EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES By Lena Juan
Lena grandmother embroidered clothes for the Imperial Court in China back in the early 1900s. Then communism arrived, frowned upon the elaborate art, and redirected the family sewing gene into the more prosaic manufacture of Maoist clothing.
Three generations on, those repressed skills have been revived, influencing Lena’s career as a fashion designer in Britain. Her delicately embroidered garments, drawing on traditional Chinese styling, are a hit with her largely western clientele.
Coming to Britain gave Lena and her daughter Michelle, who is studying fashion, the opportunity to infuse Chinese traditional dress with western styles and ideas.
For Lena it is important that the knowledge passed through the generations is continued despite no longer being in China.