women. She was recognized as the ubiquitous ambassador of Australian fashion when she designed the gown worn by Olivia Newton-John at the Sydney 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony. The designer’s signature style results from her rejection of the cultish obsession with seasonal fads. Instead, Lisa garners her inspiration from “art, television, music – everything that influences you.” This ultimately manifests in hyper-real prints, cloudy textures and wearable forms that build the cornerstones of her timeless aesthetic. It is Lisa’s unwavering commitment to her philosophy that has seen her designs grace everyone from homegrown heavyweights such as Miranda Kerr and Elle McPherson to international stars such as Florence Welch and Chloe Sevigny. This season’s bridal collection stands gracefully tall and sophisticated, seeing new shapes and styles for Lisa. “This season sees elegant, body contouring shapes with detail in the form of beading and sculptural cutouts,” she tells Couturing. The collection is simply and aptly described as “modern and glamorous”. Lisa adheres to her successful tried-and-tested formula, using clean lines and shapes that contour the body that appeal to both the modern and classical romantic. The classic strapless gown bears the hallmark of Lisa’s signature style. Sculptural cutouts dispel the notion that elegance cannot be both modern and glamorous. There is a well-placed peplum waist, as the designer acknowledges this season’s trend in a fairytale twist. Intricate beading transforms the traditional gown into a future heirloom. The Braille of marriage is Swarovski, preserved in layers of tissue from those who read the constellations of crystals under their sticky fingers and long to savor the familiar sigh of silk on their own wedding day. The Lisa Ho bride is a “confident and forward-thinking modern bride” – one unwilling to discard style at the expense of fashion. She will be bold enough to make the sartorial decision that ensures her chosen garment is everlasting and evergreen. Like chicken or fish, this proves to be one of the more challenging wedding-related decisions. Many a bride has had to confront the perennial wedding dress trade-off of being on trend or selecting a traditional gown that withstands the test of time at the risk of being archaic. The ample pressure that a bride feels on her wedding day is akin to a designer during fashion week. Lisa tells us that the key to coping is “preparation, preparation, preparation, then breathe and enjoy the process.” Moreover, the new Lisa Ho bridal collection is at hand to ease the pressure of the big day and ensure that the most difficult compromises be saved for marriage. Lisa also acknowledges that bridesmaids play an important role in ensuring that the bride enjoys her big day. The bridesmaids’ gowns are a lesson in understated elegance; the carefully constructed bustier gowns compliment the bridal collection perfectly without misdirecting the attention. After all, she says, “they need to look amazing but not overshadow the bride.” Overall, the collection bears the hallmark of Lisa’s signature style that has seamlessly placed the eponymous brand at the forefront of the local and international fashion pack. Lisa leaves us with some worldly advice, “it is important to choose the gown of your dreams that you will look your best in. These images will stay for eternity—choose wisely.” Like the love story, which remains a genre that continues to fascinate and captivate us despite its various retellings, Lisa remains the master of romance as her accessible aesthetic continues to keep the traditional fairytale gown relevant.