Despite the quickly evolving mutual fascination between China and the West at the luxury fashion level, the relationship remains incredibly one-sided in one respect: A major, or even minor, Chinese designer has yet to emerge out of the motherland. But the name circulating as a breakthrough contender is Uma Wang, who studied at China Textile University and Central Saint Martins before launching her label in 2005.
The collection Wang showed Sunday in Milan (she’s shown previously in Paris) backed up the buzz. The clothes were beautifully crafted in a combination of avant-garde Gothic and Western grunge. The palette was dark and murky, and many of the dresses were done in amorphous silhouettes shaped by asymmetric cuts. Some of the best looks were long tailored coats, including a nubby herringbone, a black-and-green polkadot trench, and a pintucked, floor-length duster done in what looked like a splatter-paint python motif. The influence of Yohji Yamamoto could be seen in the clothes’ brooding elegance.