Ricostru: Interview & F/W18 Backstage

April 10, 2018 9:00 AM

In Italian, ‘Ricostru’ means ‘reconstruction,’ but designer Rico Manchit Au was constructing an entirely new notion of designer Chinese fashion when she launched her label in 2011. While her home country may be synonymous with mass clothing production, China was not considered a place with fashion designers. Rico was ready to change that.

After studying fashion design at Istituto Marangoni in Italy, she returned to Guangzhou to take advantage of the local factories and garment industry. Since the beginning, fashion publications raved about her designs, and by 2016, Giorgio Armani selected her to show at his Armani Theater during Milan Fashion Week, making her the first Chinese womenswear designer ever to do so.

Her designs are equally forward-looking, combining minimalism with futuristic cuts and transparent fabrics. Understanding that everything evolves, Rico grounded her latest collection in black but with iridescent shifts into blue and yellow, silver and orange. The lines of coats, dresses, and skirts are fluid and unconventional.

Rico sees each collection as an evolution of her preferences and style, and before she gets too far in the future, TWELV chatted with the designer about breaking boundaries, finding inspiration, and anticipating what’s to come:


After finishing school in Italy, why did you decide to move back to China to start your brand?

When I came back, I found there was a lot of opportunities for designer brands because at that time I didn’t find any designer brands that made me excited. I felt like it was the right moment to start my brand. I still remember when I visited the Beijing market, I could see international designer brands, and there were no Chinese designers, and I thought, ‘Why don’t I just try?’ At the beginning, I didn’t plan much about my brand. I just felt like I needed to try. So it was very brave for me because at that moment I didn’t see any successful business model for Chinese brands.

So without such a model, what do you think allowed your brand to become successful?

I started at the right time. We don’t have much designer brand knowledge from the market, so it was really the right timing to show [customers] how designer products could be. I got lots of interest from media like Vogue or Elle. They supported me from the beginning. And also I got a lot of experience managing my brand from China. I started from zero, but also the market started from zero. The media saw me growing, and the supply chain knows me from the beginning. It’s like we grew up together. Now we have a really strong foundation for the brand and product development.

How has China’s fashion industry developed?

In this moment, there are a lot of designer brands coming up, and the traditional brands are starting to change. Lots of customers are very focused on how design can change their lives in China. They go to shop, read the magazines, go online, and they really enjoy getting fashion news. They feel like their lives are going to change, and real life in China is already changing, so they are more focused on brand’s image and quality rather than price. That is totally different from three years ago.

How do you deal with this emerging competition?

I have my own foundation for the market especially for my style. It’s more minimal, and we are still very unique. We have to push ourselves to constantly learn more, and that makes me very excited. It’s not only about designing. When I was studying, how to make a collection or garment was the basic or easier part for me. How to manage a brand is more difficult. We are still learning this lesson. 

What did it mean to you to be the first Chinese womenswear designer to show at the Armani/Teatro?

That was very important moment in my career. When I was studying in Italy, all my teachers and friends told me Armani was their hero. When I first heard [I was chosen], I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know he was choosing anyone. It was like I went back to Italy to restart my career. As the first Chinese womenswear designer it gave me lots of honor, and since then lots of customers know about me.

Perhaps Armani is one of them, but what designers or artists inspire your work?

When I was studying, Jil Sander inspired me to do minimalistic clothing. Before I knew about her collections, my mind was in a totally different world. I always liked to play with layers and colorful patterns because I still didn’t know who I was at that time. As a student, I wanted to play more rather than less. But since I went to school and learned of Jil Sander, I felt that was the style that was suitable for me, especially after I tried on her clothes. [There are] lots of languages inside the minimal world. But still I feel like nature is very important inspiration for me. It’s not only how can you do clothing but how can you feel the world and feel yourself, and this is always the strongest inspiration for my collection.

How did nature inspire your latest collection?

The latest collection is very emotional. I am telling the story of a strong woman. She is lost in imagination, so she is acting different than how she acts every day. That is all about our natural feelings as a woman, so it’s also connected to nature. We have to face very natural parts of ourselves, so we can create a different world in our mind. That is the very meaning of our lives.

What kind of woman do you imagine wearing your designs?

I imagine the woman who has very strong personality and maybe she is a bit tough, yet she loves art and she loves music. In my mind, it’s always rock.

