Designer Diary: Malan Breton

Photo Credit: Norman Ding
Malan Breton has been verybusy since he appeared on the third cycle of Project Runway. The Taiwan-born, New York-based fashion star is the brains behind his signature label, Malan Breton, as well as Malan Breton Fantôme, Malan Breton HOMME, and Malan Breton Bridal Collections. And while his luxurious designs are sought after by celebrity and royalty alike, the award-winning designer maintains that he creates first and foremost for those who “love an impeccably made garment.” Listen in…
You have been designing clothing since age 11. What inspired you to pick up the pencil then?
My grandmother she was one of the most stylish women I have ever known.
Although you did not formally study fashion, you are self-taught and have trained with top names in the field. Was there someone who really informed your aesthetic?
I think most definitely Paul Cuss at Turnbull and Asser; his insight into fabric, old Savile Row construction, and fit were very influential.
Your tagline states that your clothes are for those who love an impeccably made garment. Why is quality so important to you and your collections?
I think without quality and old-world construction, I would be doing a disservice to my clientele.
After opening a store, you moved into wholesale and opened offices in the Garment District. Why did you decide to keep your business in New York City?
I fell in love with New York City when I first came here to live as a model in the 1990s. It is a place of great inspiration, and a great fashion capital of the world.
Your designs are known for their beautiful fabrics, elegant materials, and intricate details. From where did you develop these signatures?
I started studying fabrics as a boy, having so much glorious inspiration from Taiwan; the beautiful silks and brocades in my grandmother’s garments inspired me greatly.
Your Spring/Summer 2015 collection -“A Journey to Taiwan”-was a return to your roots. What is the inspiration for your Spring/Summer 2016 designs?
The 2016 collection was inspired by the most beautiful resort location I have ever known, Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan.
Is there a design from your Spring/Summer 2016 offerings that is your favorite? If so, why?
I think my favorite pieces from the women’s collection are inspired by Mazu,
and Hakka blue shirts–traditional elements of Taiwan.
Your garments have appeared on countless celebrities, both male and female, including Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, Michael Bublé, Ariana Grande, and Daniel Craig, to name just a few. Is there one celebrity who you have especially enjoyed dressing?
I would have to say that each of my clients has been a dream to dress, but Ariana Grande and her brother Frankie are very dear to me, like family. We all came up at the same time in New York City. I have so many beautiful memories with them.
With countless awards, projects, and collections under your belt, what’s next for Malan Breton?
I like the element of surprise, so…surprise! [Laughs] Stay tuned!
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