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Eastern style makes an impression at exhibition

Updated: 2023-11-04 09:26 ( China Daily )
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An exhibit on display at China Darlings.CHINA DAILY

An exhibition China Darlings, which aimed to deliver Eastern aesthetics in a contemporary way by gathering together talented designers, intangible cultural heritage artists, and high-end luxury brands, wrapped up in Shanghai late last month.

Zhang Hanying, editor-in-chief of Fashion Zoo, a pioneer media platform that initiated the exhibition, says they hoped to explore the potential and possibilities of traditional designs.

Though there are quite a lot of artists or designers doing Chinese cultural and fashion shows, many of the designs or shows still lack exposure, and people still have stereotypes of Eastern beauty, she says, taking arched eyebrows and guqin (a seven-stringed plucked instrument) as examples.

"At least we can start with a new exploration of Chinese aesthetics, and then provide the designers and the public with different potentials and possibilities, making everyone aware of that Eastern aesthetics must enter into modern life."

As the first exhibition initiated by Fashion Zoo, China Darlings showcased hundreds of creative exhibits, including fashion designs, accessories, and objects from everyday life, using experimental installations and visual images to construct an imagination of the Eastern worldview in a pioneering and diverse manner.

The most significant exhibits came from five pairs of creators, and each pair included one designer and one intangible cultural heritage artisan.

Chen Shengtao, a fashion designer who was nominated for the LVMH Prize this year, collaborated with a lantern artisan for their installation. Buerlangma principal owner Yuan Qiqi, whose design is favored by superstar Beyonce, co-designed a mask with floral artist Lyu Xinran.

In addition, Ma Ziyu's intangible cultural heritage silk tapestry with cut designs, and Liang Liwen's soft ceramic skirt were all unveiled. The participation of some established brands, such as Shang Xia and Zhu Chong Yun, jointly showed the vitality of traditional handicrafts in the field of fashion.

Fashion Zoo also invited Chen Ruyi and Sasha Jiang, the principal owners of In the Park and The Marketplace respectively, to share their own daily-use objects that can reflect Eastern aesthetics.

"Our China Darlings project is not just an exhibition. It is also a creative experimental field for Eastern aesthetics and contemporary expression," says Fan Xiaoxiao, principal owner of Fashion Zoo.

"In this space, all imagination and viewpoints about Eastern aesthetics can be seen, as well as a new media format we want to try — Space Magazine," Fan explains.

According to Fan, the experimental concept of Space Magazine was set up at the exhibition for the first time. A pop-up photography studio, which invited photographers to use on-site exhibits to create fashion shoots, was set up as part of the exhibition.

During the exhibition, Fashion Zoo also launched a series of impromptu conversations to explore the aesthetic perspectives of different exhibitors and visitors.

These visual materials and dialogues generated from the space will be edited into content for the special publication of Fashion Zoo.

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