Sunday, June 11, 2017

BEAUTY: Clothing--Xander Zhou SS'18

And here we go, with London Fashion Week Men's and a Spring Summer 2018 collection by Xander Zhou that surely must reference the state of the world. Just like how artists of all sorts--playwrights, painters, poets--hold up a mirror to the world around them, clothing designers who are artists do the same thing. I predict we will be seeing a lot of political and protest statements from the talented creators we are about to see.

But back to Zhou, Chinese born and European educated, and whose last collection was called "I Have A Secret Weapon," who chose to present us with a sort of "us vs. them" scenario. His show was set in a featureless office environment complete with the requisite corporate cubicles. While models wore utilitarian pieces with a futuristic flavor that can be sold successfully as separates, ensembles were embellished with unsettling details. His office drones all wore earpieces with wires clipped to their shirts. Latex gloves invoked TSA agents, ready to pat down anyone they deem suspicious. Another allegorical element was the cut-out square on shirts...and odd detail to be sure but then it dawned on me: that cut-out is on the left, over the heart. Is it a comment on being heartless? After all, that section is missing.

Protective padding as if on riot gear also popped up in the form of crotch and torso pieces.

But then a segue of crinkled metallic jackets gave way to a few tie-dyed shirts, possibly suggesting "the other side" of the culture Zhou was showing us...which then gave way to some caped and masked figures who certainly look like terrorists.

This is the world we live in now.

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