If the scenes on the streets of any major city are anything to go by, people’s lockdown resolutions of slowing down were a pandemic pipe dream. And that’s what China-based Sean Suen expressed for his return to Paris after a three-year physical absence.
“We are [back] to living in the city, with the phones, with media, with too much,” he said, feeling that the frazzled restlessness of urban life had caused the Yi people that he used to see around his hometown to return to their mountainous region of Daliang. It made the Beijing-based designer think about roots and that longing for one’s origins.
Translating this melancholy feeling through cloth, Suen layered textures to telegraph a need for comfort. Natural materials, in particular leathers, took the lion’s share in the lineup, in a palette of blacks, browns and creams.
Beyond that, he continued to develop tailoring, using the play on proportions as a way to inject a sense of ease and a relaxed attitude by dropping shoulders, letting trousers pool at the ankle or layering textures to telegraph coziness — a nod to the serenity of the mountains.
Handmade silver touches, from large domed buttons and hammered flowers adorning the shoes to a massive but lightweight handcut necklace spelling the brand name, nodded to the traditional silversmithing of the Yi people.
The urbane, elegant outlook that Suen brought back with him to Paris will no doubt resonate — philosophically as well as commercially.