Rough is new – the designer shoots his gonzo lookbook on the street with photographer Scott Trindle
"I am always interested in taking the iconic out of context," London-based designer (via Australia and China) Yang Li explains. "This season is a bit darker in its colour palette but lighter in the movement and weight of the collection. It’s also a much more feminine silhouette contrasted by cold, sharp tailoring."
"Rough is new" declares Li, in a cocktail of the spontaneous and intelligent. "There are too many 'smooth' things now, which loses the spirit," he continues. "The mix of finished and unfinished, complete and incomplete is important." Shoes, realised with Andrew Bunney, remain classic: derbys or penny loafers.
Li, who showcases his collection to buyers and press in Paris, has once again collaborated on a series of images with photographer Scott Trindle. However this time they've ventured beyond the studio onto the streets, creating a gonzo documentary folio complete with its own hashtag. Dazed Digital caught up with the designer to learn more.
Dazed Digital: What are the key pieces this season?
Yang Li: The psychology and action of slashing or leaving unfinished parts of a beautifully made garment such as a tailored jacket or hand finished dress is very beautiful for me. There is something understated, punk about cutting open a well made piece of clothing and using raw edges to subvert meticulous hand-finishing. The bladed forms made from couture silk which re-occur highlight the new sensibility in iconic materials, partly finished.
DD: Can you tell us about the concept of the lookbook?
Yang Li: I am very interested in newness and anonymity. Together with Scott Trindle we wanted to invite the public to contribute to the lookbook. As we are all so snappy with our mobile phones and social media we created the hashtag #YLSS13 for the day of the shoot and then just downloaded the public's images for the lookbook, which was shot around Whitechapel and Chinatown.
DD: Iekeliene Stange was your female protagonist. What does she embody for you?
Yang Li: She is a very free person, totally human and she has the spirit of punk on the inside as well as intellgience in making her own decisions. I'm full of respect for her.
DD: What were you listening to in the studio this season?
Yang Li: Music and film are so important to me, it’s a way to escape and dream a little. Fantasy is what fashion is all about. We’ve been listening to Michael Gira/Swans a lot…the range and mood of his work I think somehow melted into the clothes a bit. Plus I just came back from China with a bag of bootleg DVDs, so I've been digging into local Chinese films... especially early works of Zhang Yimou and Jia Zhangke.
Photos by Scott Trindle