I love how your designs play with silhouettes. How do you go about re-inventing a traditional cut?

I always imagine I am a strong woman, and so I like to play with things like suits or traditional leather jackets. I like the shape of it, but I want to redesign. I like to use transparent or soft materials on strong silhouettes, and when I do the design I always think about how to balance it. It always gives me inspiration to do the reinventing on the cut.

How is the “translucent color sensation” a symbolic design language of the brand? What draws you to sheer, translucent fabrics?

It’s also related to how I feel about nature. For example, I really like Iceland because I feel it’s kind of futuristic. And when I think about futuristic things, the colors and fabrics are always minimal, pure, so I love to use some reflective and transparent fabric to tell this story. I think that is my design language.

What do you see in the future for you and your brand?

I’m planning for my brand to be an international designer brand. We are moving in that direction. We showed in Milan, and we are planning to have our showroom in Europe and the United States. I hope my brand is from China, but is an international Chinese brand.







related posts

Spencer Ludwig, Nina Agdal, Tyson Ritter

Thursday Boot Company NYFW S/S18 Launch Party

Comfort, performance and style are seldom co-habitants when it comes to footwear.

September 14, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Fashion


KIMIKO Exclusive Interview / Fashion Story "Kimiko" is now available!

September 14, 2017 2:00 PM  |  Fashion

Namilia NYFW S/S18 Ready-to-Wear

Berlin-based design duo Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl have stuck to their guns and carved out a niche for their relatively young label ...

September 14, 2017 11:00 AM  |  Fashion
Video Still from TWELV's "Freedom" by Enisa

"Freedom" Enisa x TWELV VIDEO

“FREEDOM" ENISA x TWELV video is now available!


September 08, 2017 12:00 PM  |  Fashion

TWELV Magazine NYFW SS18 Party @Better Days

To celebrate the anxiously awaited September moment– New York Fashion Week SS18– TWELV Magazine held it's biannual NYFW party at "Better Days," the newly reopened Lower East Side location...

September 08, 2017 10:00 AM  |  Fashion


Elodie Yung Exclusive Interview / Fashion Story "Elodie Yung" is now available! 

Check inside for the Full Page Editorial.

September 07, 2017 10:00 AM  |  Fashion
Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent © DR

The Legacy of Yves Saint Laurent to be Honored at New Marrakech Museum

Yves Saint Laurent is not the first to call Morocco muse, but the legacy of his interweaving the North African nation’s vibrant aesthetic into European fashion continues to this day,...

September 02, 2017 11:00 AM  |  Fashion

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" Behind the Scenes Video

"CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF A THIRD KIND"  behind the scene video is now available! 

View the video on the right and check inside for the Full Page Editorial.

August 31, 2017 11:00 AM  |  Fashion

Fashion Story "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"


Check inside for the Full Page Editorial.

August 25, 2017 12:00 PM  |  Fashion

TWELV Magazine Celebrates Hissa/CHAMA's Birthday @Public Hotel

TWELV had the pleasure of celebrating the birthday of Editor-in-Chief Hissa/CHAMA Igarashi at the Public Arts space...

August 24, 2017 4:00 PM  |  Fashion

Fashion Story "Ane Amour"

FASHION STORY “Ane Amour" is now available! 

Check inside for the Full Page Editorial.

August 21, 2017 11:00 AM  |  Fashion
TM & © 2017 CBS Studios Inc. STAR TREK and related marks are properties owned by CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Gucci F/W2017 Collection Explores Strange New Worlds

Boldly going where no fashion house has gone before, Gucci launches its latest Fall/Winter 2017 collection with a full-on...

August 14, 2017 12:00 PM  |  Fashion

Giuseppe Zanotti X Jennifer Lopez Second Collaboration

After a successful first collaboration, Italian luxury footwear designer Giuseppe Zanotti and ...

August 04, 2017 4:00 PM  |  Fashion

TWELV Magazine Party "Summer Soirée" @Kola House

As the Men's New York Fashion Week came to a close, TWELV hosted a party for everyone in need of an unwind during this blistering summer.

August 01, 2017 4:00 PM  |  Fashion

Dior F/W2017 Haute Couture Collection

It's impossible to overestimate the impact of Christian Dior's first collection when it was shown in Paris in 1947.

