1883 Magazine
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Since making his name as a stylist to some of Hollywood’s hottest stars, New York based Taiwanese fashion designer Malan Breton has seen his reputation gone from strength to strength.

With countless awards including this years ’Fashion Group International Rising Star Award’, the ’2014 Fashion Icon of the Year award from UCOF’ and the ’2014 European Fashion Council "Eirene" Fashion Award’ to name few, Malan has quickly established himself on the New York fashion scene.  Having conquered the States Malan now has his sights on making a impact across the pond. We were lucky to sit down with the designer to chat about his Taiwanese background, starring on ’Project Runway’, Bravo’s ’The Malan Show’, and what we can expect from his new collection.

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You are known for your detailing, and fabrics, can you talk us through your signature design style?

My signature style varies for man, or woman. For men I like the idea of colour, shine, texture, and individuality. For women I love a more gothic, and ethereal aesthetic like Guinevere meets lady Macbeth.

You had your big break in the industry as stylist for clients such as Kylie Minogue, Celine Dion, and Linda Evangelista, what attracted you to move from styling to designing? 

A need for garments that were not being made, at the time fashion was in an odd flux coming out of the 90’s. I made one gown, and had request, after request. I decided to launch the line a few years later.

You were Born in Taipei, Taiwan, how does the fashion industry there compare to the US and Europe, and how has Taiwanese history and culture influenced your designs.

Taiwan has a very strong influence in my work, it taught me to always look at nature, and earth to create garments that flow like water. It taught me to look at detail, and to be inspired by things that touch all senses. The fashion industry in Taiwan is very strong Taipei 101 is one of the largest luxury shopping centers in the world. Fashion, and beauty are very important there, as looking your best is part of tradition, and honour.

You now live in New York City, tell us about your journey as a designer from your home town to the States ?

I was discovered by a group of photographers in 1996 and brought to NYC as a male model. Shortly after that I ended up on the Broadway stage, and as a dancer for everyone from Sean Combs to Paula Abdul. I had been a dancer in my youth. After attending Juilliard I did more TV then became the voice of ESPN, then I mentored with Scaasi because I wanted to learn womenswear. I had years before worked at Turnbull & Asser, where I learned menswear.

I launched my first collection in 2005, then a year later was on a TV show for fashion that was quite famous globally. I was eliminated episode two but due to a strong following Bravo Television gave me my own show in America called ’The Malan Show’. I used that platform to launch my brand on a global scale. Then I launched men’s after doing ’Australia’s Next Top Model’. I kept my TV appearance schedule very active as I knew it was an opportunity to market my brand. 

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You’ve won countless awards in the fashion industry such as:
2016 Fashion Group International “Rising Star” award for Menswear
2014 European Fashion Council "Eirene" Fashion Award, 
2014 Fashion Icon of the Year award from UCOF.
Which means the most to you and why?

Each of them mean so much to me, I’m so grateful to be honoured by these lovely organisations.

You designed the Government of Taiwan’s official work uniform in 2015, which was inspired by 16 aboriginal Taiwanese tribes, how did this come about and what was your design process?

My work with Taiwan started in 2013 when I partnered with them at New York fashion week. In 2015 when I returned to Taiwan I travelled to the east coat as a guest of the government. The director of the east coast Trust Lin took us to the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, introduced me to the leaders of the indigenous tribes, and then asked me to design the uniform. I’m very honoured to be an ambassador to the country.

In 2015 your short film ’Malan Breton - A Journey to Taiwan,’ won ’Best Documentary Short’ at the 2015 NYIFF, what was the film about and is filming something you would like to do more of?

The film ’Malan Breton - A journey to Taiwan,’ was a forty year story told in twenty four minutes about my journey to where I am in my life. As a fashion designer I wanted to share my aesthetic, and vision with the world and knew the only way I could do so was to share Taiwan with the world. The film was my directorial debut in  the documentary genre. I will be directing two feature film projects this year, I’m grateful to be embraced by the documentary community my vision is much larger on these upcoming projects. 

You have had you own show on Bravo’s ’The Malan Show.’ What was this series about and do you have any more episodes planned?

’The Malan Show’ was a reality based TV show that followed me in the early stages of my fashion career. It featured so many important events of a designers path. I’m grateful for the show, and have meetings about more episodes this week. 

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You have styled countless celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Keith Carradine, Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, George Takei, Michael Buble, Martha Plimpton, Frankie Grande. Who is next on your wish list and why?

Cate Blanchett, Beyonce, Anna Wintour, and Rihanna. Each displays great artistry, but also are incredible people.

You have your Malan Breton flagship store in NYC’s East Village, do you have plans to expands you stores and where ? 

We are planning to expand into Taiwan, The Middle East, and China in 2017.

What can we expect from you next collection?

Feminine power, beauty, glamour, for men a return to the dandy, with an urban edge.

You starred in ’Project Runway,’ how was that experience and how has it effect you career since?

I’m grateful for all of life’s experiences. The show was an opportunity as a young designer for the world to see my already established brand. 

What 3 items in your wardrobe can’t you live with out?

Great shoes, my watch collection, (I was a partner with Rado Switzerland for four years) and my vintage cuff links.

Tell us about the award from Taiwan, and your new cosmetic line? 

In February I received an honour from the president of Taiwan, then a month later we previewed the Malan Breton cosmetic line in Shenzhen, China. The line consists of colours specialised for a wide variety of skin tones, made with floral essences of Taiwan. Included are my pops of colour from the collection, for eyes and lips.

Can you describe the ‘Malan Breton’ man and women?

The Malan Breton man is a man who enjoys tradition, yet finds inspiration in utility, and practicality.

The Malan Breton Woman is a woman of power, one who doesn’t specifically feed into gender stereotypes, yet enjoys glamour, and quality.

And finally what is style to you?

Style to me is individuality.

 

For more infomation on Malan, his future collections and the new cosmetic line head to www.malanbreton.com

Photography Joupin Ghamsari
www.joupinghamsari.com

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