Born in Canton, China, Vivienne Tam moved to Hong Kong when she was three years old. Since then, the dynamic combination of cultures in the then British colony has been the essence of her signature East-meets-West style.
Always interested in fashion, and with a degree from Hong Kong Polytechnic University-- a pioneer in fashion training in Asia—- in her pocket, Vivienne Tam moved to New York. As a young designer she thrived in the excitement and eclectic energy of the Big Apple and its fashion world.
In 1994, Vivienne Tam made her debut on the New York runway with her signature collection of Eastern inspired clothing with a modern edge. In 1995, she introduced the influential “Mao” collection that triumphantly crossed over from the fashion world into the art world. This was followed by the Venerable Buddha collection, the Bhutan and Miao collections, and more recently the spring/summer Peony collection of 2009 and the spring summer Butterfly Lovers collection of 2010. Last month saw the critically acclaimed 2011 fall/winter Chinese Zodiac collection.
Her work has been added to the permanent archives of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, The Museum of FIT and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
In 2000, Judith Regan Books at HarperCollins published VIVIENNE TAM CHINA CHIC, Vivienne's fashion memoir and love letter to Hong Kong, China and East meet West culture, that broke new ground in fashion writing and book design. Reprinted in 2008, China Chic is now available in paperback.
Through her innovative explorations of color, texture and cut, Vivienne offers women inspiration in the wearing. Constantly searching for new themes in Chinese art, history and culture, Vivienne explores sources that range from Ming dynasty bird and flower painting to Chinese contemporary art, from terracotta warriors to Red Guards, from mountain landscapes to the flying Bodhisattvas of Dunhuang.
The resulting mix suggests “tolerance, global acumen, and a Fourth of July faith in individual expression,” what fashion critic and curator Richard Martin of the Costume Institute called an “idealistic globalism that transcends politics and offers a more enchanted, peaceful world.”
Continuing to embrace new audiences and media, Vivienne Tam has contributed designs to the Stardoll website, and partnered with Platinum Guild International for the world debut in China of Platinum Wedding by Vivienne Tam. She has participated as designer and panelist at the DIFFA Vibrant design Forum. In 2008 she helped Hong Kong Disneyland celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Mouse with a Chinese New Year costume for Mickey and Minnie and a line of high fashion, and in 2009 she produced a series of one-of-a-kind Panda dresses to be auctioned off at a Save the Pandas Gala dinner in Beijing.
Vivienne Tam has made a career of exploring the creativity and positive energy that comes from mixing people and cultures. Whether its East and West, or Fashion and Technology, she proves that harmony can always be found—often where you least expect it.
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