Updated: Jul 5, 2019
Patrick Michael Hughes Men's Fashion Editor
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In the fashion future setting of Xander Zhou’s Spring 2019 collection shown at London Fashion Week Men’s technology and identity breaches still exist and identity appears to have a new definition linked to ‘Personal Appearance Signifiers- “I am more than 107 billion humans who have lived and died on plant Earth, so I treat myself to nice things. You will know me by my oversize silhouettes formed of ruby pullovers, skintight training trousers and boxy sleeved ‘magna’ t-shirts finished with unexpected cutouts, elasticized cuffs and ruching.”
The futuristic ‘Encrypted Messages’ and sound space of the runway collection staged in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Arts Entrance. It was an ideal Brutalist architectural choice for a collection set in a homogenized future. The Xander Zhou spring 2019 collection made the statement that “Homogeneity runs counter to my personal brand. I wear bright colors because I am different to the rest of the population. I generally prefer acid washed denim, high performance cotton drill, sheer nylon offset by tightly pleated polyester…” The two surprise fabrications IRK noted were terry toweling and distorted gingham checks the future was familiar, a bit humble and closer than we think. Irk also noted the touch of traditional Chinese shirt closure details in the future.
Color was key in this collection and to the Zhou male vision for spring 2019 it was draped, tailored, blocked and wrapping the body in cobalt blue, fuchsia, yellow and pink. In addition the collection featured ‘funnel-neck racer and multi pocketed fatigue jackets incorporating safety paneling with contrast seams’. ‘Logomania’ is also part of the Zhou future in the form of ‘XZ’ prints on striped rugby shirts, a wardrobe item that seems to making a slow comeback with a new generation. In this collection they were paired with padded mini shorts worn over trousers. “Arcane grid patterns were labeled with ‘circurity’ symbols which assist the information as to who I am.”
The details of the styling were also noteworthy, rounded toe loafers, suede slipper shoes, curvilinear sunglasses, and cyclist details evoke a sense of speed. Futurism which is originally an Italian art movement and manifesto, attached to youth technology and violence will be 110 years old in the spring 2019. Conscious or unconscious Xander Zhou’s concept and presentation has tapped into the similar concerns as the movement’s founders. Technology moves us forward and in that there will be loss of privacy, individuality and gender categories. There was a message of non-binary identity communicated through pregnancy and a t-shirt statement ‘New Word Baby’, adding to the subtle clinical tone of the collection.
Xander Zhou hopes to remedy that with fashion. “ My style will be remembered well past the time when the sun begins to collapse and consumes the Earth in about 4-5 billion years.”