Beijing, stuck in endless traffic jams: I have an appointment with Caroline Deleus, the young fashion designer of the Chinese brand, Mushi. Ok fine! I don’t have any idea where am I! No Mandarin, no way to communicate with the taxi driver! I call Caroline to check with him: we’re very near the Twin Tower Mall, where she opened a second shop last May. In Beijing, everything is huge, minutes, gaps, roads, buildings, buildings halls and finally the refined shop, with bright white walls. All clothes are black or white, except one blue romantic dress with puffed shoulders and slim waist: “inspired by childhood memories”. Finally Caroline, with her two Chinese assistants. Nice first impression of a lovely woman in her thirties, simply dressed in jeans. And on her black tank top, a red design of the “Wawa”, the fabric doll she created and became her logo. I’ve discovered this doll at a friend’s home in Paris, few months before.
After the high school in Beijing, she learn fashion design at Esmod in Paris. Then works at the Lolita Lempicka’s press office. But quickly, she understood that Paris fashion market is overcrowded and decided to go back to China. And in 2002, she created her brand Mushi means “the westerner model”. After a first show, the showroom opened six month later. From the beginning, the Chinese press has supported her brand that quickly became successful. Wow! Now she presents two shows a year and she wears Chinese business women and TV and movie stars. Proudly Caroline says: “Yu Nan, the actress of the Chinese movie “Tuya’s wedding” (directed by Wang Quan An), worn a Mushi dress at the prizegiving in Berlin, when the movie received the Golden Bear 2007.
“ I really like my customers. They are faithful. And they are characters”. 80 % of her customers are Chinese and most of them are 35 years old women with a strong temper. They look for a minimalist style and wants to buy a cloth produced in few samples and perfectly made. Mushi offers a very specific cut and a quick made-to-measure clothes: “My goal is to highlight women. I do simple design, everything is in the cut. I love marking waist, bustiers, full pants, small details, modern interpretations of Mao collars”. At Mushi, there is almost no colour, mostly black and white: “The Chinese teach me to like red”. Natural fabrics, for summer, linen and cotton and for winter, leather, silk and wood.
“Mushi woman is a multifaceted woman”. Changing moods every seasons, Caroline finds inspiration in the feeling of the moment: “I get in a movie and I create a screenplay. This season, it’s a childhood flash back”. But she was always inspired by Beijing, she sometimes names: “Pékin” this city, so full of contrasts is my home town, I can feel it. And I don’t want to leave it. I really enjoy the dynamism and the colossal size of this city”.
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