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Chinese designer channels Mexican revolution for new collection

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2017-10-03 23:49

Chinese fashion designer Chen Xuzhi is preparing to reveal his latest collection — inspired by the female soldiers of the Mexican revolution.

Chen, who graduated from a design school in London, will present his Spring/Summer 2018 collection at this month's Shanghai Fashion Week.

The London-based designer runs his Xu Zhi luxury Chinese label which is known for its contemporary attitude to both aesthetic and craftsmanship.

He says his latest collection has been inspired by Las Soldaderas, the female fighters who fought with the federal and rebel armies of the Mexican Revolution.

"In the process of research, we found this interesting contrast among these women, both personality-wise and outfit-wise" Chen said. "Many would still wear floral Mexican folklore dresses to go to the war and often appear to be both fragile and strong-minded at the same time; something I'm always trying to create and shape within the Xu Zhi women image."

Chen focuses on textiles and details to create an impression of movement. He experimented with new techniques and fabrics, such as multi-frayed dresses, which he said is challenging at times.

"Continuing with our signature braiding, Xu Zhi this season also adds a lot of new materials and techniques, such as pleating and lace-weaving, or what we would call the artificial braiding effect," Chen said.

"We want to create the effect of clothes as the body's armor," he added. "So a lot of metallic fabrics were embedded into the looks."

Chen was a semi-finalist last year in the LVMH Prize and Asia finalist for the International Woolmark Prize.

He recent catwalk presentation in the Teatro Armani in Milan was described as a "polished, tightly edited show" by Women's Wear Daily magazine.

Born in China and trained in women's wear design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, Chen's graduate collection helped establish his signature technique of yarn and embroidery.

He has since shown his designs at shows in London, Paris, Milan and China.

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