Beautiful Synthesis of East & West


By Ford Leland

Paris, France – Showing in Paris for the first time in his career, Chinese designer Laurence Xu has created quite a splash with his Winter 2013 Haute Couture collection. Challenging the divide between western notions of contemporary fashion and eastern values of traditional construction, his silhouettes are a beautiful synthesis of styles that make a unique stand for the emerging prominence of his homeland.

To kick off the festivities of his maiden event, Xu presented a demonstration of ancient Chinese silk weaving techniques; a nearly extinct trade that the Chinese government has recently made efforts to preserve. While this may have been his way of saying “We were couture before you even knew what a needle was”, his decision to start his show with a drag opera performance made an entirely different statement. This juxtaposition of old and new world concepts continued throughout a collection that celebrates youth and the natural cycle of seasonal rebirth.

The first look, a pastel blue spring embellished with woven flowers, was carried on the shoulders of a stunning young Chinese girl. From there, a series of yellow and blue ensembles gave way to a powerful set of summer pieces in black and gold. Autumn had a solemn mood in cascading shades of plum, and an ivory winter was accented by the scrawling growth of newly flowering buds.

Favorite pieces include an embroidered eggplant evening gown with exposed shoulders and a white belted dress with sheer embroidered train. Though the modernity of certain silhouettes was questionable, it is clear that Laurence Xu’s unique perspective has a place in Parisian haute couture.