Fashion East alum Yuhan Wang’s new Spring Summer 2021 collection is an inspired kaleidoscope of feminine softness and defiance: “I want to devote the collection to the solidarity, strength and power of healing that we continue to witness amongst anonymous female key workers”. The collection is a refreshing alternative approach to the futuristic, sci-fi, apocalyptic aesthetic becoming increasingly prominent this season. Wang is addressing the chaotic state of 2020 in a profound way through her unmistakable soft and hyperfeminine billowing silhouettes.
The latest campaign “Strange Stories”, a product of collaboration with photographer Amber Pinkerton and stylist Anders Sølvsten Thomsen, is staged at a period home with classical romantic accents. These images convey the collection’s daydream-like quality specifically influenced by an 18th century book of illustrated fables, called Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Liao-Chai 聊齋) which uses demons, ghosts, plants and spirits to express and explore the power of femininity. The lounging models with finger curls robed in cotton jersey dresses with intricate lace fabric pumps, redolent of house-tied 19th century aristocratic women, mirror a world where we are all now confined to our dwelling. However, we can only dream of wearing Yuhan Wang while doing so.
The entangled dualism between Western and Chinese classicism makes the clothes divinely elegant to the point of theatricality. In reverence to vitality, the pervasive floral detailing, expressed in vintage cross-stitch embroidery, incorporates themes of Chinese symbolism: “Grapes and vines represent the harvest of one’s year- and for the Chinese, the autumn festival is also a joyous celebration of a better life” states Wang. Vitality is also explored through the Impressionist colour palette; powdery blues and chalky whites with accents of earthy greens and cadmium reds. Draping and ballooned cloth evokes the imagery of classical Roman sculptures of the commanding Goddess Venus, but is also equally reminiscent of the works of chinese painter Gai Qi- previously cited as a major point of inspiration for the designer.
Yuhan Wang’s distinguishing whimsical, Edwardian, romanticism and supernatural fascination coupled with traditional Chinese motifs culminate in an ethereal capsule of storytelling garments. The adjacency of the intricate gossamer-like dresses with the sturdy, elaborate suit silhouettes embody the different facets of femininity Wang is exploring. In a time where cynicism seems to be the main discourse, this collection who’s narrative, as postured by Harriet Quick poignantly “champions the notions of pure and faithful love in the face of obstacles”, is brave and necessary.
Anders Sølvsten Thomsen
Amber Pinkerton @Lalaland Artists
Madeleine Østlie @ AAMO Casting
Bea Sweet @JAQ Management
Kota Suizu @Caren Agency
Jundan @Storm Management
Tabatha @The Hive Management
Paige @PRM Agency
Ive Xu @iTK