Xander Zhou has spent a lot of time reflecting on life’s meaning. “I focused on what essentially makes us human, our consciousness, our ability to have emotions. Then I thought about how this will look in the future with AI and technology,” he said.

The audience at his spring show was invited to ponder such questions, too. Sweet incense wafted through the vaults at Tobacco Docks, and guests were asked to slip on wrap skirts and sit on poufs as meditative music played. Then a wall lit up to show human and computer-generated models walking across the screen.

“The digital runway shows how technology and spirituality can come together. Mixing in CGI models underscores this transcendence. Many pieces have been inspired by ceremonial dress, as attending a fashion show in some ways is quite similar to attending a ceremony,” Zhou said.

All 73 looks were all based on skirts, from midi to maxi to pencil to A-line to voluminous and floor-length. While some models slid across the screen shirtless and wearing prayer beads and skirts, others wore T-shirts with SS2020 emblazoned across the chest.

Zhou also focused on tops. He presented washed denim shirts alongside traditional Chinese side-button shirts with Mandarin collars. There were shirt jackets with star embroidery, tailored leather coats, colorful bombers and a crisp white trench.

While the inspiration may have been conceptual, the clothes were not. Zhou’s streamlined silhouettes, relaxed tailoring and crisp, sleek lines were refreshingly simple and wearable.

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