The designer in the spotlight: Interview with BOWIE WONG

Bowie is a Hong-Kong born Australian fashion and costume designer. Apart from working on major musical theatre productions (Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Les Miserables) and large-scale music shows (Paul McCartney, Phil Collins and Madonna), focusing on his passion for fashion itself, he launched his first collection in 2000. Following his local success, Bowie gained recognition internationally in North America, Japan, Hong Kong and Paris. He has also designed custom-made garments for international talents including George Michael, Good Charlotte, the Pussycat Dolls, Pink, Kylie Minogue and Jade Gordon.

>Your affinity for arts was apparent from an early age. How have you become infected by fashion, where do those creative seeds come from?

My mother was an Opera Singer in Hong Kong, so I grew up surrounded by all the magnificent costumes. I think that was the beginning of everything!

>You have traveled the world, studied ‘Pure Design’ in Japan, then finished your ‘Stage and Costume Design’ degree in Canada. What made you settle down in Sydney, what makes this city more attractive to you compared to other places you have seen before?

The first time I landed in Sydney, it felt like a “lightning bolt moment”. I was immediately struck by the people, the weather and the natural beauty… I fell in love.

>When experiencing the business of competition you have learnt the art of balance between winning and losing in a creative field which strengthened your belief that art should not be faced with a fear of failure. Which milestones during your career have made you stronger and what was the biggest risk you ever took resulting in success?

The biggest risk was continuing on throughout the GFC. The time actually made me take stock of what I was doing with the BOWIE brand. I realised that instead of going in the direction of commercial fashion, I had to stay true to myself and focus on custom-made pieces. Fashion Week 2011 was the first time that I had really shown the world who I am as a fashion designer – dedicating myself to one-off works of high fashion based on my studies in Costume Design. So I would say that it made me stronger, because the response I received was overwhelmingly positive and it gave me the strength to keep going.

>The gorgeous silhouettes of your designs are adorable, and I am not the only fan of yours: which national and international celebrities have you dressed so far?

I’ve had the honour of dressing a number of lovely ladies over the years. Most recently I’ve had Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy, Essie Davis, Carrie Bickmore, Jacinta Tynan and Ricki Lee wear BOWIE in Australia. Evanna Lynch (from Harry Potter) and Kendall Jenner have also worn BOWIE in international photo shoots, which is very exciting!

>Your latest collection is expected to be one of the highlights of the currently running Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival. Where does the ethereal vision originate from, how have you developed the concept of the beautiful runway story to introduce your AURA collection?

As you know, I studied Costume Design, so for me a collection is always built upon a story… Or rather, I am always searching for the story that is within the collection. The Aura collection, is the story of the “Lady”rising from the lake in soft snow, telling the story of the highest layer of Aura and building the collection around those specific colours: white, ivory, cream and gold. 

>When you create your stunning gowns, what inspires you, how do you exactly see women? What would be your personal message to the woman of the 21st century coping with so many challenges and roles of our age?

As a designer of custom-made pieces I do have to say that I am a designer and not a magician. I design gowns to match the personality of the individual woman and I hope that by creating fashion for them, I can bring alive their self-confidence and make them feel beautiful. My advice to any woman is simply to stay true to yourself.

If you would like to have an unforgettable fashion moment wearing a personally tailored wedding gown, don’t hesitate to contact BOWIE.

During the style consultation you will be guided through his couture collection and invited to try on styles that appeal to you. Bowie will discuss custom approaches that can be made to the style of each dress. During the fittings you will determine the alterations needed in order to reach the complete head to toe look. Be treated like a princess for the most beautiful day of your life.


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