Xander Zhou isn’t interested in keeping up with fashion and trends — he wants to tell stories instead.
For his spring 2019 show, he let his imagination run loose and transported his audience to the future — a colorful world filled with friendly looking, extraterrestrial creatures known for their authenticity and flair for stylish clothing.
“It’s my vision of the future. I wasn’t designing based on fashion elements, that’s not the right world for me. Instead I tried to create the collection as a movie, a story of my own and build each model as a character,” mused the designer backstage, pointing to the aliens, clones and men bearing prosthetic bellies who walked down his runway.
In a future designed by Zhou, men and women have equal rights and the boundaries between gender completely fade away. That’s why he put some of his alien characters — who lovingly held their pregnant bellies as they walked down the runway — in blush pink teddy tracksuits or added subtle feminine details, such as pleated sleeve panels on men’s shirts.
But setting aside the prosthetics, neon yellow wigs and futuristic sunglasses — created with the buzzy Korean label Gentle Monster — Zhou managed to maintain a healthy dose of reality in this extraterrestrial collection, with pieces that are likely to appeal to regular humans as much as they did to his alienlike characters. There were acid-washed denim jackets, cool oversized printed trenchcoats and cargo shorts paired with boxy-sleeved T-shirts.
“If you want to go futuristic, it’s quite easy to go extreme, with lots of metallic and all those clichés. It’s more challenging to create something wearable with small futuristic details. I put a lot of alien characters in really regular outfits and I think the contrast makes them even more alien,” said the designer.