Xuzhi Chen had a moment of enlightenment a while ago. “One day I was sitting at a café and looking at strangers. All these people on the street seemed aloof, but at a strange moment, I seem to know every single one of them,” the designer said at his fall presentation.
Chen re-created the experience with the help of fashion performance director Tong Zhao. A black room was set up in the middle of the venue while a pianist performed, wearing Xu Zhi’s first men’s wear line.
Models walked in carefully choreographed routes across the room, while the wind machine made white noise. After a while, all of them lined up, went into the black box one after another, sharing a coffee table, talking with body language.
“The anonymous individuals become part of a collective identity,” Chen explained. “They look distinctly different, but it’s elements of their wardrobe that tie them together.” His unmistakeable jacquard techniques could be seen on denim, wool and knits, even if faux-fur coats with matching hats stole the show at the presentation.
Broadening the offering definitely injected a dose of excitement and brought more commercial prospects to the brand. Enlightenment, indeed.