Cecilia Kang and Elizabeth Canales-Ron on creating a couture NZFW show

Cecilia Kang x Face Me Make-up

Elizabeth Canales-Ron from Face Me Make-up (left) and designer Cecilia Kang (right) apply the finishing touches on a model in a Cecilia Kang outfit. Image supplied.

Designer Cecilia Kang‘s dramatic designs definitely caught our eye on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week’s Emerging Couture show in 2018. The Korean-New Zealander has a flair for the theatrical and her runway debut was certainly a creative affair. This year she returns to the NZFW runway with her first solo show in partnership with Face Me Make-up founded by Elizabeth Canales-Ron. The pair share an eye for unique and eye-catching design with the decision to collaborate on this year’s show an easy one that they are greatly enjoying.

On Thursday 29th August the culmination of months of the duo’s and their team’s hard work will be showcased on the runway and we caught up with Cecilia and Elizabeth to find out what we can expect from their upcoming show.

What made you decide to do NZFW this year Cecilia and what are you most looking forward to about your solo debut?
Cecilia Kang: I wanted to showcase my new designs that I have been making and I just thought it was the right timing and the perfect platform for me to showcase at NZFW this year with the theme focusing on diversity. I am looking forward to my solo show debut at NZFW 2019 this year and I just want everyone to have a good time, relax and enjoy the fashion show. I really hope everyone comes along, haves fun and celebrates New Zealand Fashion Week.

Can you tell us a bit about what to expect from your show and what inspired the collection you’ll be presenting?
It’s going to be full on ‘Galaxy Extravaganza’, the new collection and solo show by myself and Face Me Make Up team. The collection brings a whole new dimension to our New Zealand audience and it will be quite full on. I was experimenting with different fabric materials that influenced the whole collection. My research led me into the very essence of form and structure of different kinds of fabrics. Suddenly a galaxy became not just about moons, stars and space. My ideas evolved towards the different forms of shape in nature and of non-solids like gas – everything that surrounds us. The Galaxy Extravaganza collection includes all forms of life expressed in artistic detail on my garments. And then ‘extravaganza’ because I am usually dressed quite over the top.

Cecilia Kang x Face Me Make-up

Designer Cecilia Kang.

NZFW is focused on sustainability and diversity this year, what does this mean for you and your label?
I am a zero-waste designer. I work to use every piece of fabric whether it’s a leftover or remnant to create something beautiful as part of the design. I think it’s significantly important that the designers take awareness and take responsibility for the waste which has become one of the most persistent problems in the fashion industry and for our environment around Aotearoa. Fashion has significant influence on our communities and I believe it all starts from within yourself. We should all work hard together towards a fashion industry that is working ethically and sustainably to make better environment.

In terms of diversity, every person’s name is important to them as it represents their culture, life, background, heritage, family, and more. As for my label “Cecilia Kang Couture” it represents my identity as both Korean New Zealander and dedication that I have put into our beautiful country Aotearoa because I believe in diversity (kanorau) and we are all equal. It is also about learning and understanding that each individual is different, unique and knowing the differences.

Every designer needs a supportive team to help them get everything done, can you tell us about your team and the people and partnerships that are helping bring your NZFW show to life?
I have partnered with well-known Auckland mobile makeup team Face Me Makeup, whose credits include editorial and cover shoots for top magazines like Bride & Groom, Remix and Eye, as well as shows and launches for popular brands such as Decjuba, Ballentynes and more.

The Face Me team of freelance makeup artists and hair-stylists has worked in fashion editorial, runway, advertising, film, weddings and more. The brand was launched in 2012 when founder Elizabeth Canales-Ron saw the need for a single platform for creative industries and individuals to easily book hair and makeup services.

The Face Me team will work alongside with me to create an ‘ultra-electric’ look for the runway and the Galaxy Extravaganza collection. We are taking a more creative approach together and Look forward to seeing different incredible looks created for each garment on the runway this year at NZFW 2019.

Nonetheless, I would like to express gratitude and say big thank you to Bintang Models & Management, the executive director Patric Seng for supporting me all the way through this journey, believing me and helping produce this spectacular show along with Face Me Make Up team at NZFW 2019.

Moreover, I would like to say massive thank you to my skincare brand partner Scully’s and Alex Tee for making my dream come true for giving me this amazing opportunity to showcase at NZFW 2019 and my hotel partner Adina apartment hotel Britomart for providing the venues throughout fashion week season.

Cecilia Kang x Face Me Make-up

Designs by Cecilia Kang Couture on the runway at NZFW 2018.

