Following a collection that was inspired by classical Chinese painting, Shanghai-based designer Ziggy Chen revisited the aesthetic this season with a similar print. But upon closer inspection, the ancient-seeming art is really a surreal portrait of a modern man, his face obscured by a beam of light.
Asked if it was a metaphor for staring at our phones, Chen demurred, but conceded the collection is meant to examine conflict between technology and mystery. “Technology represents something that is very rational. We are embracing a lot of things with technology, but on the other side, there are still things we are not able to resolve,” Chen mused.
“This made me rethink the relationship with the surrounding world in which we are living, and the conflict between rational and irrational, reality and the unknown,” he added.
The collection sets out to explore this conflict, and certainly holds its ground against technology by focusing on using his signature natural fibers, such as specially created cotton and wool blends. He used a cold dye treatment to add a vintage effect.
Many of the pieces live double lives: A tie-back vest is meant to be used as coat lining in winter, but can morph into a shirt for summer; a coat is constructed with interior buttons and loops to fold up at the hemline and transform into a short jacket. Both are designed to stay in your wardrobe for a lifetime.
The overall result is a collection that feels refined and raw, with overarching utilitarian details made for the urban dreamer.