Wearable art: Jacky Tsai x Shanghai Tang

Updated on May 20 2014

Qipaos and box clutches get a dose of pop and pizazz for Shanghai Tang‘s 20th anniversary celebration. For its birthday, the formidable fashion house combines forces with Shanghai-born contemporary artist Jacky Tsai.

Tsai has created a series of six original artworks for Shanghai Tang, with each piece serving as the inspiration for the limited-edition capsule collection of clothing, exquisite dining sets, candles and even iPhone accessories.

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Tsai may look austere here, but it’s just the colouring.

Now 30 years of age, Tsai gained prominence through the floral skull image he created for Alexander McQueen. Such floral patterns are present in this collection, with splashes of bright butterflies and fantastical horses.

The artist moved to London after completing a BA at the China Academy of Art. A product of the post-1980s generation in Shanghai, Tsai grew up in a creative, open environment, where he was heavily influenced by Western culture.

“I was really into things like the Transformers,” he laughs, citing Roy Lichtenstein as one of his role models.  This mixed upbringing is reflected in the eclectic pieces he created for Shanghai Tang, a mesh of Eastern techniques and Western influences.

One of the pieces in the capsule collection, this stunning Floral Play Box Clutch goes for HK$2,580.

As focused as he is, there’s still a lot to do on his agenda.  Tsai had the chance to check out Art Basel when it opened, an experience he found humbling and inspirational. “I thought, there’s a long way to go to be a good artist, because there’s so much talent.” According to his own standards, he’s only achieved about 20 percent of what he wants.

Part of that is outreach: “Perhaps now a Western audience likes my art more, and that’s why I’m into these collaborations,” he says, of the collection’s possible appeal to the Asian market.

He remains at the moment, appreciative of everything he’s experienced. “I’m very lucky to live in London and do what I want. I wanted to move there when I was young, open my eyes and explore a new world. The older you are, the more you don’t want to change,” he says.

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The Lotus Play Centrepiece (back, center) retails for HK$16,800.

The Jacky Tsai x Shanghai Tang collection debuted on 15 May 2014 at the Shanghai Tang 20th Anniversary kick-off party. The collection is now in stores and available online.

Shanghai Tang, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2525- 7333, www.shanghaitang.com 

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