I had two opportunities to see Huishan Zhang’s work – and it only grew in importance the second time around.
I caught the end of the show presented in London as an English tea party. I was late, so I saw only the delicately embellished, after-dark dresses of a designer who has been travelling between his native Qingdao, China and the UK, where he studied at Central Saint Martin’s. He also did a stint working with Dior Haute Couture.
Up close in the French showroom, the work was ultra-delicate but the effect simple. I picked out the look of the season: a tailored white blouse with one bright patch of embroidery. It was shown with a semi-transparent gazar skirt, like an embroidered curtain of leaves.
The designer’s successful fashion fusion could immediately be seen in an embroidery of pandas on a streamlined white dress. Even more delicate was a rainbow coalition of pastel flowers in lacy shadow play – again on a plain, long-sleeved dress.
It is good to think that Chinese handworkers – in collaboration with a fashion-educated designer – can create effects such as chiffon leaf embroideries. I left the showroom thinking that Huishan’s East/West fashion story is going to have a happy ending.