FOR most of us this year, with the summer tourism season of 2020 significantly shortened, escaping to the sun-drenched bliss of the seaside has been nothing more than a pipe dream. Fortunately, Chinese-born designer Shuting Qiu has brought a taste of summertime to our screens in a film, entitled Summer Wonderland, shown as part of Milan Fashion Week.

Realised in Shanghai and directed by Qing Fan, the digital presentation, showcases the Chinese fashion house’s SS21 collection in a documentary-style format inspired by the intimate beach photography of Martin Parr.

“One of my main sources of inspiration for my collections has always been represented from my exotic journeys,” said the designer, who founded her namesake label in 2017, later making her international solo runway debut in Milan last September. “While working on SS21, the fact that I couldn’t travel left me with a deep sense of nostalgia and an urge to respond to physical constraints and uncertainty with a message of freedom and light, which took the shape of a summer beach wonderland.”

Effortlessly capturing the joyous and care-free atmosphere of a warm-weather getaway, the collection further established the juxtaposition of colourful and loud prints as a brand signature, while experimenting with lighter fabrics and shorter lengths.

Silk jacquard miniskirts, worn over matching tights and recycled-denim shorts, were splashed with rich contrasting prints that nodded to the neo-cubist paintings of Russian artist Natalia Goncharova. While intricately-embroidered asymmetric frocks and double-breasted blazers printed with colourful stripes echoed memories of beach balls and parasols.

Confident yet delicate, strong yet light-hearted, daring yet romantic – Qui’s SS21 was defined by contrast and further cemented the brand as one-to-watch. While you may not be able to feel the sand between your toes just yet, the dreamy imagery conjured up by this cheerful collection sure comes close.

by Joshua Hendren


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