CHINA CAPSULE: With less than two weeks to go, the countdown to the Met Gala on May 4 is under way, and Barneys New York is riding the buzz. In honor of this year’s theme, “China: Through the Looking Glass,” the retailer tapped Huishan Zhang to design a capsule collection of dresses that celebrate the Chinese spirit. The London-based designer touched down in New York on Tuesday afternoon — his very first time in the U.S. — for the unveiling of the five-piece lineup. Several of Zhang’s signature touches, which draw from his East-meets-West inspiration, are seen throughout — like lace in a figure-8 pattern, a good luck charm in Chinese culture — as well as some new motifs, such as a Swarovski crystal-embellished emperor dragon on a red organza column gown. The collection, like all of Zhang’s, is made in China.

“We have this atelier where we are able to produce in China and sell to department stores like Barneys,” he said, noting that the retailer had purchased his ready-to-wear collection for the fourth season in a row. “We are one of the first Made in China luxury brands to sit on the designer floors. That’s a very proud moment for me.”

This story first appeared in the April 22, 2015 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The capsule, sold in eight Barneys locations across the U.S. as well as online, ranges from $2,495 to $7,800. Zhang’s next stop is Los Angeles, where he’ll stop by the retailer’s Beverly Hills flagship.

As for whether he’ll be attending the Met Gala himself, Zhang wasn’t sure. “But if I’m not going, some of my dresses are definitely going to,” he said. “We just finished a fitting today through a Skype meeting. We do a couture fitting through Skype.”

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