Masha Ma's Swarovsky Collaboration

Chinese designer Masha Ma interned with Alexander McQueen while studying at Central Saint Martins and on graduating in 2008 she immediately set up her own eponymous label MASHA MA. It was a bold move but one that has paid off. This season she delivered long pencil skirts and slim-cut trousers paired with more voluminous jackets and blouses in her body-conscious silhouettes. She talks to about her latest collection and her inspirations which includes Alexander McQueen’s early influence on her.

What was the starting point for your Autumn-Winter 2013 Collection?

Fashion is at least three-dimensional. I start the design thematically. The research, texture, and the selection of the color palette are done at the same time. The collection is called “Jardin d’hiver” or Winter Garden and the concept was to imagine my woman as the garden itself. The shattered ice, frozen flowers (individual and bunches), crystalized snowflakes, all elements together summoned a fragile femininity, yet purity.

How has this collection evolved from last season’s?

I put much more effort into construction and simplified silhouettes this time around. The Masha Ma woman becomes more defined in her sense of style. Having a professional international team, regarding process of production, styling, casting and show presentation, has improved the whole image and quality of the collection.

There is always a lot of white in your collections.

It is always the best color to show your cut. It has a purity and offers endless possibilities. But while there are some monochrome looks, when you look into the whole collection you will see a colorful palette corresponding to the chosen theme. This season, along with white, there is a series of selective yet polychrome shading colors referencing the coldness of a winter garden, with a radiance of blues, and prints in misty blues of cracked ice.

In this collection there is a lot of attention to details, with tone-on-tone embroideries.

Beadings and embroideries take more importance each season to bring out a sophisticated figure and show a depth in the fabrication. This season, we used graphic-shaped laser-cut organic glass to give a modern expression of snowflakes and more than 130 kinds of sewn-on stones in different colors added around to show a low-key transition effect. Embroideries with more than a million stitches enable people to feel the layer and finishing of the garment.

Tell me about your collaboration with Swarovski and the design process.

The Swarovski Elements added the exact quality we were looking for during the process of design. Hundreds of crystals, corresponding to the collection’s theme ‘Jardin d’hiver’, have leveled up the finishing of the collection. The collaboration with Swarovski has given me solid support to express the modern femininity in my mind. (To see more on the collaboration, click on the slideshow)

You also mixed fabrics.

The conflict and mixture of various delicate fabrics always brings me new ideas and shows a more vivid of image of the Masha Ma MA woman.

Who is this Masha Ma woman?

It could be any elegant and brave woman who speaks for herself. Never shouting for attention but never silent.

What does this collection say about you as a designer?

I hope it has shown my faith in women and fashion; everlasting exploration in women’s femininity and strong will of improvement.

What inspires you in general?

Art, music, and literature.

What else are you working on now?

We will present MA by MA STUDIO AW13-14 in mid-April. It will be a succession of the main line but younger, more casual, and warmer.

What is one design signature that stands out in your work?

Modern tailoring on coats and jacket, pencil skirt with flare.

What was it like to work with Alexander McQueen?

It was a very inspired period. Working with a mature team, I learned much experience regarding organization and professional skills of cutting and tailoring. I got familiar with the operations mode of a designer studio there, which benefits me a lot running my own studio.

What’s your best fashion memory?

First time I saw Lee (Alexander McQueen) walk in his studio on a sunny day’s afternoon.

Three words or phrases that describe your personal style.

Modern elegance, femininity, sophistically bold

Favorite fashion designer?

Out of all the designers I have met in persons until now? Alexander McQueen.

But if you could meet a late couturier?

Cristóbal Balenciaga

Do you collect anything?

“Alice in Wonderland”, from all publishers and in all editions

How do you define luxury?

It’s something that enriches people, not only by its actual value but also a sense of belonging and satisfaction.

As first published on