(Image courtesy of Vogue.co.uk)
We’re certainly partial to the work of Huishan Zhang, who incidentally is now officially one of the hottest new designers around since winning the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize this month. Pitted against revered contemporaries such as well-established Barbara Casasola, Emilia Wickstead – a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge – and quirky duo FYODOR GOLAN, Huishan’s win is a serious accolade. His sartorial signature is a unique fusion of East-meets-West and combines his Chinese heritage with a love of Western modernism – it has had our hearts a-flutter since he debuted his first collection in 2011. It is this approach that has netted him the £25,000 prize money and one-on-one mentoring from industry elites, as well as seeing his designs stocked in Barneys (New York and Beverley Hills, no less).
Inspired in part by his own travels, Zhang left China aged 17 to live in New Zealand, Paris and London where he attended Central Saint Martins, graduating with a BA in Fashion Design and Marketing and an MA in pattern cutting. During this time, Zhang was handpicked by Delphine Arnault to spend a year at Christian Dior. It was shortly after graduating that Huishan launched his eponymous label and developed his signature style, which embodies culture, elegance and sophistication. The exquisite embellishments and detailing, Eastern floral prints and clean lines come courtesy of the Chinese heritage, whilst Western influences inspire the ladylike tailoring and classic silhouettes that we identify with his polished pieces.
(Images courtesy of Vogue.co.uk)
His SS14 collection saw a continuation of the East-meets-West theme, inspired by Madame Vionnet’s draping techniques and ancient Chinese mathematics. Even the colour palette, a fresh collection of jade green, peach, slate grey and snowy white seemed to fuse traditional Chinese hues with a modern couture twist. Crystal embellishments were the focal point of the refined looks, from the modern circular discs, to the classic emerald tear droplets and shimmering eastern floral patterns. There was, of course, Huishan’s signature delicate embroidery, predominantly Chinese style and floral, interspersed with lace detailing for a classic European twist. A more modern feel was evoked by the geometric fabrics, frilly hemmed crop tops and sheer panelling, which always erred on the side of elegant and luxe rather than risqué – despite one entirely sheer dress. His ancient mathematical inspiration took the form of embroidery; a pattern of interlocking ‘8’s, a number deeply entrenched within Chinese culture, signifying good luck. As this collection preceded his Dorchester prize triumph, perhaps Huishan is onto something…
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