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yang li aw18 Justin Broadrick
Yang Li AW18photography Inès Manai

Yang Li’s funeral-themed show is captured in this new film

Directed by Sarah Piantadosi, the video showcases the designer’s AW18 collaboration with Justin Broadrick

Since launching his eponymous label in 2010, Yang Li has made his passion for music abundantly clear. In May, the designer collaborated with industrial noise artist Pharmakon for the first performance in his live installation HUMAN MAS/CHINE. He’s collaborated with musicians from SwansMichael Gira – who performed at his SS18 show – to Pandora’s Jukebox, who DJed at his debut show in 2013. And last year, he worked with Ramleh, Keiji Haino, KK Null, and JK Flesh, who all performed at London’s Selfridges to promote a line of merch created for fictional band Samizdat.

In fact, it’s the droning guitar tones of JK Flesh aka Justin Broadrick (performing under his Jesu band name) that accompanied Li’s AW18 show, which has now been captured by photographer/filmmaker Sarah Piantadosi in a lo-fi, black and white film. Titled 'YANG LI 1987-2087’, the show was based on a funeral (perhaps the designer’s own). Li explains that Broadrick’s music was perfect to create the atmosphere he was looking for. “I wanted to have this big sound that fills the space in a compelling way. Something epic that would fit a ceremony – it can be crushing and emotional yet there is a beam of optimism that shines through everything,” he says.

Piantadosi’s participation was also important to Li. Her film places the collection’s sharp PVC-rendered lines, graphic ‘1987-2087’ prints, and veil-like hair (styled by Anthony Turner) on an equal footing with Broadrick’s guitar-work and the architecture of the Eglise Saint Merri, the 17th-Century Gothic church where the performance was staged. Praising the filmmaker’s lo-fi style – the film was captured solely on Super 8 film – Li explains that the rough and raw textures of her aesthetic captured the emotion of the show and performance. 

One of the more cryptic elements of the film – the opening legend: OUR AIM IS WAKEFULNESS, OUR ENEMY IS DREAMLESS SLEEP – marks a continuity in Yang Li’s branding, having also appeared in his fourth Samizdat collection. The reference to Genesis P-Orridge’s experimental video group Psychic TV has become something of a mantra for the label. “Ever since Genesis and I became friends after working together in 2014, we have carried the legacy of those words in a lot of our work.” Joining the meditative phrase is the aforementioned ‘1987-2087’ hallmark, which Li has decided will remain a part of the brand’s aesthetic, “as a subversion of the dates used traditionally in fashion house branding”.

Watch the full film below.