She was among the cast that walked Norwegian fashion designer Fredrik Tjaerandsen’s Internet-breaking presentation that closed Central Saint Martins’ BA graduate show in 2019.

She with her slicked-back pink locks and bleached brows emerging from one of his giant rubber balloon designs (she wore the purple one), which went viral for the way they would – upon release from the inside – deflate and transform into a garment, all without flinching

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Silk dress and polyurethane boots, Balenciaga

“How spatially you become charged… It’s an accommodation, a negotiation, a dance… You become my womb and I am your moving mother,” she wrote of the experience of being in his orb-like pieces in an Instagram post (it’s still up on @chanfyx) that would get its own fair share of fanfare.

She was in London department store Browns’ 50th anniversary campaign last year, looking just as unflappable amid the diverse line-up of models. They included the senior-aged Adrienne Resnik, rising queer-image-maker Furmaan Ahmed and – perched right next to her in the stirring image – the multi-world-record-setting Paralympian Richard Whitehead.

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Credit:Justin Chen

Eudon Choi wool sweater, eudonchoi.com. Silk skirt, tights and leather boots, Dior

She was in Burberry’s uplifting Christmas 2020 film, dancing blithely down London’s Petticoat Lane to a cover of Singing in the Rain; her creative discipline and personality as an “artist dancer mover” spotlighted in an accompanying video.

“As I grow older and learn more things, I’m slowly aligning closer and closer with a self that feels more fitting,” she says in the latter. “I guess it’s that bridging of that distance that motivates me.”

READ MORE: Chloe Chotrani On The Healing Powers Of Somatic Therapy And Dance

The same slick moves and charisma of hers were on display in Loewe’s campaign for its Flow Runner sneakers released earlier this year while British fashion wunderkind Charles Jeffrey tests her chameleonic abilities with the Fall/Winter 2021 lookbook for his club kid-influenced label Loverboy.

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Credit:Justin Chen

Wool sweater, Gucci. Wool-blend skirt and silk leggings, Chanel

In it, she wears a printed babydoll dress with what looks to be an exaggerated cravat made of shredded plastic, Boy George-esque makeup and duo-toned ’80s rocker hair, only to look every part the badass, punk rock party queen.

She is Chantel Foo, the London-based Singaporean who first got onto the international fashion radar with Gucci’s 2019 short film The Future is Fluid.

READ MORE: Fashion Is Going Through A ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ For Fall

Created as part of the brand’s pro-gender equality initiative Chime For Change and premiered at Sundance that year, it opens with Foo – one of 13 individuals featured – moving mesmerisingly in a bare room as she shares how 14 years of traditional Chinese dance training has shaped her perceptions of “what it is to be a female”.

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Credit:Justin Chen

Chantel Foo’s most notable dance collaborations have been with the likes of Gucci, Loewe and Burberry.

In an age when individuality and having a story have become the new gold standards of beauty, it’s not hard to see why the 24-year-old would be a favoured face. Yet for all the stardom that she has got, she would quite simply like to remain, well, herself.

READ MORE: These Shoes Are Made For… Dancing

By that, it means working with names who share the same values. She lists Tjaerandsen and the Taiwanese textile artist-slash-knitwear designer Shawna Wu as among the designers she respects most.

Of the former, she says: “Being in Fredrik’s garment was such a special feeling. He’s someone who is very grounded, meticulous and deeply thoughtful. That’s something that’s very important to me. I admire people who take the time to sit and think through their work and aren’t rushing to churn out an excess of clothing.”

movement artist
Credit:Justin Chen

Wool sweater, Gucci. Wool-blend skirt and silk leggings, Chanel

That and, some might say ironically, not being defined by the very art form that helped launch her into the spotlight. “I started training in traditional Chinese dance at the age of four. What I knew of a dancer then was someone who was technically flawless, looked a certain way and met the ideal standard on what ‘right’ was,” says Foo.

“I guess you could say those are some structures that make up the formal dance sphere and that mix of expectations has made dance quite hurtful for me. I used to be extremely perfectionist.”

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Credit:Justin Chen

The London-based Singaporean ‘artist-dancer-mover’ recently graduated from Goldsmiths with a degree in fine arts and art history.

She had moved to London for a degree in fine arts and art history at Goldsmiths (she had just graduated at press time), but the choice to not specialise in dance has not been easy.

READ MORE: A Stunning Video Of Three Singapore Dancers Expressing The Beauty Of Movement

“My body and movement are read both as that of a dancer and one who’s not quite, and I used to shy away from calling myself a dancer because I felt like I never got a formal dance degree and don’t train like they do,” she explains.

movement artist
Credit:Justin Chen

Nanushka cotton wrap top and skirt, Net-a-porter.com. Metal chain necklace with pearls (worn as belt), Chanel. Leather sandals, Gucci

True to her contemplative, independent-minded nature, she suggests paying more attention to the way we “gate-keep language” so that people can be more comfortable with themselves.

“One’s practice is constantly in flux and unstable,” she says when asked of her plans post-school. Now isn’t that what being a dancer should truly be about: freedom?


Director & Editor Justin Chen Producer Ophelia O’Sullivan, assisted by Sofia Del Carmen Director Of Photography Bart Seng Camera Assistant Nile Hoo-Quartey Head Of Lighting Misha Panov, assisted by Connor Maclaren 3D Artist Jonathan Yau Title Designer Jonathan Chen Music Nick Sim Stylist Lorna McGee, assisted by Yamine Daaboul Hair Richard Scorer / Frank Agency Makeup Mekee Song Special Thanks Klatch Studio & Clear Angle Studios 

A version of this article first appeared in the July 2021 Dance edition of FEMALE