25 November 2014

QUT Fashion Graduate Feature: Linda Nguyen - Pacific Mutual Life

Words: Saskia Edwards
Images: Jonathan Rae

David Hockney said, “Anything simple always interests me”. The British artist’s work was part of the underlying influences for Linda Nguyen’s six grad pieces. Particularly, his paintings of luxe Californian, almost Lloyd-Wright-esque, pool images. It’s evident in Linda’s relaxed silhouettes, muted aquatic colour palate and distinctly 60s undertones. And perhaps this is the simple becoming interesting - something like a house, suburban architecture or a pool becoming inspiring. I caught up with Linda after the show.

Can you tell me what you were trying to explore in your collection?

My collection explored 1960s David Hockney - an English painter. And also combination with my Brisbane home Torbreck, which is in Highgate Hill. So it was a combination of David Hockney’s poolside images in California as well as Australian poolside living. So it was a combination of those two elements together.

Can you tell me more about this idea of incorporating your house?

I just moved into my apartment earlier this year and it’s quite kitsch - it’s got a lot of pale blues and it has this sort of Californian feel to it. So that’s how I kind of made that parallel with David Hockney and it has this kidney pool. So that’s where my main inspiration came from, so I did my look book there as well.

What kind of materials did you use to execute that?

I used a mixture of organic as well as artificial materials. It was sort of the artificialness coming from David Hockney’s works and with the more organic materials like linens and cottons they were coming from more suitable for the Australian climate. So it was kind of an odd mixture, but somehow kind of worked in the end. So that was where the materials came from. With the artificial fabrics I used a lot of nylons and polyesters and I used heat setting techniques. 

This is the culmination of three years of study. How has your design evolved?

It’s pretty interesting because in first year and second year you’re always doing something according to a brief so it’s not a huge freedom for you to be fully yourself because there’s industry briefs where you’re making something for a particular client in mind. So it’s kind of adapting with your own aesthetic. But then with final year it’s all about the creative freedom and being able to do whatever you want to do. So it has evolved quite a lot and I feel like most of my creative journey was in my last year, so figuring that out as I went along.

Did you find it a bit of a relief to have that freedom or did you find it difficult without those constraints?

I guess in first and second year I’m just so excited to do my last year and have that creative freedom, but by the time I get there it’s so difficult. Because you’re kind of like - this is your one opportunity to do whatever you want and how do you take that. It evolves so much throughout the year and in industry you’re only working on a collection for a couple of months then it goes into production and you just wrap it up. But here at uni you’re working on it from day one to the end. It evolves so much, you do last minute changes, you hate it, you love it or whatever. So it’s just a roller coaster. 

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