Wuhao Curated Shop is at the vanguard of the appointment-only shops sprouting up all over Beijing. It is a
revolution in retail that has as much to do with selling interesting pieces of art and design as it does with setting the
right atmosphere for customers to explore and discover those pieces that are being offered. Isabelle Pascal, the
French born director of Wuhao (who has collaborated with such institutions as the Louvre Museum and the French
National Library,) has been serving up innovative design since the shop opened in mid-2010. She has organized
Wuhao around the Taoist cosmological theory of the Five Elements. Which, to us, seems like the perfect organizing
principle for selling fashion since each of the elements has a corresponding season and color, though the wares at
Wuhao run the gamut from jewelry to furniture, from clothing to installations. Pascal curates each season with the
corresponding element as its theme (i.e.: fire-summer, water- winter.)
She envisions taking the Wuhao brand global, which at the moment exists as an award-winning platform that
supports about 100 Chinese and international artists and designers.
Have you always been creative?
I spent all of my childhood creating choreographies in my parents’ living room. As a
teenager, a few friends and I spent an entire year creating a complete show. I really loved
it because it gave me the opportunity to experiment and to combine different disciplines
(dance, music, costume, decor.)
What artists have inspired you or do you admire?
I think anybody can be an artist.
I had two amazingly elegant and modern grandmothers who both initiated me into beauty and taste. There have
been a lovely series of musicians, dancers and theater actors who have taken me with them into their studios, or
classrooms, or onstage. I had two precious uncles who spent their later years opening the doors of their favorite
libraries, museums, exhibitions, and bookshops for me, and who made me appreciate concerts and operas.
And my mother shares so many fruits from her poetic vision of life .
They are all artists and help me to develop my sensitivity and sensibility.
As for the new generation? We are all in creative industries: a gallerist, graphic designers, product designers,
journalists/writers, a curator, a web project manager, musicians, an artistic director, and artists.
What designers do you love/admire?
Lanvin, Prada, Marni, Rick Owens, Proenza Schouler, Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan, Alexander Wang,
Comme des Garçons, Undercover, to name but a few.
My 2013 Loves, are Chinese designers that I carry now. My latest discovery is Yifang Wan. It was love at first
sight. Also, Qiu Hao for his amazing fabrics (fish skin, fur), and austere eccentricity. It is a very personal way of
doing fashion, and it is just sheer obstinateness to try and resist WUHAO.
Yifang Wan dress and accessories available exclusively at Wuhao
What is your fashion obsession?
I cannot go out without statement rings and sunglasses (which I wear as a hair band.)
They are the first pieces I have asked designers to create specifically for me.
For example, I have 55 rings by Wu Mian, 50 rings by Su Chunrong, and several pieces by Wan Kai Chuang.
I have 55 sunglasses in my collection by Smith & Norbu.
Also, bags and shoes: I have an amazing collection of high heels by Saint Laurent, Dior, and Christian Lacroix.
They are incredibly difficult to wear in Beijing; but they are nice reminders from my time in Paris.
Lily’s wearing: Yifang Wan one of a kind dress & long jacket , Rick Owens boots
Tell us about what the color black means to you.
It is one of my essentials. I love it for its sensual dynamic relationship with white in the Tao (yin-yang) symbol:
White in black, black in white and all in movement.
I love it for being one of the colors in the Five Element system of Tao: Water-Winter, hair, north, deep yin,
wisdom, turtle, floating, black.
If you could fuse Beijing and Paris, what would it look like?
It would without a doubt be an elegant Chinese man in a Lanvin suit, white shirt, and Samuel Gassman cuff-
links, asking for, in a perfect French, his first coffee of the day at Cafe Le Nemours, Place Colette, Palais Royal at 8 am.
Wuhao boutique-cum-art space is located in a traditional courtyard setting and the former residence of the last Empress Wanrong in Beijing, China.
Can you tell us about any future projects that you are working on?
A transformation is on the way. New interpretations, new directions, a new immersive environment will soon be
ready to be experienced. On earth, online, it will be multi-sensual, emotional and atmospherical.
First, from the Moon Festival (Sept. 19) to the end of October: “Autumn Harvest in the Magic Garden”. Then, a
special Beijing Design Week installation: “5 elements, 4 seasons, 1 respiration”
with works by Elaine NG Yanling, Wu Mian, Yifang Wan, Pinwu, Silent Voice, Li Naihan,
Christopher Raeburn, Ground Zero, and Du Yang.
A day to remember…
5.5.10 ( 2010) at mao’er 35 : The mirror, the House, the energy and me…
– Hutong’s, the Dynasty period, Wanrong…
“Yuanfen”, deep love and subtle resonnances…
When are you happiest?
When I find unexpected connections between people, places, and periods of time.
I cherish these subtle resonances. They make me deeply happy.
When love is at the center, distance blurs and time just flies.