Xu Zhi autumn/winter 2018 collection presentation for LFW
Xu Zhi kicked off London Fashion Week with an ode to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s obsession with his muse, Jane Morris. Zhi has created a contemporary depiction of the relationship between artist, muse and now, designer.
Zhi has taken the essence of Gerhart Richter’s photographs of Rossetti’s photography smeared with paint and used this as the basis of the fabric throughout the collection. Ankle length skirts and coats have been given a waxy finish, mimicking the sheen of oil paintings. Washes of paint have been brushed across the surface displaying moody tones of green while a stand-out coat is stood by its side in contrasting melancholy blue and grey. One dress seems to have been pulled from Rossetti’s The Lady of Pity painting itself, mirroring the mix of gloomy orange, topped with the signature Jane Morris pout.
Artful craftsmanship and deconstruction forms the foundation of all of Xu Zhi’s designs and this is evidence through the heavy use of tailoring. Ankle length tailored coats have been placed over wide leg trousers and alongside artfully pleated skirts. Carefully placed yarn tassels have been bunched across the blunt lines of the tailoring, representing paint splashes.
Rossetti showcased Morris as the divine feminine and it is this concept which Zhi is celebrating once more. He has recognised the role and balance of both the woman and the man that has been reflected by the relationship between artist and muse and his reconstructed it present a modern perception which is so important in the era of #TimesUp. Contemporary shirts and high neck tops have been layered under rigid pleats and ruffles in structure that demonstrate how oversized shapes can compliment the female form.
It is Zhi’s artful contradiction of forceful tailoring and textured, tangible paint movements that perfectly articulate his love and sadness, longing and fulfilment towards the modern female being, such as Rossetti’s paintings of Morris did.
Photos: Huw Jenkins