The name Porcelain may suggest delicacy, but the target woman for the new line from designer Olivia Ma Corwin and her business partner and sister, Kai Ma Wilson, is far from fragile.
For Porcelain, Ma Corwin culled inspiration from the Oscar-nominated movie “Inglourious Basterds” and post-World War II Berlin, resulting in structured and fitted military looks softened with feminine details from lace to beading and embroidery on epaulets.
“I conceived Porcelain as being the yin and yang, and the opportunity for it to create harmony,” the designer said.
Beyond the film, Ma Corwin didn’t have to look too far for inspiration. After immigrating to the U.S. more than 20 years ago from Taiwan, her mother, Emily Ma, started a business making knits. Ma Corwin had her initiation with Kwigy-Bo, the line of dog accessories she started in 2000 and will continue to work on.
Key looks in her new contemporary line include a thermal blouse softened with ruffles, a plaid dress with an Edwardian shoulder and military cape jackets.
“I thought about my lifestyle, where it was and how I shopped,” Ma Corwin said. “I wanted something that could be an impulsive buy. I wanted to be able to build a wardrobe without having to spend too much money.”
Wholesale price points are $36 to $72 for tops, $59 to $119 for dresses, $36 to $60 for pants, $63 to $103 for skirts and $75 to $238 for jackets. The first-year sales projection for the line is $1 million.
As for the name, “I wanted it to have that reminiscence of my Asian heritage,” Ma Corwin said. “People could perceive [us] as these delicate porcelain dolls, but we are not. We are also American and the Western influences have shaped us.”