Fashion enthusiasts inspired by the upcoming China-themed Met Gala to seek out more pieces by top Chinese designers need look no further than Huishan Zhang, who joins a growing class of fashion talent hailing from China that has made it big on the global fashion scene.
All eyes have been on Zhang’s new capsule collection at Barney’s in New York to celebrate the upcoming top fashion party of the year and Costume Institute exhibit entitled “China: Through the Looking Glass,” but he’s been making his mark on the global fashion scene for several years now. With a prestigious Dorchester Prize win under his belt and regular showings at London Fashion Week, he has an impressive list of stockists for his regular collections that not only includes Barney’s, but also Browns, Harvey Nichols, and Joyce. In addition, a high-profile roster of top global celebrities has been showing up on the red carpet in his pieces, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Keira Knightley, and Helen Mirren. Given these factors, it’s safe to say that Zhang has graduated from the “up-and-coming” category often used to describe young designers and is now a successful name on the global fashion circuit.
“This capsule collection is a celebration of the Chinese spirit, with intricate crystal detailing depicting traditional Chinese dragon imagery, furthered by the use of the symbolism of the color red,” Zhang told Jing Daily in a recent interview on the new capsule collection. “Whilst playing with delicate layers of organza and my signature embroidery on silk and lace, I combined Eastern and Western influences to create beautifully feminine dresses with a focus on craftsmanship.”
The Met Gala itself will be focusing on how Western designers have been influenced by (and fantasized about) Chinese aesthetics. Zhang says of the theme, “My focus is to bridge the two cultures aesthetically whilst always celebrating the different cultural references so I am happy this is taking place. It is always interesting to see how people perceive and interpret cultures based on their own personal experiences.”
Zhang has a very diverse international background himself: he grew up in Qingdao, studied fashion in London at Central Saint Martins, and worked with Dior in Paris. When asked about which location has had the most impact on his designs, he says, “I have been lucky enough to spend very defining chapters of my life so far in all of them, so I would say all of them in different ways.”
Now, as the global press waits in anticipation to see whether or not Western celebrities will show up in pieces by Chinese designers, Zhang is quite happy with his high-caliber celebrity fan base so far. He says that Paltrow, Knightley, and Mirren “have ultimately been muses for me at some stage and I am very proud to see my collections on them.”