What made you become a designer?
I guess I always wanted to be different and unique. I had a creative eye for it when I was very young. I always liked to style people and seeing your friends dressed fashionably, this was a turning point in my life that I had to start making amazing garments that will stand out in every way possible. So much influence from my friends around me, my mum and I guess the whole fashion sense made me become a fashion designer suddenly.

Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
My personal style is always creating wearable high fashion garments that will look good in real life and in photos. I get lot of inspiration and ideas from what famous people, celebrities wear. I use lot of different accessories and props to make my garments stand out uniquely different from others. Also, it’s all about color scheme, mix and match to create different looks and shapes of different garments. I guess all these combinations are big influences creating new designs of my own collection, of course being experimental all the time.

Where can we find you when you’re not in your workroom and how do you relax?
You will find me playing badminton on the badminton court to keep myself healthy and fit or at a fabric shop looking for fabrics. Playing badminton helps to relax my mind and sets new goals in life.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Highlight of my career so far would be showcasing in the upcoming NZFW 2019.

What is the first thing you’ll do after your show ends?
The first thing that I will do after my show ends will be preparing for an art exhibition which I am showcasing 5 of my garments as a display for a week. Also, I have to prepare for another show in October which is pretty soon. I don’t think I will have time to relax or rest.

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Crop tops.

Cecilia Kang x Face Me Make-up

Elizabeth Canales-Ron founder of Face Me Make-up.

How did your collaboration with Cecilia come about Elizabeth and what has the process been like creating the beauty looks for the show?
Elizabeth Canales-Ron: I came to know of Cecilia last year, as a good friend of ours booked our hair and makeup services for Cecilia’s lookbook to prepare for her New Generation Show at NZFW 2018, I was stunned by the gowns, and immediately knew that we would love to work with her again.

Since then we have worked together on a number of shows and we found that we understand each other creatively very well, and when we opportunity came to do a show together, I jumped at the chance! Who wouldn’t want to design something unique for each of those exquisite gowns right? The process has been great, first understanding the theme of the collection, “Galaxy Extravaganza” I have the photos of the garments and from the beginning I have always had the vision that each gown deserved its own story, just like Cecilia creating with fabric. I have been gathering different elements too for the looks, so we are moving away from the smokey eyes and creating looks with a lot more texture and dimension, think rhinestones, crystals etc.

How do you and your team prepare for an event like NZFW and what do you do to ensure everything runs smoothly on show day?
Luckily we have a team of senior artists who are very experienced, and having everyone’s input is very important since we bring together everyone’s expertise. At the moment I am still creating one look for each gown, but once that is finalised, a face chart will be created, attached with the photo of the model in the gown, and materials they may need will also be sorted for each look (stones etc.) so that everyone gets stuck into it on the day.

What’s your favourite part of working on a live event like runway?
There is always an adrenaline rush getting everyone ready, my favourite part is when everyone is ready to go and you can stand back and see the models finally dressed, and see the whole picture, your walking canvas.

How much time do you spend creating each individual beauty look for runway?
This particular show will take up a little more time than most, in this case after seeing the gown and create something in my head, I will draw up a face chart, then getting the right materials and trying it on a model, to make sure its gonna work. I would say all up about 6 hours on each look.

What beauty trends have you seen recently that we’ll be seeing more of this Spring/Summer season?
The beauty trends that I have seen is that we are definitely moving away from the matte/caked face and moving into, healthy, glowing skin, the “barely there” foundation look, glossy colour popping eyes and a more natural brow, which is brushed up and glossy as well, stay away from the dark defined “insta eyebrows”.

Cecilia Kang x Face Me Make-up

A member of Face Me Make-up’s team applying finishing touches on a beauty look.

Where do you find your inspiration for creating beauty looks?
It varies from time to time, after going right back to basics and re studying Kevin Aucoin’s techniques, at the moment I am totally inspired by Pat McGrath and her work on the runway.

What are your favourite beauty products at the moment?
At the moment I am loving all creamy blushes and highlighters. The creamier the better.

What are your top tips for glowing skin?
Water, water,water. Moisturize day and night, exfoliate once a week and a great moisturizing concealer.

Who is your celebrity beauty icon?
Cindy Crawford, definitely.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There has been so many highlights in my career, my first ever wedding client, my first magazine cover (Bride & Groom Magazine), and runway show, but I think the biggest one was launching Face Me Makeup back in 2012. It was my vision for many years to be the go-to team of hair and makeup artists here in Auckland and then New Zealand, we even launched with our own makeup brand, which we will actually be re-launching in 2020! Very excited about that.

Images supplied.

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