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All about fashion with Ivanka Wu

Meeting 1: 14 June 2020

Ivanka Wu is a creative multi-specialist, including fashion stylist, art director, designer and collage artist based in Jakarta, Indonesia and has a strong background in fashion. 

We were delighted to have Ivanka speak to us about her work. During the talk, she shared many of her projects with us and its importance to her career. 

‘The Art of Contradiction’ was a project that refined her style and direction within the industry. I personally found her creative process really interesting; how she initially takes much of her inspiration from visual references, constantly referring back to this to avoid becoming lost. However, through trial and error, the outcome becomes strengthened, due to experimenting with materials and processes, with spontaneous things happening along the way. To add to this, an unplanned crack in fabric within this project resulted in a closer connection to her concept. So even through organising and creating mood boards to clarify ideas, the out come is always something spontaneous. 

Even with a contrast of planned and spontaneous approach in the creating stages, the concepts are usually contrasting as well, so the creative process becomes consolidated. Within ‘The Art of Contradiction,’ beauty and ugliness are mixed together in a very elegant, subtle, perfectly executed way, redefining what beauty is. The idea of beauty has been studied throughout the Renaissance period and early art, and still dominates as a significant topic in contemporary society today.

I was fascinated by the techniques Ivanka adopts, with draping being of great importance to her practice. This meets her intentions of flowing beauty and elegance, but also becomes highly relevant to all art practices. For example, the running of paint and the flow in a poem.

Another series, titled ‘Little Black Dress for Cartier’ created for Icon Magazine references Ren Hang, a Chinese photographer and poet, using the concept of twinning. It is visually strong and powerful, using the harsher properties of flash photography. It is clear to see that Ivanka uses very close attention to detail, creating clean shots. Not only this, but Ivanka explained how especially in the styling, a material’s position can greatly alter the feel of the work. 

Within the styling and art direction, I love the careful placement and arrangement of images and then how the viewer interprets this. To expand upon this, Ivanka compares nature to the human body, perhaps comparing the beauty of the two, exclaiming that beauty is natural and can come within different forms. In the image above, the chin was represented as the vase and the eye as the flower.

Furthermore, I found Ivanka’s styling for brands useful in understanding the role between the creative and the brand, as well as maintaining the balance between adding your personal style whilst meeting the clients needs. Within her work for ‘Sanne studio’ (above) a minimal approach was used with pastel colours. This idea of simplicity of only a few objects and a minimal colour palette is certainly seen across many of her works.

Another way that Ivanka inspired me is again in the process stage: documenting creative ideas in a journal to strengthen personal branding and development, because ideas can happen anywhere at anytime.

Additionally, Ivanka also spoke to us about her collage work. Like her other works, she uses trial and error, with knowledge of composition and balance to meet the concept and appear aesthetically strong. I love the many materials and textures she uses, that are perfectly attuned and balanced within the collage. 

Having reflected upon Ivanka’s work, it is important to note that although Ivanka grew up in a small town during her childhood with limited resources, she now sees this as an opportunity to become more creative as it forces you to use what you have in more open-minded, experimental ways. I think that this is relevant to many now in the current situation, such as photographers using FaceTime shoots to connect with models due to distancing. 

You can check out Ivanka’s work via Instagram @ivanka.wu @vanarte.studio or via behance.net/ivankawu

By Charlotte Dobson