[J]ane Morris, the lover and enigmatic muse for both textile designer William Morris and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was the starting point for XU ZHI’s Fall ’18 collection.
“I’m trying to adopt new design philosophy and expanding the conceptual meanings and layers of the collection,” London-based designer Xu Zhi Chen tells Hunger. “This Autumn / Winter 2018 collection was a turning point for me. We did two showcases both in London and Shanghai – one presentation and one exhibition – with each one completing the other in order to add more context so audiences could have a better understanding of what XU ZHI stands for.”
Craft meets concept runs through the Central Saint Martins alumna’s work. This season it was about exploring a painterly approach, romanticism and reality in the modern day world of social media. Xu Zhi Chen says: “The platforms that seemingly offer us an opportunity to connect as individuals and see us commoditize our faces, so that thanks to filters and “populist pouting,” we all ironically end up looking the same. Jane Morris may have died just over 100 years ago, but her face remains with us as one of the most recognisable faces within art history, and surely as the best “pout” on record. This is a face to live for. But is the face – as painted by Rossetti – who she truly was? Is this the woman?”
It would be a disservice to simply describe Morris as a ‘muse’, however: she was a model, poet, collaborator and artist in her own right. XU ZHI harnesses these multi-faceted qualities within the collection with a mash up of manipulated textiles, strong colour-blocking and oversized silhouettes…