A cosmopolitan mix at Huishan Zhang S/S 2013
The clothes at Huishan Zhang's debut runway presentation at London Fashion Week were not very well fitted and there was a slightly awkward moment when two models, who had clearly messed up the timing, nearly bumped into each other and one had to politely give way, but that didn't stop viewers gasping “It's so beautiful” at nearly every other piece shown on the catwalk.
For the cocktail pieces on which the Chinese-born, Central Saint-Martins educated designer focused his collection on were indeed beautiful. Their overall vibe was reminiscent of 1920’s Shanghai, when the city oozed multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism, blending elegance with an undercurrent of sensuous but not overtly sexual beauty. Like this time period, the pieces were filled with heritage; prints were actually quirky motifs of Chinese life such as pagodas, mahjong dice and the beloved crane. At the same time, the flattering body-skimming silhouette reminiscent of the traditional cheongsam was paired with thoroughly modern details such as open backs and puckered waistlines. And yet still pieces were delicate, ethereal and feminine; “everything has to be light, ultra light,” said Zhang, who layered looks in diaphanous layers of organza and shimmering shantung silk. With a level of attention and integrity of work at aspiring couture levels, it was an intelligent, well-balanced and creative collection that was absolutely gorgeous indeed.