Malaysian model Gwen Lu walks the runway of Paris Couture Week


Penang-born Gwen Lu was seen strutting her stuff for Balenciaga, which made a monumental return to the Paris couture week since it left in 1967. Photo: Instagram/Gwen Lu

Paris Couture Week kicked off last week for the Autumn/Winter 2021 season. And one of the most exciting moments included the return of Balenciaga, the first since the fashion house left haute couture in 1967.

Malaysian model Gwen Lu happened to just be in the thick of it all. She walked the runway in a gorgeous black dress, as the fashion week opened its doors to physical shows once again.

Read more: Fashion is trying to bring back physical runway shows – can it?

"It was such an honour to be part of @demnagvasalia couture debut [and] grateful for this memorable experience!" commented Penang-born Lu, as she posted a picture and video on Instagram.

The Malaysian beauty has graced numerous fashion magazines and has appeared in international shows before. This however, remains to be extra significant as Balenciaga's return to couture is a monumental occasion.

Current artistic director Demna Gvasalia paid tribute to the late founder, Cristobel Balenciaga. His 63 designs included black tailored pieces, accessorised with swaths of stoles and flowered embroideries.

A Penangite at heart

While Lu has lived and worked in fashion capitals like New York, Paris and London, she has never forgotten her country or home state.

Lu, 37, grew up in mainland Bukit Mertajam, but her family moved to Ayer Itam on the Penang island when she was just seven years old.

"Like every Malaysian child before the internet existed, I grew up playing eraser battle, mulut itik, batu seremban, congkak, masak-masak and board games, " she told Buro247 in a 2016 interview.

She also spoke about her family and how growing up in Penang will be something forever remembered.

"My fondest memory would be our weekly visit to my grandparents in Padang Tembak. They used to run a tiny shop that sells music cassettes, videotape rentals and gold fishes."

Read more: How the Malaysian modelling industry took the pandemic in stride, and survived

Standing at 175cm tall, Lu has walked for notable labels like Kenzo and MGSM before. She has also appeared in various catalogues and advertisements for big beauty brands.

Before Lu relocated to New York back in November 2007, she had done modelling in Malaysia, Singapore and even a two-month stint in Athens. She had her big break when she was approached by one of the world's most prominent modelling agencies.

“During my debut at the Singapore Fashion Fest in March 2006, I was scouted by Roman Young [the then-director of Elite Model Management] who was in Singapore on the lookout for fresh faces, " she pointed out, in a 2009 interview with The Star.

"He approached me after seeing me on a big screen on the streets, which were highlighting runway scenes from the fashion fest.”

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