One of the hottest tickets at this London Fashion Week was for Central St Martins graduate Xuzhi Chen and his label Xu Zhi. The designer, who graduate with a BA degree in womenswear, has already received recognition within the industry since launch his own label in 2014, including being nominated for the LVMH Prize, International Woolmark Prize, and H&M Design Award.
The Chinese-born designer splits his time between London and Shanghai and for autumn/winter 2018 Chen looked to Jane Morris, wife of the textile designer William Morris and the lover of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who is one of the most recognised faces in art history for her famous pout, as well as the relationship between artist, muse and now, designer, which he states in the show notes as so important in the era of #TimesUp.
The collection is filled with painting references, with the ankle length skirts and coats featuring a waxy finish, which mimics the sheen of oil paintings, while Chen’s yarn-braiding technique has been developed to make the fabric appear to have a brush stroke effect, and the deconstruction effects to the tailoring adds a textural element when paired with wide-leg trousers and pleated skirts.
Emerging designer Amy Thomson poses the question what does a princess, baker and a hairdresser look like from a child’s perspective with her playful autumn/winter 2018 collection ‘Chasin’ Dreams’.
With the models standing amongst floating clouds, the eight oversized pink outfits really brought the idea of focusing on your dreams and each showcasing the profession as seen by a child, with a little help from Thomson’s larger-than-life hand-rendered drawings that produced charming prints, motifs and illustrations to form the narrative of the collection, ensuring that no two garments are the same.
Thomson also collaborated with headwear designer Katie Hamlett from Sassy Freak that included a range of tiaras featuring iconic childhood toys including Barbie heads, My Little Pony and brightly coloured trolls. Other accessories included printed scarves, motif tights and embellished handbags.
Commenting on the collection, Thomson said: “Telling a narrative and connecting with an audience is very important to myself as a designer. Chasin’ Dreams is based on real muses, real stories and my own and there is no story truer than the one you are living.”
A graduate from London College of Fashion, Malaysian-born Cassey Gan impressed with her autumn/winter 2018 collection inspired by Maria Svarbova’s ‘Swimming Pool’ series of photographs, filled with a print heavy collection of wearable separates with oversized detailing, cutouts, and flaps with interesting shapes inspired by objects in Maria’s work.
“When I first saw Maria Svarbova’s work, I thought they were paintings. But in actual fact they were photos of real people and real sets. Although the colours in her photos are cheerful and bright, the overall mood is rather somber, lonely and somewhat silently eerie,” explains Cassey Gan on the inspiration behind her autumn/winter 2018 collection. “The subjects she photographed are robotic featuring repetitive poses. I am very much intrigued by the tension between the real and the fake; with is so strongly portrayed in her work.”
The ‘Picture Perfect’ collection sees pieces layered over one another, while showcasing print and colour clashes, as Gan aims to challenge beauty standards and explored the idea that we create fictional versions of ourselves due to the pressures of social media. As well as the prints taking centrestage, the accessories are a highlight with tote bags featuring the print clashes teamed with round handles and coordinated stripe straps.
Source: Fashion United.