08-01-2006 15:25

Zhang Tian'ai(Flora Zeta) , former ballet dancer and actress, is now one of Hong Kong’s most acclaimed and dynamic fashion designers.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in South America, Flora had a truly international childhood - attending schools in Hong Kong, London, Paris, Russia and the United States.

Life in South America made Flora love dancing very much. At the age of 9, she was selected from among 5,000 children to attend the Royal Ballet School in the UK. She was the first Chinese girl to attend the school.

In 1980, Flora went Hong Kong and performed in a TV musical show as the leading actress in the Miss Hong Kong Pageant entertainment segment. In one night, she achieved success in the Hong Kong entertainment world. She signed contracts for over 20 films immediately, but there were many things she couldn't accept or understand in the entertainment circle. As a result, she left shortly afterwards and went back to London.

At London's Royal Ballet Company, Flora studied dance, costume design, stage direction and theatrical production. It was while studying costume design that she became enchanted by fabrics, and the art of creating something from nothing.

Flora Zeta launched her first clothing line, Pavlova, in 1981. Pavlova was followed by the exotic Tian Art label. She mixes Latin and Chinese inspirations to create the Tian Art collections, inspired by her own life and family roots.

Tian Art boldly combines Brazilian sultriness and style with the opulent glamour of Chinese inspired fabrics, buttons and colors. Defined by irresistible fabrics, a "mix n' match" of patterns, and eye popping colors, Flora's collections are adored by fashion-forward urbanites from London to Shanghai.

As time changes Flora also changes her style. Now her principle syle is comfort. She finds her inspiration in people, and the potpourri of fashions seen on the streets of New York's and London’s SoHo neighborhoods.

In this episode of Up-Close, Flora shares with us her amazing and vibrant life story as well as her philosophy on fashion design, her views on beauty, and her own life philosophy. Please join us!

--Written By He Jieping