Ominous tribal music played at Chinese designer Angel Chen’s fall 2019 coed collection, presented in Milan after a one-season stint in New York. The designer took inspiration from an ancient tribe called the Qiang people, a group of nomadic shepherds based in the Sichuan region.
Chen’s bright palette of orange, red and zingy yellow was taken from the Qiang’s ceremonial headdresses. The brand experimented with wool for the first time, including a six-color jacquard jacket that was dyed using Anofix, an environmentally friendly dye. Some of the looks were head-to-toe wool — trailing scarves and shorts masking as skirts on men, long fuzzy coats and macramé-like shawls on women — and will be presented as part of the 2019 edition of the International Woolmark Prize.
Lace embroideries were done using a laser technique and some silhouettes were crafted in recycled polyester, made from discarded plastic bottles. Puffa jackets had huge, quilt-like sleeves, while dark wash denim was paired with madras-printed pieces. Watches dangled from around necks, created in collaboration with FOB Paris, alongside feather trinkets and ribbons.
A true standout piece was the mountain boot with a rubber teeth-shaped sole bulging from underneath. “It’s a funny story — a friend of mine lost one of his teeth, so I took it to a dentist and made a cast,” explained the designer backstage, who got the idea from the jaw-like shape that is created when a pair of shoes sits sole-to-sole in a suitcase. It was an otherworldly addition to a soulful collection.