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Nine to five

By Rebecca Lo | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-28 11:08

Nine to five

Angela Shen,designer for Marco Visconti.Photo by Joyce Yung

Hong Kong label Marco Visconti prides itself on providing flattering silhouettes for professional women. Rebecca Lo chats with creative director Angela Shen.

Angela Shen has the graceful stature and high cheekbones of a Shanghai native. The Hong Kong-raised designer is the embodiment of a stylish professional woman, making her the ideal spokesperson for women's apparel brand Marco Visconti, where she is creative director.

Yet Shen is also a Stanford-trained electrical engineer and formerly marketed semi-conductors for Analog Devices.

"I've always enjoyed designing," Shen says. "And my training allows me to conduct mathematical modeling and data manipulation, which is important for the business side of fashion."Nine to five

She gives an example. There is a general assumption that there is a one-to-one relationship between tops and bottoms: That for every blouse sold, a pair of pants or skirt surely follows. In reality, the proportion is more like three to one, as women tend to change their tops frequently and require more variation from the waist up.

"We offer trousers and skirts that are simple but not too simple," she says. "They match easily."

Shen leads a team of four designers and has overseen every collection since the Hamburg brand founded by Peter Tessner was taken over by a Hong Kong-based design and manufacturing firm in 2011.

"Our company started as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and Marco Visconti was one of the brands we worked with," she says. "When Peter decided he wanted to retire, it was natural that we take over since we already had a good working relationship.

"We purchased the brand and relocated everything to Hong Kong, though we still maintain customers in Europe. Our apparel is available through multi-brand stores in London and Greece."

Tessner named Marco Visconti after the Turin-based architect, who is noted for his work in sustainable design. The label is comprised of ready-to-wear pieces targeted at working women aged 30 to 50 and made from predominantly silky Italian fabrics that feel comfortable against the skin.

"We still work within the box of designing business wear for women but Peter gave us completely free rein when we took over," Shen says. "A large part of my job is sourcing fabrics from all over the world. Our fabrics have always been how we differentiated ourselves."

Marco Visconti uses fabrics from Japan and South Korea as well as those made from sustainable materials such as tencel and its heavier cousin cupro, both from regenerated wood pulp. "We will use sustainable fabrics for certain pieces in our collections," Shen says.

Nine to five

Nine to five

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