LFW SS17: Angel Chen

The strange, lyrical drawings of the ancient text, ‘Shan Hai Jing’, were referenced for Angel Chen’s Spring/Summer offering: a mythical, sequin-studded world of sports-wear and ruffles, ripped tights and evening dress. There was a playful, irreverent theme throughout – colours endearingly garish, eyeliner sketched onto skin; yet there was an undeniable maturity, a completeness of vision from the young designer.

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Translating as ‘Classic of Mountains and Seas’, the tome of Chinese history and myth (caught somewhere between bestiary and folklore) follows repetition over narrative throughout its chapters. An aesthetic reflected in Chen’s Spring/Summer show through the reiteration of codes, the re-emergence of red, and in the creatures woven into Japanese “Silk Acetate” and Chinese denim in silver and gold thread.

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As much as the referential literature defies explanation, so does the collection – a cacophony of colour and clashing of concepts, that in its over-saturation, its enduring playfulness, succinctly speaks of Angel Chen.

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Citing Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood as inspiration, a familiar vivacious energy is present throughout her designs; provocative and vibrant, she explores whilst exaggerating: the exhilarating made wearable.

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Gaudy blouses are layered under dresses; skirts are worn as tops, pleated and ruffled in shimmering shades; dresses are tasseled and trimmed in faux fur; sequins are rife, and mid-show, a pink bikini arrived paired with a tie-dye teal sweater.

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A refreshing, youthful conceit, Angel Chen is evocative of London’s celebrated avant-garde energy, it’s merging of cultural ideas, and reflective of a new wave of designers from Central Saint Martin’s – one to watch.

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