This was my first fashion show of the Spring 2017 season. Claudia Li showed her Spring 2017 collection at Artbeam Gallery in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. Models stood on top of orchid covered pedestals. The flower was an ongoing motif throughout the collection.
On a cerebral level, Li took her inspiration from the magical moment between dusk and dawn where you shed reality and set yourself free. What that meant as a designer and stylist of her collection was she cast both male and female models for the collection, blurring the gender lines of who wears her clothing. Most of the menswear designers did this back in July for their shows, but this is one of the few women's designers to do the same. She found it empowering to defy expectations by blurring sexuality.
The clothing itself? Light washed denim was a major component. Cotton poplin, charmeuse, and knits were fabric staples for spring. There were dimensional embellishments in the orchid theme on denim shirts, power mesh, and shimmering metallic fabrics. They ranged from cord embroidery to 3D flower appliques to beading. There was a sweet orchid print in a painted effect.
There were a lot of pieces with artful, irregular draping. This was a wonderful design twist on many of the silhouettes that had some Asian inspiration, but the contemporary design took it far from cliches. There was a yellow head-to-toe look which reminded me of monks I have seen in Thailand, but over-sized lapel and tonal draping made it an avant-garde trenchcoat. The orchid print romper with extra-large cuffed sleeves evoked kimono styling when paired with a contrast red knit top with long ties in the middle. However the more you look at it, the less "kimono" it becomes.
Congratulations Claudia Li on giving my Spring 2017 NYFW coverage a great start!
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