Shanghai Fashion Week fall/winter 2019: Edi.Z Lingfeng, F/FFFFFF, and Debrand
We came, we saw, and we conquered. Fashion writer Ryan Sng rounds up the best shows daily from Shanghai, below.
TWO MOST SURPRISING MOMENTS
1. Edi.Z Lingfeng's presentation was set in a misty twilight forest (courtesy of a fog machine and plenty of wood chips), and did away with the typical runway format. For the designer's crossroads-inspired collection — which referenced the Japanese underworld Yomi, symbolic of the transition between mortal and spiritual — models circled the space with haunted, vacant expressions, bearing mounds of coloured sand on mirrors. These were tipped to the floor at the end of the show, apparently representing the moment of death; the atmosphere of the spectacle came across genuinely solemn and mournful, when such affectations usually skew corny.
2. Julian Chen, an '80s Taiwanese boyband star who in recent years has re-emerged as a queer style icon, opened and closed F/FFFFFF's show in Baby Phat circa 2000s-ish outfits, styled with towering geta sandals and dominatrix boots. Shanghai Fashion Week remains insular compared to those of its East Asian neighbours, and such a public display of gender non-conformity came as a surprise, given China's long silence on its LGBT population.
FOUR TRENDIEST ACCESSORIES
1. F/FFFFFF's resin mouthpieces, whose liquid shapes swirled around the head, weren't just visually arresting. They'd make great gags for those who've yet to learn when to stay silent (this writer included).
2. Debrand sewed plastic pockets containing plant matter into its clothes, while some dangled freely from rings and chains. If your 2019 goals include becoming a walking seed bank, there's your ticket — the Sixth Extinction? *In one's best Tiffany Haddish voice* She ready!
3. We can't decide if Edi.Z Lingfeng's pleather, Japanese script-decorated pinafore aprons — which also came in a slaughterhouse jumpsuit style — are accessory or garment. Either way, they looked sinister and incredibly fun.
4. A cross between a backpack worn backwards (those pesky pickpockets!) and the ever-popular fanny pack, Edi.Z Lingfeng's harness pouches will always place your essentials within easy reach.
SEVEN FAVOURITE LOOKS
1. F/FFFFFF's look #48 brought us back to the heyday of grunge. A slash-sleeved shirt in a muddy, oil slick-ish pattern and baggy, floor-grazing trousers screamed disaffected adolescent.
2. Meanwhile, look #35, in all its grittily urban, olive-brown futurism (non-capitalised, we ain't talking art movements here), had something of the New Millenium/Y2K about it. A circular drawstring cutout seen throughout the collection was most interestingly applied here, split in two at the front of a shirt.
3. Was F/FFFFFF's show a potted history of trendy youth dress? The gloriously absurd look #30 begs a very 2019 question: "Why are there two ribbed trim cutouts on this sweatshirt?". Cos it's fashun, darling, and paired with a funky mouthpiece, it's street style photographer bait, to boot.
4. Speaking of absurdity, it was hard not to love the teensy drawstring cutout on look #22's bodysuit. Again, "why is it there?" is the wrong query; these days, the done thing is to ask: "why the heck not?".
5. Debrand fall/winter 2019 brought this writer back to teenaged covetousness of Tripp NYC's bondage trousers, fishnet tops and tartan miniskirts (I was a very different girl back then); the collection played with the tropes of mall-Goth fashion, with the prize for most modern take going to look #38. Where the turn of the 21st century was all about finding your style tribe and running with broadly-drawn stereotypes, contemporary fashion is all about the mix of discordant elements. Our — very much alive, just less youthful — predecessors would probably scratch their heads at the pairing of a pink silk top with a strap-tastic and riveted black apron dress.
6. Cargo pants are in the ascendant once again, and few clean up nicer than Debrand look #9's pair.
7. Edi.Z Lingfeng's show was full of ceremonial, robe-like shapes in high-shine fabrics. Our hearts, naturally, gravitated towards look #16's full-on, imperial yellow glory.
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