MALAN BRETON will be a name millions are familiar with Stateside, but here in the UK, not so much. What we are well acquainted with, however, at Vogue HQ is the interest in his eponymous fashion label online from all corners of the globe - so who is the man behind the brand?
Born in Taiwan in 1973, Breton is a man of many talents. Having started his career as an entertainer (he has performed on Broadway in New York multiple times), he moved on to pursuing a modelling career in the Big Apple. Styling soon followed and, after dressing some of the world's most famous stars (Kylie Minogue and Linda Evangelista among them), he started to develop his eponymous label in 2003.
Thanks to his cross-connections in the entertainment and fashion industries, the designer (who is self-taught, although pursued an apprenticeship on Savile Row at Turnball & Asser in the Nineties to cut his tailoring teeth) was approached to be the subject of a reality-television program, The Malan Show. Screened on the Bravo channel, the hit series followed the early days of his career and the opening of his brand, the final episode culminating in his debut fashion show in Bryant Park (which explains his extensive fanbase).
"Why my brand first launched in 2003, it was a very small collection, with more gowns and dresses," softly spoken Breton explained to us of the early days and his quick rise to fashion fame. "Shortly after, I took a year off after that and relaunched in 2005 mostly designing evening gowns for celebrity clients, people like Ariana Grande, Scarlett Johansson and Martha Plimpton, and then I launched menswear, which proved really popular - I am very lucky as I had many male followers."
Appearances on cult TV shows - such as Project Runway and America's Next Top Model - ensued, making Breton a familiar face on television screens all over America and, in parts, the world. But, more than just show he was agile when it came to his CV, he also wasn't afraid to shake up his fashion-show format by doing what many fashion houses are switching to now: presenting co-ed shows.
"I think there should be a synergy of the two sexes," he explained of his preferred format. "It’s important that men have an opportunity to enjoy fashion too with clothes that are colourful and playful, but are still very masculine."
Fast forward 12 years since his relaunch and he's still blending his talents for entertaining and designing fashion with his famously theatrical shows. Just last week in LA, he presented a 3D, cinematic experience to present his autumn/winter 2017 collection, focusing on the Seven Deadly Sins - a theme he chose because it resonated with events around the world: "There is so much to learn from the past. We should learn and be more aware," he explained.
The future is onwards and upwards - and very much focused on making his name a UK household one, just like it is in America and the Middle East (the latter of which goes mad for Breton's unusual colours, textures and silhouettes). With his ready-to-wear collections already stocked on Amazon and Net-A-Porter, he is launching his first cosmetics line in the UK in early summer and has his first collection of bags dropping in Liberty London later this year. Judging by his track record, after that who knows?
"We’re not recreating the wheel, but I really do love the fashion industry," Breton soothed when asked what inspires him to keep working. Based on his phenomenal success, the humble Breton can bet that the feeling is mutual.