ACCOMPANIED by a cacophony of eerie voiceovers and throbbing electronics, Xander Zhou’s AW20 proved to be a futuristic, form-bending read on casual leisurewear. As a robotic voice extrapolated on the wonders of the quantum realm, the show opened with blocked, dichotomous colours, splitting full looks down the middle.
Zhou expanded on his interest in theatrics and engineering, with a collection of jackets and trousers that reinterpreted fastenings, creating jagged zips and open flies to subvert the classical verticals that menswear often perpetuates.
The styling varied with the looks, with lashes, straight and blunt hairpieces and some pixelated makeup all featuring at different points in the show, constantly surprising the audience that had packed into Protein Studiosto glimpse a first look at a designer who is exploring the nuances in the relationship between media, tech and fashion. A suit created out of blurred, pixelated facial images clearly displayed Zhou’s intention of producing work that speaks to the wider social narratives of today.
While the Yeti-inspired fur suit of AW19 did not make another appearance, Zhou’s use of electric blues and lightening bolt greens indicated a more subtle approach this year, perhaps in search of more cohesive thematic and practical elements in his collections.
With the globalised world constantly looking to blur lines between the intangible and the concrete, Zhou’s collection speaks to integration and incorporation of real-world design – industrial, technological – in the ephemeral world of fashion.