A Belgian Girl to Settle down in Xi'an


Caroline is designing a manuscript

In the Tang Dynasty, Chang'an had a population of more than one million, and it was said that 5% were foreigners. Nowadays, there are still friends from all over the world living in Xi'an, and they understand and explore this city in their own way. Caroline, 29, is one of them. She is 1.8 meters tall, and has blond hair and blue eyes. She came to Xi'an from faraway Belgium and founded a design studio for wedding scenes. Although she lives in Xi'an for only two years, she has fallen in love with the city. In her own words, she has become a "new Xi'an resident".

Loving the traditional Chinese culture and art, she yearns for growth in Xi'an

This beautiful girl is the most conspicuous in the crowd. At the beginning of the interview with her in her studio, Caroline was sitting quietly at the table drawing a picture, and the sun shone on her face from the window, forming a beautiful summer afternoon picture. When she stood up, her tall and fashion style made a different impression, as if she were a model who had just left the runway.

She greeted the reporter in proficient Chinese, and smiled and said that she wasn't a model, but used to work in the famous fashion house Maison Martin Margiela and be engaged in showfield design, which could be considered as the work related to the runway. Caroline said that she came from Antwerp, which is the largest port and an important industrial city of Belgium, and also a famous cultural center in Europe, where the strong artistic atmosphere had a great influence on her. She began to learn to paint at the age of 11, entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts - Antwerp at the age of 18, and had been engaged in design work in Europe since graduation. While working in Europe, she met a friend named Xiaoqun from Xi'an. Out of her interest in Chinese traditional culture and ancient art, and under Xiaoqun's lobbying, Caroline came to China with him to start a business.

"We went to Beijing first, but the market for our business in Beijing was saturated, and it took too much time to travel as Beijing is too big and crowded," said Caroline. Then Xiaoqun planned to go to Xi'an, and told Caroline about the new talent policies in Xi'an and preferential and supportive policies of the government to attract talents. In Caroline's mind, Xi'an is a world-class ancient capital that enjoys the equal popularity with Rome, Athens, and Cairo, so she had long wanted to come to Xi'an to create a fusion of the western art and Chinese classical art, and new design ideas and directions.

In early 2017, Caroline and Xiaoqun co-founded a wedding scene design studio named Yuqi.

Combining Chinese and western elements to create chic weddings for couples

"In Belgium, a wedding usually lasts for three days. During this period, the newlyweds have a dinner party, dance and watch a show with family and friends. Every wedding there is unique, but in China, the wedding forms and content are relatively traditional, and the planning is simplifying," Caroline said. As her job is to express the love view of the newlyweds through the effect of scene arrangement and stage design, she will first understand the newlyweds' inner feelings and stories in the process of designing the wedding scene, so that she can help them present their ideal wedding scenes, and then make a detailed plan for the wedding.

She has operated her studio for over a year, and created unique weddings for many newlyweds with her concept of a combination of Chinese and Western elements. Dai Jiangtao is one of Caroline's customers. "I just talked to Caroline about a few things like movies and music, but she immediately understood what I wanted, and finally designed the theme 'Beauty and the Beast' for me. The large area of red roses in the wedding scene was so beautiful, and there were lovely snacks, accessories with cartoon doll images. The entire wedding was dreamlike and different, just like a fairy tale world," Dai Jiangtao said, "And many people attending my wedding asked me about the planner of the wedding." 

During the time in Xi'an, Caroline has gradually adapted to the lifestyle and pace of life here. She has been to the Great Wild Goose Pagoda and the Muslin Quarter, and she likes to stroll in the South Gate, Shuyuan Gate and the Forest of Stelae Museum in leisure time. "The night lighting, shapes of the flower beds, and architectural details around the South Gate are very attractive to me. I often take photos and share with my friends. I like to ride a bicycle on the City Wall to watch the roofs designed with regional characteristics," said Caroline. She loves the unhurried pace of life and the distinct seasons in Xi'an. Although Xi'an is an ancient capital, it is also modern, international and inclusive, which brings Caroline a lot of artistic inspirations. 

Xi'an is the second hometown

She loves cold noodles and roujiamo

From faraway Antwerp to Xi'an, from the bustling fashion show filed to the quiet design studio, from the Western style to the fusion of the Western and Chinese classical styles, Caroline has completed her important life transformation in two years. She can hardly open her mouth without talking about Xi'an, having regarded Xi'an as her second hometown. In addition, the food in Xi'an cuisine also fascinates Caroline. "I like Roujiamo and cold noodles the most. I also often eat noodles and Paomo. I can speak a little in the Shaanxi dialect, such as 'Mosi (It's OK)' and 'Zoushani (What are you doing)''', Caroline laughed.

When talking about future plans for the studio, Caroline said that she wanted to "do as the Romans do" to subtly incorporate the unique cultural elements in Xi'an into the wedding scenes which combines the Chinese and western elements, aiming at creating the localized "new Chang'an style wedding". And she will add the elements of the red pomegranate flower and the Silk Road, because the pomegranate flower is the city flower of Xi'an, Xi'an is the starting point of the Silk Road, and her hometown Antwerp and the adjacent Rotterdam Port are the end of the China-EU freight trains. Such scenes of time travel and cultural fusion are the unique combination of Chinese and western elements that she always wants to present.

Caroline said that there are not many companies engaging in wedding scenes design in Xi'an. Therefore, her studio still has large space for further development. Deeply impressed by the hospitality of the people in Xi'an, she wants to long live here and become a "new Xi'an resident". She also wants to help more young people realize their dream weddings with her skilled design style and provide quality services for Xi'an people.