Mandarin & General
Taiwanese-born Peggy Tan is the designer behind Mandarin & General, a contemporary brand that blends traditional Chinese craftsmanship with modern tailoring.
Tan developed an interest in fine art and culture heritage at an early age, surrounded by her father’s work as a painter and Chinese antique dealer. She attended Parsons School of Design as a student in the Interior Department and later formed a successful design studio. This initial path left her feeling unfulfilled, and here Mandarin & General was born.
Tan returned to Taiwan in 2010 and studied under a famous Qipao master team (a rare exception for the team, which only takes apprentices who can commit for 10 or more years). Under the team’s guidance, she learned the intricate fundamentals of Chinese garment making and carried her knowledge back to America. The New York-based Mandarin & General is one of the only brands that continues to use the diminishing craft of Chinese garment making.
Tan’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection (“Opposite Attracts”) extends her vision for the Mandarin & General brand as the distinct juxtaposition of traditional Chinese techniques in a modern context. The collection, fittingly, focuses on the weaving together of opposite ideas. The unique contrasts include Victorian and Cubist, nostalgic and contemporary. The collection includes the Chinese “jin” closure and Eastern garment structure combined with Western tailoring. The rich palette of fabrics ranges from metallic silk Lurex to wool tweed. A highlight of the collection is the “Rose n’ Chain” print, a collaboration with graphic artist Craig Redman that was conceived as a “whimsical take on classic silk scarf motifs,” as described in the press release.
The unusual basis for Mandarin & General in addition to Tan’s design talent and signature aesthetic ensures that the brand has much room to grow and thrive.
Images courtesy of Mandarin & General