TWO WORLDS COLLIDE
Posted On 15.07.2020
LIONEL’S INTEREST IN DESIGN began back in primary school when he was a big fan of Japanese anime such as ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ and ‘Sailor Moon’. He was fascinated by the characters’ magical transformations and would often draw the characters and make changes to their outfit with embellishments and different fabrics. He even went on to give them complete new looks and create storyboards with these characters engaged in battles.
“ALL THE GLITZ AND GLAMOUR, RIBBONS AND FEATHERS JUST BLEW MY MIND AWAY. IT WAS SO FUN!”
Lionel recalls being the atypical boy at school, where instead of playing soccer or throwing erasers at girls, he hung out with the girls and talked about anime and fashion. But it was when he first watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2005 did his interest in fashion peaked.
LION EARL is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Lionel and Brand Director, Hariz Lim (who has a background in architecture). The duo met during their national service and hit it off as soon as they discovered that they both studied design. While they were wondering whether they could work together, the Parco next NEXT incubation project came along and they decided to give it a shot.
For their Spring/Summer 2013 collection, Lionel and Hariz were inspired by the iconic Tron films by Disney. The designers attempted to bring the futuristic, and surreal sci-fi setting of the films into their clothes: pairing their signature architectural silhouettes with fluid symmetrical digital prints.
During their presentation at Audi Fashion Festival (AFF) 2013, Lionel and Hariz ended their show with a one-piece only gown, just like they did the year before. According to Lionel, at every LION EARL show, the protagonist grows as the show progresses and when the last model walks down the runway with the finale gown, it marks the end of the story where the woman is most beautiful.
“(THE GOWN) IS ALSO ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PIECES TO CREATE BECAUSE UNLIKE THE OTHER PIECES, IT’S NOT FAST FASHION OR CLOTHES THAT YOU WEAR EVERYDAY. IT IS A PIECE WITH LOTS OF EFFORT AND TIME PUT INTO.”
Showing at AFF is a dream come true for Lionel. Back in 2007 when AFF was still known as Singapore Fashion Festival, Lionel was one of the backstage assistants putting clothes onto models. Fast forward 5 years, Lionel was given the opportunity to present his collection with Hariz and while the process of the show itself may be one of the design duos’ most memorable moment, the mysterious masking tape stuck onto the finale gown is a close contender for second place.
Lionel summed up his emotions during the 2012 show beautifully:
It’s like you finally spotted that one moment when the garments came alive and kissed you on your cheeks.
Despite being established for more than 2 years, Lionel has yet to personally come across his label worn in public. He is however not upset and describes himself as ‘the chef who will never know who ate his food but who always leave the restaurant with a smile’. When asked who he wants to see most dressed in clothes from LION EARL, he replied with a big grin, ‘I like Rooney Mara’.
POST NOTE: Lionel Low has since left LION EARL to start a new label. LION EARL will continue operations under the leadership of co-founder Hariz Lim.