Marie France Van Damme

Founder and Creative Director of Marie France Van Damme Resort & Life Style.

Founder and Creative Director of Marie France Van Damme Resort & Life Style.

Van Damme pioneered the Orient in the early 1980’s when she relocated to Hong Kong to start her manufacturing company specialising in women’s wear. Born in Montreal, Van Damme studied business and then moved to New York to head up one of the first private label businesses dealing with top department stores. In Hong Kong, she developed and manufactured ready-towear products for European retailers. Incorporating her knowledge and experience garnered from designing and producing private label for top retailers, and inspired by her vivacious and cosmopolitan lifestyle, she launched the Marie France Van Damme (MFVD) resort wear line geared towards saavy and sophisticated women. With over thirty years in fashion, Van Damme has created a self-inspired, selftitled line, influenced by her travels, lifestyle and personal style. The line is defined by its versatility with every piece designed to be worn from an afternoon at the beach to an evening out, with each silhouette carefully considered so pieces are wearable yet alluring. The collections have a fluid neutral palette ranging from metallic bronze to gunmetal, silver to gold, beautiful prints and solids in fabrics such as diaphanous silk chiff on and luscious silk sateen, to a weightless jersey. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR MFVD? Cruising along the French and Italian coasts and stopping in wonderful little marinas, I could not find any boutique that offered ‘’resort’’ wear that I wanted to bring home and wear again…everything was always too artisanal, or too colourful for my taste. WHAT DID YOU BRING TO MFVD FROM YOUR EARLIER PROFESSIONAL LIFE THAT HELPED YOU THE MOST IN LAUNCHING YOUR OWN LINE? Being a manufacturer I was aware of the constraints of production; my technical background was a huge advantage. I was designing private label for Marks & Spencer’s and when it came to production, I would be penalised for the slightest technical error. Understanding global shipping logistics was crucial when shipping my own line to buyers such as Harrods, Saks and Bergdorf Goodman. My experience helped me to hone down all aspects of the garment making process; from conception to design to production, and then client delivery. Every step has a unique and considered process and I’m lucky enough to be able to pass that experience on now to my colleagues. WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING ABOUT THE LUXURY RESORT WEAR BUSINESS? People think of you as making swimsuits and only catering to a ‘’summer market’’. It has been very difficult to express the message that ‘’resort wear’’ is not just a collection of swimsuits, but a ‘’lifestyle’’ wardrobe. I wear my clothes day and night and all year around in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bangkok. For winter I have a collection of very lightweight knitted mink sweaters that one can wear in basically every city in the world. WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU? My travels inspire me. Being able to experience beauty in different cultures across the world. I dedicate my life to aesthetics! Be it my home, my office, my collection and my stores! WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU? FOR MFVD? The opening of more stores!


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