Best in show
Taste is totally subjective, and with that noted: Xander Zhou’s AW16 collection was the hands-down highlight of the LC:M weekend. After receiving the news of the passing of possibly the greatest musical icon — our Star Man — Zhou’s offering felt like a beautifully realised homage to Bowie himself. Exploring thirteen themes — diversity, gender identity, freedom, fetish, inclusiveness, emancipation (to name a few) — Zhou continues to celebrate principles of equality on his catwalk, and it was, yet again, gloriously camp and beautifully composed.
Lamé and Leather
Don’t even with lamé — we all know it’s the most underused fabric in the fashion industry — but skimpy cigarette pants and matching Cuban heeled winkle-pickers came in hi-glitter reds, foil-y silvers and shimmering black. So here for this. Leather coats — coloured, silver, or black — were sharp in their construction, and drew on Zhou’s love for a twist of 70s cowboy. Circular leather patches were etched with patterns and stuck above elbows or knees on leather pants — a little fetish realness. Corduroy — the thickest cords imaginable — also made for the most covetable, screaming blue trench coat of the season: we’re saving up already. Zhou’s signature ability to draw on kitsch, camp and retro themes and update them in a completely uncontrived way is what sets him apart from so many in the men’s fashion field: his collections are never victim to over obsession, it is a balance between construction and design skill, and vintage themes married with contemporary cuts and attitude which are setting the scene for the brand’s incredibly strong future.
Everything was on point except the basically all white casting. It’s not just Zhou, it’s pretty much the whole bloody industry. While some designers’ entire MO is to bring issues of racial representation and diversity to the fashion audience (see: Grace Wales Bonner), so many other designers continue to walk the roads of whiteness. Why can’t people who are not white be part of the apparent fashion ‘fantasy’? Continued inequality in terms of race, body type, and wealth is both so stupid and so boring. Just think about it. We embrace trends every season with open arms — obsessively craving the next change to our already grotesquely over-filled wardrobes — so why on earth can we not change the way we show our clothes and construct our campaigns? It must be noted that this is not Zhou, it’s a whole industry who just seem to ignore matters of basic social equality. Come on fashion, you can do better.