Chen Peng Goes for Big Impact Fashion
When we say “one size fits all,” do we mean our bodies, or our personality? Are some shapes for whoever feels emotion beyond their physical proportions? CHENPENG puts his finger on this exact divide, turning typical shapes into over-the-top variations, meant to outfit any type of body. Rihanna’s a fan, as is Lady Gaga, two women who know how to make a “simple” item into something largesse and beautiful. Peng helps us to understand why it is important to shake up what ‘size’ constitutes ‘all’.
A version of this exclusive interview first appeared in the pages of the 15th issue of ODDA Magazine.
Do you find that designers think enough about the variations of bodies when they turn to their work?
A cut is created on the basis of the human bodies, which is a profound subject. Every line, every structure is used to compliment the form. Every designer has a direction for their venture into the human forms. Some being physical, some cerebral, or even on the functionality of human organs. These objective studies only form a foundation. How to conceptualize and convey the subsequent thoughts is more crucial as there is always limitation in the practical sense.
What about fashion pushed you to innovation?
Fashion is a combined concept of applied creation and sensibility. The innovation in my work mostly comes from creating designs that cater to the needs of my customers. Even the stable pieces are needed in ways that require a lot of linear evolution.
Why do you think your approach to women’s bodies is rare in high fashion?
When I was preparing my graduation collection, I spent a lot of time analyzing plus-size and over-size body autonomy––that lead to the creation of a one-size collection of puffer jackets. Traditionally, high fashion is fond of a tall and slender build with an emphasis on the hips and the waist. But, for a woman that wears CHENPENG, she is concealed just like the next person that wears CHENPENG. In a way, it’s a uniform. My works are kind of in void of gender, body types.
What is (your own) favorite outfit?
I don’t have one because, as a designer, I try to have my taste as diverse as possible.
But the oversized puffer jacket is definitely one that makes me most proud.
Looking forward, what will we be able to rely on from your collections?
I am always looking ahead to what will become the future, from the cuts, the textile or the functions.
I hope my puffers or future designs never cease to surprise people.
Has the work of any artist been integral to your prioritization of body shape?
The work of Da Vinci played a part from early on. For example, the Uomo vitruviano [Vitruvian Man] he created and the mathematics behind the so- called golden ratio.
Where do you consider home?
Where my family and loved one are. The lives we lead sometimes make it difficult for us maintain a close relationship with them, but that makes it more endearing to have a place you call home.
Which artist of another medium do you really respect?
Andy Warhol, the artist as pop star. This revolution has proven to be the essential expression of the modern society.
What is most deceptive about our bodies?
The brain. The neural system. The higher power. It is where our souls lie, and from which our feelings and desires towards beauty stem. These are invisible but onmipresent.
Is there a scent in your studio?
It’s the smell of everyone in the office and goose downs!
Tell us what music is on.
I listen to HVOB on the label Stil vor Talent. It’s kind of techno.
What cut or silhouette could all body types move toward with confidence?
I don’t believe one can make that happen. Confidence is an inward, mental state and an outward expression. This has to come from self belief. As long as the person believes in it, confidence follows.
A design can help, but only so much.
Which designer do you trust to keep you interested?
Alexander McQueen. His first collections were hotly debated and criticized by those in the trade, but it was impossible to be indifferent to his creations. The Birds and Highland Rape collection provoked strong responses, but his talent and skills were obvious.
Under what circumstances do you find it best to take someone’s photo?
It has to be emotional. Kissing at a wedding and crying at a funeral!
“A CUT IS CREATED ON THE BASIS OF THE HUMAN BODIES, WHICH IS A PROFOUND SUBJECT. EVERY LINE, EVERY STRUCTURE IS USED TO COMPLIMENT THE FORM. EVERY DESIGNER HAS A DIRECTION FOR THEIR VENTURE INTO THE HUMAN FORMS” – CHEN PENG
Are you fascinated by “one-sized” dressing in regard to uniforms, be it for sports or school?
I think functionalities come before styles in this case, especially for professional sportswear.
So, it rather depends on the occasion where the outfits are worn. One size for all aesthetically isn’t for all occasions.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of this morning?
Thank all eternal beings that I am alive.
Jessica Scicchitano was born and raised in Upstate New York. She is the author of the chapbook "Dear Bucolic Landscape," and received her MFA in Poetry from Syracuse University, where she was the nonfiction editor at Salt Hill Journal. You can find some of her work in Sixth Finch, Prelude, Potluck, Foundry, glittermob, and more. Past internships include Bullett Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Women's Wear Daily. Though working as an editorial assistant at a community college, she wishes to host a show on the Home Shopping Network. This all happens in Philadelphia with her three-legged cat, Will.
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