Stiletto heels, sheer revealing gowns, pink hair, oversized pastel blazers and transparent visors. The fashion-forward looking crowd waiting in front of the American Cathedral doesn’t look like the average church goer at all, with the steel crush barriers in front of the building also looking quite odd and out of place. But everybody knows it’s Haute Couture Fashion Week, so passers-by catch on quick that this most probably has something to do with it. Entering the building, the long wooden benches, tiled floor and limited tall stained glass windows assure the archetypical and somewhat dark and gloomy atmosphere of a cathedral. We definitely applaud China-born Parisian designer Lui Chao for choosing this as the venue for his Fall-Winter 2018-2019 couture fashion show.
Creating his collections in his atelier at La Madaleine, Chao offers contemporary and uncomplex “couture-to-wear” pieces for his label named “Liu Chao Paris”. After studying History of Arts at Sorbonne and History of Fashion at Studio Bercot, Lui Chao went on to further develop his skills by receiving training in haute couture embroidery at the Lesage House. Add this technique up to the exclusive development of rare fabrics and you can image just how high end his collections must turn out. The lights dim in the church with the ambient pulsating music transforming the atmosphere, the first embroidered dress approaches the clicking camera’s.
Contemporary? Yes! Uncomplex? We would beg to differ. While Liu Chao’s craftsmanship and aesthetic is very clear, the intricate and outlandish designs are surely complex when it comes to concept and target audience. In a very positive way to be exact though. He fuses the bizzare, large puffy dresses in pastel colours with darker, rougher silhouettes that have a more folkloristic feel beautifully. All of the dramatic headdresses and accessories add to this even more, complementing the deconstructed leather looks and balancing out the more demure looks, if any. Some of the creations even feel very futuristically bohemian, like the velvet embroidered maxi dress or the leather wrap-around dress with fringes. Another item that especially caught our eye was the black leather clutch with super long fringes that dangled all the way down to the floor. Liu Chao has definitely delivered proof that he is one to watch with this collection.