Emerging Chinese label Xu Zhi shines at Milan Fashion Week

Xuzhi Chen is already a certainty within the new designer generation. The 24 year-old Chinese designer was invited to showcase his label Xu Zhi by Giorgio Armani at the couturier's own Armani Teatro, with the support of the Italian Fashion Chamber, and has wooed the Milan Fashion Week audience unreservedly.

Xuzhi Chen and Carlo Capasa, the President of the Italian Fashion Chamber - DR

Xuzhi Chen presented 23 women's ready-to-wear looks, all of them perfectly realised, proof of his great expertise in tailoring architecture and technique. Each garment is a small masterpiece of research and know-how, starting from a thread or strips which the designer is able to twist, fold or plait, creating a new shape each time.

Shapes which in turn generate wefts, unusual textures or movements that are emphasised by fringes, of variable length and thickness, adding length to a dress or unravelling at the bottom of a pair of trousers. "The threads are individually hand-plaited," said Xuzhi Chen, who is happy to be called Daniel, underlining how it takes about a week to make a skirt in this fashion.

Xu Zhi, Autumn/Winter 2017-18 - DR

These fragmented constructions are as beautiful as a landscape viewed from the sky, and also lend garments an unexpected rhythm. "I love creating emotions and playing with contrasts.  For me, fashion is something real, it is as though I am transmitting energy through textiles," he told Fashion Network.

Xuzhi Chen was born in Shanghai and moved to London to study at the Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design. He then founded his own label in the British capital in 2014, having worked for emerging UK brands J.W. Anderson and Craig Green.

With his contemporary couture style, Xuzhi Chen has already attracted some fifteen directional buyers, chiefly from China, including Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, but also Opening Ceremony in Tokyo and the Dover Street Market in London.

Xu Zhi, Autumn/Winter 2017-18 - DR

Xuzhi Chen has quickly established his reputation within the industry too, by reaching in 2016 the semi-finals of two prestigious awards such as the Woolmark Prize and the LVMH Prize.

He is part of a new generation of talented Chinese designers including Angel Chen, who has shown for the first time in Milan this week too, Momo Wang, Xiao Li and the creative duo made up by Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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