The rawness of Yang Li telegraphed a femininity on the verge as the Chinese designer showed his spring collection with Jehnny Beth, the lead singer of The Savages, performing live. Having long equated the artisanal touch at play in his work with live music, it was only fitting that these twains finally come to fruition on his summer 2017 runway.
An idea of displacement always come across in Li’s work, as if his own voyage from Beijing to the Paris runways via its wayposts in Perth, London and Antwerp had perhaps not left marks as much as ripped away parts of him, those trailing threads that float away. Coupling the pared-back precision of his cuts with raw edging and skin play (human and hides, exotic or no, literal or figured as textures), the resulting collection had a cyberpunk elegance furthered by oversized buckles, straps and that bejeweled netting.
It was the latter, as a dress, that provided the one true off-key note of this discourse on destroyed beauty: why flaunt unnecessary flesh (and a potentially social-network deadly nipple) when the freshness of a black trouser with a crisp white shirt (as seen on Beth) is all that is truly needed?