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Maria Loizou

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Meet the Makers | 15 Minutes with Rui Jiang

Karen Millen is collaborating with botanical artist Rui Jiang. Working closely together to create an exclusive one-of-a-kind collection, Rui’s prints have been transposed and artfully placed onto exquisitely designed clothing.

More than just a traditional floral print, Rui's creations came from her adoration of flowers in Britain, as she immortalises them through incredible watercolour images, often stemmed from buds studied and grown in her own home. With a particular passion for violas and roses, the designs and cut of each piece are crafted to complement the relevant print muse – showcasing in-depth, considered creations.

Enhancing the beauty of walking art, botanical beauty and signature Karen Millen style, this limited run collection is something truly special.

In an exclusive behind the scenes interview based in Rui’s studio in London, we spoke with the artist on her inspiration, ingenious unique work, and how she’s worked with us on this collaboration.

Rui Jiang

Describe this collection in three words.

Enchanting, renaissance and floriculture.

Where did your interest in botanicals begin?

In 2004, on the day that I first landed in this country, I visited a seaside town in Kent called Broadstairs. I had never seen people so passionate about their garden before! The beautiful flowers arranged by the local people inspired me to understand more about plants.

Tell us about the flower that most fascinates you.

I have always been passionate about the Violaceae family (violas). This is not only the stories behind the plants, but also their small flowers that enchant us from every corner of the garden with their extraordinary colour palettes.

What most inspires you?

The character of each plant, their colour and the unique form.

Explain the process of your work.

I always work from live specimens. Observation and sketch books are my most key components to complete each botanical painting.

Rui Jiang Microscope

What initially enticed you to collaborate with Karen Millen?

The idea of using botanical paintings on fabric, to combine the scientific drawings with fashion.

Which part of the overall design experience has most resonated with you?

The way your designers have given life to the paintings, it’s almost as if they’re floating on the fabric.

What have you most enjoyed about this collaboration?

The design process, communicating and collaborating on the project - and most of all, the style!

Share which piece of the collection is your favourite/you’re most excited to see.

I truly love all the pieces, it’s hard to choose which is my favourite as they all have different looks and unique designs.

What’s next for you as an artist?

I will be carrying on painting for the RHS Botanical Art and Photography Show, as well as my work for the exhibition at Woburn Abbey and Gardens. Also, I am extremely passionate about roses and would love to paint all the roses in my garden collection.

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