Singaporean 22-year-old fashion artist Grace Ciao has brought pleasant surprises to the world with her breathtaking illustrations that transform flower petals into amazing dresses worthy of any runway! Inspired by a pure hope to preserve the beauty of flowers, Grace came up with a series of stunning designs that are truly unconventional and remarkable. Join us as we share our interview with this talented artist and her romantic work below!
1.Tell us about yourself!
Grace Ciao: I am currently a full-time undergraduate at the National University of Singapore (NUS), majoring in business administration. Presently, I’m also a fashion illustrator and my style mainly involves utilizing markers and water colours to construct my designs. Recently, I started conceptualizing creative fashion outfits by integrating real flower petals into my sketches, and I am truly encouraged by the positive reception to the designs that I have posted online! The affirmative response to my works has further motivated me to venture deeper into this fun area.
2. What sparked your interest in fashion?
Grace Ciao: I have always loved fashion designing since I was young. Throughout my childhood, I was wildly fascinated by the many unique get-ups featured in runway shows on TV, and subsequently began drawing several of these inspiring designs in my sketchbook. At 7, I started creating miniature dresses for my Barbie dolls with the scrap cloth given to me by my grandma! Having studied dressmaking on my own, I am aware of the basic techniques behind putting an outfit together.
3. How did your floral-inspired sketches start?
Grace Ciao: Interestingly, my blending of flowers with fashion stemmed from a purely accidental episode. It so happened that I was working on one of my illustrations one day and a semi-wilting rose on my desk caught my attention. It was really pretty initially and I found it a pity that its beauty was so short-lived. It was then that the idea of immortalizing their elegance struck me. Wanting to preserve their beauty, I quickly began adding them to the illustrations I was composing and to my most pleasant surprise, they turned out pretty decent!
4. What are your favorite flowers to work with?
Grace Ciao: Working with flower petals is really thrilling, even more so because I am a fervent lover of nature and its spectacular landscapes. Every type and subtype of flower has petals that are unique in their own way, in terms of the shape, size, colour, and pattern. Usually, I explore the textures and patterns of my selected petals, then quickly sketch a design. My featured designs range from everyday wear, to bridal dresses and haute couture. I especially love working with flowers that embody different shades of each colour. Some examples would be lilies and carnations. They have inspired me to create prints which I otherwise would not have thought of. I think petals work really well for illustration because their delicacy and exquisiteness mimic those of a soft fabric. For instance, the gentle, fabric-like quality of roses allows me to create folds for flare skirts.
5. Other than flowers, do you work with other materials?
Grace Ciao: While flowers form the main premise of my projects these days, I have also started playing around with other materials. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with embellishments like crystals and rhinestones in my illustrations.
6. What’s next for you professionally?
Grace Ciao: My dream is for my fashion illustrations to materialize in reality. This is why I usually contemplate the feasibility and appeal of my designs assuming they emerge in clothing lines and retail shops. Therefore, while I try to be as imaginative as I can, I do consider the element of realism in my projects as well.
I’m thinking of going to fashion school sometime after graduating from NUS and I hope to get a scholarship! In 5 years’ time, I aspire to have established a private label. It is my dream to see my creations exhibited on the runway. Right now, I’m thinking of concentrating on haute couture.
At the present moment I have a few collaboration requests and I’m really heartened that people are noticing and recognizing my work. It is with an eager and gratified heart that I would like to continue sharing my designs and ideas with people from different parts of the world.
7. Any advice for emerging young artists?
Grace Ciao: “Joy is a flower that blooms when you do“. This quote encapsulates what I firmly believe in: investing in my interests and strengths, and allowing the joy that follows to envelop me.
I am genuinely happy that I acted on my penchant for design. If not for that, I would not be where I am today. I strongly encourage budding artists to fearlessly pursue their passion for art, because it is fast becoming a universal form of self-expression and communication in today’s world. Starting out may be fraught with challenges, and this was the same for me, but that sense of gratification and bliss when your effort is acknowledged and endorsed – it’s inexplicably overwhelming and makes you realize that all that you’ve dedicated to your passion is worth it!
Find Grace Ciao Designs: