SHANGHAI TANG FALL/WINTER 2018-19 COLLECTION


                                A dance of threads. A dreamlike journey from Italy to China.

A dance of threads. A dreamlike journey from Italy to China: a silken thread strung between the West and the East, a veritable bridge extending from Europe to the faraway lands of the Dragon Throne that follows the historical traces of two ancient cultures. A blend of textiles and threads of overlapping motifs that intertwine two worlds and two contrasting yet complementary visions as if by magic.

China is the breeding ground of aesthetics and cultures, a thousand-year-old backdrop for exchange and a workshop of symbols. The journey is an epic, in which western travellers come face to face with ancient Chinese nobility and its enchanting world of rites, brimming with splendour and decorative collections.

A palette that gradates from light pastel shades and then intensifies, becoming vivid and allegorical. Light pink turns into fuchsia, peach becomes tangerine, and light blue deepens to a turquoise enamel. Straw colours slip lavishly into imperial yellow on black. Venice and the resplendent Cathay appear in unison in brocades that erupt in vibrant abstraction.

Patterns, that take on huge proportions and become dynamic in the lines and weaves, dance together with the looms in rhythmic progression, in time with the quick and dexterous hands that weave gold thread embroidery. A group of dignitaries from the Tang dynasty wear overcoats embellished with studs, the collection’s leitmotiv. With idealised knights and horses, explorers and merchants on the Silk Road, this is a fantastical voyage that draws life from pure, fundamental, crisp forms embellished by broderies resembling brocades and damask, reminiscent of linear Mandarin styles.

Imprinting makes a resurgence in the small waistcoats, which bear a resemblance to the flared trapezoid cuirasses that high officials of the Celestial Empire used to strap to their armour, as well as in the court coats that have a simpler artistic design use and a simpler use of textiles. The clothing is indented and structured by pleats that stand out thanks to row of tiny studs. Pleated skirts open out, revealing a mysterious transparent trompe-oeil effect. The animal print of Ming paintings is clear in the edge, hem and cuff details, an allusion to the legendary snow leopard skin, as well as the domesticated cheetahs that aristocrats used to bring with them when hunting on horseback.

Fabrics on fabrics, geometric inlay work, empty space on top of filled space. The traditional mandarin garment is the inspiration for the bulbous black dress coat, with a barely visible rounded collar and spotted inserts on the pockets. The traditional exuberant and ironic playfulness of the Maison is evident in the contrasting printed linings. As well as this, animal print coats stand in opposition to the vivid, amethyst interior. The full sleeve jacket with a large stand collar, combined with thread embroidered, brocade-effect trousers are now the new luxury outfit.

The prints on scarves recount this dreamlike journey, and are framed like artwork, featuring images of war horses, traditional costume, fierce dragons, snuff bottles and a nebulous scattering of spots on a base of lacquer hues and pop and fluorescent colours, vibrant jade green celadon, and yellow and violet surface textures.

The jewellery puts a new spin on certain ancestral necklaces and charms with a modern and refined style: it explores stylization, geometric balance and harmony, and gives new meaning to the exotic with an extraordinary and conceptual desire for the abstract.

The red lacquer defines the men’s collection: it intensifies by giving colour to the stripes and check pattern of the shirts. It is printed onto the linings that adorn the new mandarin jackets. The most outlandish blazer comes in a smooth velvet with deep background colours, which in combination are complementary and contrasting. The mohair oversized jumper features dynamic lines of a dusty colour palette assaulted by a vibrant and vivid Chinese yellow: a subtle approach that does not undermine a revamped sartorial experimentation. A silk, mini-print pyjama shirt provides a sophisticated casual look perfect for the evening. The pyjamas inspire the flowy nature of the pinstriped single-piece suits, with white satin piping.

Pure cashmere coats with velvet inlay edges reveal a removable cushioned interior that is reminiscent of historical armour. The parka marries a military spirit with golden spirals of the heavenly dragon. The bomber jacket with a mandarin collar opts for a tongue-in-cheek playfulness with the multi-coloured patches. The traditional uniforms of the imperial armies adopt a shearling interior, creating new sporty style icons.

The Shanghai Tang look now has an army.