20 Years On: How Harris Chan Is Changing Moiselle's DNA
Harris Chan knows how to create buzz. On April 20, he shut down the Hong Kong Space Museum and Cultural Centre for an extravagant party and catwalk show for his label, Moiselle. Securing both these impressive venues would be a coup for most people, but for Moiselle’s creative director, it wasn’t even the highlight of the night.
The cherry on the cake was a fleet of Moiselle-branded ferries that blocked off a huge swathe of Victoria Harbour, giving guests uninterrupted views of Hong Kong’s glittering skyline. Speedboats then zipped between these floating billboards, carrying VIPs from the Central piers to their front-row seats at Moiselle’s harbourside catwalk in Tsim Sha Tsui.
This was only the latest of the extravagant fashion shows that Harris has organised for Moiselle, which was founded by his parents in 1997. In April last year, Harris took over the Asia Society in Admiralty for a big-budget show, and in September he literally stopped traffic when he turned Duddell Street into a catwalk.
But aside from the personal pleasure Harris gets from organising lavish fashion shows, there are more serious reasons for hosting them.
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Changing Moiselle's DNA
“Last year was Moiselle’s 20th anniversary,” Harris says. “I made an agreement with my parents on my first day of work that I would continue with Moiselle’s original DNA until the 20th anniversary. It was like a training period for me to take over Moiselle. So now that we’re stepping into the 21st year, I can apply more of my own style and more of my own vision to the design. These shows let the audience know where we’re going and what we’re trying to do.”
Harris may now be in total control, but his parents, Boby and Shirley, will be pleased to hear that he isn’t tearing up the rulebook. “The Moiselle archive has amazing pieces, techniques, silhouettes and patternmaking,” he says. “I just have a slightly different approach. The new designs are younger, more mix and match.”
Like at other major labels, Harris designs eight collections a year. This pressure on designers to churn out so many collections has come under scrutiny recently (Raf Simons and Alber Elbaz are two of the big names to have discussed creative burnout), but Harris isn’t feeling the strain at the moment.
“It’s okay for me,” he says. “I always get inspired by talking to women and all my friends—learning about their lives.”
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A move into television
In fact, Harris is so relaxed that he’s even found time for some side projects.
“This June, a documentary about me is being released in Mainland China. I can’t say too much, but it’s about me and my work. And in August, I’m taking part in an eight-episode reality-TV show with four other Asian celebrities and businessmen and women. Again, I can’t say much, but we’re going to experience something together.”
And that’s only the beginning. Harris is also organising a Moiselle exhibition that will tour Mainland China later this year; he recently opened a Moiselle store in Elements; and he’s hosting a pop-up shop this month at the famous department store Isetan in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Rather than basking in the success of Moiselle’s latest fashion show, he’s already thrown himself into organising the next ones.
“The September one is all planned,” he says, “and next year’s show is not going to be in Hong Kong; I’m going to fly all my Hong Kong VIPs out for the show. It should be interesting.” If last month’s show is anything to go by, the buzz is sure to be deafening.
Keep up with Harris Chan on Instagram @harris_chan_ph