BRAVE ELEMENTS: Jarel Zhang chose a theme of exploration for his first presentation in Paris, showing a captivating lineup of hulking, sculptured puffer coats in a strange, futuristic setting. For the unknown territory, the Chinese Millennial designer equipped his models with long neon lights and provided a clear plastic tent for them to take refuge in. Two of them did, sitting down in the fake snow while a crowd of onlookers eyed the clothing from a distance.
Jarel grew up in the suburbs of Shanghai and his father was an architect, he relayed with the help of an interpreter. The stiff, shiny coats were made with a mirror-effect leather, a feminine copper cape in one instance; while a long, silver coat felt stern with angular shoulders. Jarel designed the print featured on a long coat covered in ruffles in front, and paired with a long hat, in the shape of a sleeve that jutted out behind and hung past the shoulders. It was blue with strokes of orange, yellow, black and white. Another coat was built upside down, with sleeves dangling down from the bottom. Footwear was either practical or sexy, and included black sneakers, shiny stiletto boots, or a hybrid between a hiking shoe and a moon boot.
Jarel, who studied in London and showed his spring collection in New York, wanted people to have the courage to “face, overcome and explore” wherever they might land, the show notes explained.