Xiao Li, who in November was named the Mercedes-Benz China Designer Award winner, is another London-based designer who is pondering the unrelenting pace of the fashion industry. Li, who’s making a name for her sculptural, inventive knitwear, said in her show notes that she wanted to address “the feeling that there is no time for young designers to incubate and develop their ideas.”
Li telegraphed that idea with the giant, silicone clocks that she’d placed on the runway, which also appeared in miniature versions as bags. The designer noted that she wanted to nod to Salvador Dalí’s musings on time, and the foam necklaces in swirling shapes recalled the artist’s surreal landscape paintings. As for the clothes, they came in some naïf, voluminous shapes. Among them were a childlike, drop-waisted tunic dress in an embossed, technical fabric, or an enveloping skirt and jacket combo in a velvety burgundy material, with cutout shapes that sprouted from its lapels. There were also sparkly, oversize sweaters knit from plastic film.
Li’s collection exhibited some intriguing techniques, but it veered more toward an intellectual exercise than a collection of real world clothes.