Shanghai Fashion Week came and went last month with a dizzying array of catwalks, presentations, tradeshows and champagne-fueled parties. Never to lag behind the style beat, we were there. These are some of the designers we loved the most this season.
1. Ban Xiaoxue
The designer: A graduate of the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts and former China winner for the International Woolmark Prize, Ban Xiaoxue is known for his unisex, often multi-layered outfits and penchant for free-flowing lines.
The collection: Titled ‘I Love You,’ Ban’s collection for A/W 2016 shifted away from what the designer is known for, but in a beautiful, incredibly smart way. The whole show was basically a series of different takes on the same silhouette – a single-breasted coat worn by models over a nude body stocking. Clever, polished and wide-ranging in the use of fabrics and motifs, it was further prove that this is one talent to watch.
2. Makin Jan Ma
The designer: London-based Makin Jan Ma started off as a menswear designer before branching into filmmaking – a result of his background in art and design, which he studied at both Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art London. Creating clothing for characters of his ongoing short films, Ma has an eclectic and always humorous take on fashion. His style signature: bold graphic prints for men’s and women’s daywear.
The collection: A directional show of mostly unisex looks, Ma’s A/W 16 catwalk was, simply put, a lot of fun. Nodding to streetwear, looks came in the form of oversized shapes, layered patterns, maxi sweaters covered in slogans, moto jackets, ultra rad prints and neon colors– all paired up with high-top sneakers. Made with the support of Disney, the line also featured a few Minnie Mouse-inspired pieces laden with polka dots and pom-pom appliques. A joy.
3. River Tooth
The designer: Menswear designer Ding Yong was named one of China’s Top 10 Fashion designers a few years back, then went silent for a while (which in the fashion world can be a career killer). This season, he returned with two shows, one at China Fashion Week in Beijing and one in Shanghai. And they were really, really good.
The collection: Evoking scenes from The Revenant, the line played with the overall concept of nomadic, free-spirited masculinity with vintage motifs. Using mostly natural materials (cotton and linen) and an organic, earthy color palette as the base, Ding introduced bright dashes of red to his creations, establishing a bold yet visually pleasing contrast to the darker, more neutral tones the brand is known for. Brocade and flower patterns were also incorporated; interestingly juxtaposing the rugged, macho look the collection went for.
4. Black Spoon
The designer: Adjectives like ‘surreal,’ ‘dreamy’ or ‘romantic’ have been used to describe the works of Black Spoon’s founder/designer Moti Bai, a Central Saint Martin’s graduate who has been showing a consistent aesthetic vision since launching her label (think Goth Victoriana with a romantic twist). This season was a continuation of that.
The collection: Boasting lots of draped velvet, Black Spoon’s ‘Paradise Circus’ was all about volume, which was accomplished through the mixing, matching and layering of deep brocade tones with exaggerated silhouettes and cocoon-like proportions. There were military references too, from double-breasted jackets to boots, pinstripes and badges, for an overall powerful catwalk.
5. YUZZO LONDON
Designer: Zhou Min established Yuzzo London in, you guessed it, London in 2013. She holds an MA degree in Womenswear from London College of Fashion and has cut her teeth under LOEWE, Peter Pilotto, and Michiko Koshino before having at a go at her own thing. This was her SFW debut.
The collection: A lot of opulent textiles (hello velvet and lace) applied on clean silhouettes with elaborate cuts, combined with print and handicraft. The overall line was striking in the juxtaposition of bright colors and moodier hues but also strong geometric lines and floral feminine patterns. We though it a smart mix of ladylike pieces and contemporary lines; and a very mature, modern collection.