The Chinese have a saying: The sweet scent of Plum Blossom is made from harsh winter.
I caught the plum blossoms just in time in Beijing. Not just plum blossoms, but thousand flowers bloomed and faded within a week or two. It was a sobering reminder that life is transient. At that point, I also had a sudden connection with the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. It was not true to say that the Chinese didn’t appreciate imperfection like the Japanese–through my study of the evolution and standard of beauty, I’ve come to realise that many a time in history, what’s imperfect became a widely imitated trend. From the trend of painting scar-like pattern at the side of one’s temple, to the making of a outer blouse with different types of scrap fabrics sewn together.
Last weekend we interviewed plentiful of people from all backgrounds, from beauty queen to PhD candidate, from doctor to primary school or kindergarten teachers, from someone who knew nothing about Chinese culture to someone who told us much more than we can ever hope to learn about it. It was both humbling and inspiring to have met these people through Project Hanfugirls. Nobody knows how far this project would go, but I think we would have fun at the end of the day, and that’s enough for me.
It’s a project one year in the making by the time we perform, and I don’t think I would ever be ready. I foresee sleepless nights, stressful rehearsals and crazy rush for time during make-up sessions. But I think the product will be something quite different from what people would expect from girls wearing traditional Chinese dresses. And thus, the scent of Plum Blossoms would emerge after this harsh winter of preparations.
I am actually thinking of organising a shooting trip to China with the lot sometime next year! I think it would be quite breathtaking!
I think Project Hanfugirls II would be probably me listing my traveling calendar, and inviting anyone interested to join me on a photoshoot spree in Hanfu across China.
It only gets better.