There may have been a slight misjudgment about emerging designer Claudia Li when we first labeled her as an underground designer to watch last year. When we saw her, she was toying with elements of refined construction and controlled deconstruction, experimenting with dramatic cuts and elongated lines. As she has matured, so too have have clothes; her past two collections have displayed more polish and a more personal journey.
Spring served as part two to Resort’s dreams influence. Titled “Dreams — Foxes Live Under the Rainbow,” spring continued the narrative of whimsy and living with courage — something Li finds herself doing more subconsciously than in real life. The title is from Akira Kurosawa’s film “Dreams,” from which Li drew a colorful palette and Japanese silhouettes. Kimono jackets, which were cut with different fabrics, were the clearest inference. She played with obi belts with refined subversion, wrapping and unwrapping them on dresses, tops and sleeves. But her clothes feel most special when she injected her brand of quirky, atypical construction. The mushroom-sleeve ponchos, though weird, were a playful surprise; one such jacket was cut in yellow tulips, a fond childhood memory for the designer. Of the silhouette and how the inspirations applies to life, Li said, “It’s about exploring new things and new possibilities.”