Gong Li’s collection, laced with charm, nostalgia and a dash of the absurd, was an escape for guests who’d tramped through the rain and freezing temperatures to attend the show at Palais de Tokyo.
Li said he was thinking about old friends gathering in a snowy mountain resort, reminiscing about days past and their childhood playing outdoors together.
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To underline the point, he tapped a diverse cast of young and older men. One even had snow white hair and wore what looked like run-of-the-mill reading glasses — a rare sight on a catwalk.
Given the weather — both in Paris, and in Li’s imagination — the men were bundled up in outerwear including long, nubby tailored coats in cream or hot pink; slim, ankle-skimming puffers, and jackets with front bits that folded upward and buttoned into sturdy, muff-like pockets.
Knits were whimsical, with Li treating them like an artist would a canvas.
One had a 3D-printed snow pattern on the shoulders and chest, while a baby blue and white rugby sweater looked lived-in and appeared to be torn at the back. A white, zip-front sweater jacket was adorned with cutout pieces of fabric resembling the blobs of a camouflage pattern.
Other styles were all about the kids. Denim jeans and shirts had tiny eyelets sprinkled here and there, recalling the mesh on school sports gear, while another pair of trousers was covered in a tufty camouflage pattern made from brightly colored yarn.
Li accessorized with traditional Chinese gourds that dangled from the wooly, brightly colored sashes worn with coats and jackets. In China, those gourds are an auspicious symbol, and they’ve clearly been working their magic for a while as Li’s collections continue their ascent.
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