Using the concept of a fictional military diving squad exploring new underwater territories, designer Shangguan Zhe for AW 2019 continues to build on his reflections on modern society.
Consistently working around the notions of destruction and protection, attack and defense, this highly detailed collection also builds on the idea of confronting oneself via a network of virtual worlds, a comment on the ever-growing digitalized environment. Based on reformulations of some of last season’s silhouettes, Zhe deconstructs and reconstructs urban and military as well as dressy or casual elements into new hybrid pieces flooded with marine- inspired elements including details drawn from military diving suits, killer whales and sailor uniforms.
Plain and elegant sartorial looks including sharply cut jackets, coats and trenches cut with sailor collars and diving suit details are echoed in nautical uniforms and cowboy looks. From the dark flared silhouettes emerge brightly colored crushed velvet shirts and stretch tops, some printed with underwater cityscapes. The distinctive black-and-white silhouette of killer whales inspired the cut of spandex tops and leather jackets or the shiny wet-look finish of black tuxedo-style suits.
Pushing this aggressive/protective idea to couture level, sharp, dagger style metallic details flash menacingly on belts, box bags and metallic pointed collar pins. Bold jewelry pieces in blade shapes including Airpod-shaped earrings or finger covering rings worn together to form weapon gloves finish the looks.
The sleek silhouettes evolve into more casual and engineered outerwear looks directly drawn from hi-tech diving suits. The pieces are cut in a range of classic or innovative fabrics and enriched with myriad details such as the pull zipper of wet suits used on denim and leather total looks to full on protective layers. The big padded parkas, jackets and pants in a dark camouflage motif worn with life vest inspired tops and PU coated or latex hooded jackets and raincoats evoke the dark attire of a furtive underwater squad.
For the first time this season, Shangguan Zhe also integrates some women’s looks in its men’s line- up. The models dressed in black shiny tailored suits, layered bombers jackets or in tight zipped leather outfits carry the same fierce allure as their masculine alter ego.
Completing this detailed collection is a collaboration with the global lifestyle brand Herschel Supply, which produced an elaborate collection of three air tight and waterproof adjustable bags inspired by the scuba diving theme of the collection. 88 rising, the definitive youth platform representing the best creators of Asia, also collaborated on some of the logo inflicted SANKUANZ signature styles.
A special art installation by London-based Chinese artist Zhu Tian creates ‘150119.F’, an airlock room for welcoming attendants. Filled with scaffolding structures, the installation, inspired by London’s first underground hydroponic farm is questioning the critical turning point mankind is facing nowadays.