During a romantic honeymoon in France, Ulivary's co-founder Sharon met an intriguing new friend: a French-Chinese photography artist named Wang Zhiping. At first, the older man's gray hair and peculiar personality made Sharon a bit uneasy. However, after seeing the beautiful and unique photos he took while they traveled together, she was drawn to his work. Mr. Wang was delighted to invite the young couple to visit his studio, and Sharon was even more impressed when she saw his wall of photographs. They featured a variety of churches and buildings, stone houses, boats moored at dusk, repeated shadows of pedestrians on the streets, and colorful paintings of flowers and birds. The realistic yet dreamlike visual impact left Sharon mesmerized. She was inspired and certain keywords came to mind: French humanism, European architectural elements, and a strong emphasis on color. She thought that incorporating these elements into fashion design would be a bold and innovative idea.
Sharon introduced Ulivary to Mr. Wang and invited him to join as a co-designer for a series of mulberry silk kimono robes. To her surprise, Mr. Wang agreed, saying he wanted more people to be able to see his work. Two of the most creative designs that resulted from this collaboration are:
This extraordinary design seamlessly blends the rich cultural heritage of France with the contemporary world, featuring over 10 photographs of various cities in France such as Paris, Aix, Marseille, and Nice. The stunning palaces and churches captured in the photographs showcase the grandeur of European culture and the history of the French nation. The intricate carvings of domes, doors, and windows transport you to another time and place, while a bustling shopping mall adorned with balloons and ribbons brings you back to the present.
The stitching of this kimono robe is based on a nostalgic old film line stretching combination, with a "cross" at the corner of the back symbolizing Jesus' sacrifice for the redemption of humanity. The large wide sleeve is adorned with the head of a goddess on one side and a small golden sun hanging from a carved window on the other, symbolizing the arrival of love and light. These cultural meanings are rare in a small garment, but the rich colors and natural silky luster of the mulberry silk make these expressions even more vivid.
When Sharon presented the first work to Mr. Wang, his eyes were filled with tears of joy. He said, "French architecture witnessed the history of France, but Jesus and faith witnessed the continuation of human civilization." This kimono robe is not just an ordinary piece of clothing, it is a masterpiece of art, culture, and history.
The true beauty of this series lies in the process of capturing its images. Yes, you heard that right, this is a photographic work, not a traditional oil painting. Mr. Wang, a resident of the small town of Aix in the south of France, often travels to the neighboring city of Marseille for photo shoots. Marseille is a city brimming with interesting sights and one autumn morning, while wandering the streets with his camera, he stumbled upon a pond filled with colorful koi fish from his homeland of China. The sight of the fish brought back memories of his home and the emotions of longing for a place he knew he could never truly return to.
Today, when you wear this mulberry silk kimono robe, the silky and soft touch will remind you of the warmth of home, the colorful printing will be a reflection of your unique self, and the joyful and flexible gesture of the fish will be a symbol of your free soul. Everyone deserves to have their own unique charm and a free spirit.
Trivia: As the first batch of products were being prepared for branding and sales, Sharon couldn't help but wonder, "Given the unique nature of your work, are you worried about consumer acceptance and sales?" Mr. Wang's response was confident and unwavering, "Not in the slightest. I only care about reaching those who truly appreciate the beauty I am expressing. Even if it's just one person, it's worth it for the joy it brings. Beauty and art are always subjective and can only truly be appreciated by those who understand it."
Who is Wang Zhiping?
Wang Zhiping, born in Shandong, China in 1947, was a trailblazer in the photography industry. He has been dedicating his life to photography and art for over four decades, making significant contributions to contemporary Chinese photography and earning the title "the soul of the photography industry in the enlightenment of photography culture in China's new era" in his youth. However, his strict upbringing in China left him feeling suffocated, so after the passing of his first wife, he sought solace in France and fell in love with the beauty of South Provence.
During his 28 years in France, he has captured countless realist photographs and held numerous exhibitions. He holds a deep love for both China and France, but he is a peculiar man. Despite living in France for 28 years, he never learned French, even when he married a French woman and had a mixed-blood son. He always spoke only Chinese and never fully assimilated into the local culture, but his lens never lied, and his works always captured the truest essence of the people and places he photographed.
Now, at the age of 79, with gray hair and a lifetime of experiences, Wang Zhiping continues to push forward, despite the trials and tribulations he has faced. His second wife has been bedridden for over a decade and his artistically gifted mixed-blood son struggles with mental health issues. Despite the struggles, he remains steadfast in his pursuit of beauty and creating works that evoke emotion in others, knowing that this is the persistence and ultimate destination of the artist's life.