It is a story of a fashion designer Yuhan Wang, whose collections are inspired by traditional Chinese ideas of femininity and its connections to the Western culture. “Beauty with weirdness, softness, delicacy and sensibility,” as she says.
Wang’s distinctive vision, rooted in traditional Chinese ideals of feminine beauty, has blossomed over the last three seasons, solidifying a frothy yet sophisticated aesthetic.
But before she turned her attention to fashion, Weihai-born Yuhan Wang has studied graphic design at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
“I definitely wouldn't have achieved what I have up until now without that experience. Graphic design is another way of viewing the world and it's helped me develop a better understanding of how to visualize elements in 2D. New York City is such a fun place, full of energy and diversity, and it was an integral part of everything I learned during that period of my life.”
“It was a big culture shock the first time I ever came to the West - it's a very different system running under its own rules. What is very interesting to me is that the East and West share the same emotions and sensibilities but they express them in their own way, based on their culture and dynamic within their societies. It provides an interesting framework for me to try and understand the relationship between objects, the emotions they create and the various ways in which these emotions are expressed at surface level.”
Yuhan Wang was scouted by Lulu Kennedy's Fashion East - through which she presented her SS19 collection. The collection caught the eye of esteemed press and buyers with her hand painted floral drape dresses, which instantly became her signature piece.
At the moment Yuhan Wang collection has stockists including H-Lorenzo, Dover Street Market New York and Los Angeles.
Wang has recently joined Marni in Milan as a ready-to-wear womenswear designer.
“I always enjoyed playing with body related projects since I was little; not limiting myself with only making clothes for dolls, but also doing some mini figure sculptures in various materials. I didn't come up with any ideas of doing my own brand until I attended Central Saint Martins. My BA and MA collections both gained very positive feedback. From that moment people around me kept telling me that they liked my work and would love to wear it. That’s how I started it,” explains Wang.
Her inspiration comes from the Western and Eastern cultures; the similar and bonded emotions and sensibilities we share as women from both sides of the world, no matter the age.
“Fashion is one way for a person to communicate to others what is going on in their inner world. I don’t wanna align my collection to certain ages as the business part of this industry usually does. It can be any girl or a woman with strong self-beliefs, soft inners and free spirit.”
Melancholy of a taboo love affair gives an emotional framework to her last SS20 collection. Powdery pinks, blues and purples dominated a collection filled with lace and chiffon dresses, their transparency interrupted by the occasional shock of green silk. Leaf garlands and a painterly peach print added interest to the nature-oriented collection.
“We looked to the epic 22 hour long stage play ‘The Peony Pavilion,’ written by Tang Xianzu in 1598 and its 2001 filmic adaptation. We began to explore the psychological mood of the season. The lead character, Cui Hua, a courtesan/songstress who marries into a noble household, and later falls in love with a female cousin in a culture that strictly forbade same sex relationships, roamed at large in the creative process,” says Wang.
“My work is about more than just garments. I want to create a meaningful and beautiful moment. This desire is usually the starting point when I’m making a collection. It sounds quite simple and obvious, but it's true. I’m excited by the unknown. All I know for certain is that I want to dress people with beautiful pieces. My journey so far has made me question what femininity is about and how I can re-shape that concept in a way that reflects the contemporary woman.”