July 31, 2017 8:00 AM  |  Fashion

Louis Vuitton Recruits Jaden Smith & Sophie Turner for Series 7

Unveiled earlier this month, Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter 2017-2018 campaign continues to impress as the brand remains...

July 27, 2017 8:00 AM  |  Fashion

Miu Miu F/W2017 Campaign Starring Kate Moss and the Aboah Sisters

The Miu Miu Girl has always been bolder and sexier than her patrician elder sister, the Prada Girl.

July 25, 2017 2:00 PM  |  Fashion

Just Cavalli F/W2017 Collection

In releasing its latest campaign, Just Cavalli has teamed up with...

July 24, 2017 2:00 PM  |  Fashion

René Caovilla F/W2017 COLLECTION

Italian designer René Caovilla has tapped into a new kind of sensual feminine energy with the launch of...

July 18, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Fashion

Rihanna x Manolo Blahnik Final Collaboration, #SoStoned

For their third and final collaboration, Manolo Blahnik and Rihanna have released the...

July 18, 2017 12:00 PM  |  Fashion

Beau Souci Fashion Story "Beautiful Worries"

BEAU SOUCI FASHION STORY “Beautiful Worries" is now available! 

Check inside for the Full Page Editorial.

July 17, 2017 10:00 AM  |  Fashion
Veronika Brusa, Berenik Creative Director

Berenik Opens Soho Boutique & Talenthouse with Dance

Last week, genderless Swiss fashion label Berenik celebrated the opening of its New York City boutique and Talenthouse at 419 Broome...

July 17, 2017 9:00 AM  |  Fashion

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Andrew Bolton, Head Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute...

July 05, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Fashion

MIU MIU "ROOM303" BY Alasdair McLellan

By emulating an all familiar, oversaturated photographic aesthetic—those snaps of friends in the club, a family packed in a restaurant booth, an evening traversing the city, or an illuminated sea...

June 27, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Fashion

Nomos Glashütte Aqua Series Watch Collection

Independent German watchmaking house Nomos Glashütte has just released the...

June 26, 2017 11:00 AM  |  Fashion

Roberto Cavalli F/W2017 Campaign Starring Eva Herzigova

With the launch of Roberto Cavalli’s Fall/Winter 2017 campaign comes a bold retelling of the classic Italian love affair.

June 20, 2017 1:16 PM  |  Fashion

3.1 Phillip Lim Fashion Story "3.1"

FASHION STORY “3.1" is now available! 

Check inside for the Full Page Editorial.

June 12, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Fashion


VIDEO STORY “LIFE GOES ON" is now available! 

View the video on the right and check inside for the Full Page Editorial.

June 09, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Fashion

Giuseppe Zanotti F/W2017 Collection “Le Rouge Et Le Noir”

Italian designer Giuseppe Zanotti delivers a refreshing dose of dichotomy with the introduction of his Fall/Winter 2017 campaign.

June 02, 2017 11:00 AM  |  Fashion

Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons: The Power of Icons

An L and a V. The combination of these two letters has become one of the most widely recognized trademarks in the world, let alone the fashion world.

May 30, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Fashion

“Who is Gabrielle?” #GabrielleChanel

Everyone knows Chanel 2.55, the bag famously created by Gabrielle Chanel in February 1955 and named after the month and year of its birth.

May 01, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Fashion


Fashion meets design in the conceptual Nendo x Jil Sander Capsule Collection debuting during Milan Design Week.

April 26, 2017 2:00 PM  |  Fashion



Check inside for the Full Page Editorial.

April 24, 2017 2:00 PM  |  Fashion

Tiffany & Co. New HardWear Collection with Lady Gaga

Last year, TWELV introduced the new Tiffany & Co. “Legendary Style” series.  The campaign series began in Fall 2016, and featured Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and actress Elle Fanning...

April 21, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Fashion


Interview / Fashion Story

"CLAIRE DE REGGE" is now available!

Check inside for the full page of editorial

April 20, 2017 2:00 PM  |  Fashion


The runway is a facade for designers to stage their vision, the strictly choreographed back-and-forth of models shinning a never-ending flow of clothes.

April 17, 2017 1:00 PM  |  Fashion


SITE BY: monocomplex©Marbles & Marbles International Inc. Drupal Development by: DivDiv, NYC
▲ back to top ▲