As much as this issue’s No Borders, No Boundaries sub-section pushed the boat out in terms of vibrant design, Angel Chen’s motley collection is a clear stand out for me.
Chen describes herself in the article as a newborn baby, “curious about growing up and experimenting with prints.” This self-evaluation hits home with her latest collection, AW15The Bunny With Short Legs.
It is a explosion of colour in which patchwork cloaks hang over red rompers, puffed out bonnets dangle streamers onto the floor and scribbled faces adorn 3-piece pyjama suits. The collection bares resemblance to a troop of scouts on a weekend exhibition to the Highlands; albeit with the uncanny ability to actually suit yellow and blue pinstripe.
If Chen’s combinations in AW15 seem to be pushing the boundaries, a glorious pastiche of 70s high fashion, then her earlier work goes fully beyond the left-field.
AW14 Les Noces is the story of two girls who met in Africa and decided to get married. “My collection is a narrative of that story,” Chen says. “It’s a beautiful, colourful wedding, because in Europe weddings are always in black and white. The characters I portrayed are four friends who came from all over the world to celebrate.”
It is a charming story and a charming characterisation by Chen, who glosses over the fact that the four friends all seem to work as bedraggled clowns. Les Noces is stupendously surreal. The patterns are intense and the cuts chunky. Although it veers far closer to the farcical than later work, it remains in the sublime with a similar joyous giddiness as FRUiTS.
At the end of the article Chen talks about the direction she going with her work.
“I’m growing up with my customer. I’m really crazy about colour too. I want to explore detail and colour as much as I can.”
Whether this admission signals a continuation along the svelter lines of AW15 or a return to the brazen textures of Les Noces, Chen’s work will undoubtably continue to be as eye catching as it is unique.
The Ones to Wear: Angel Chen, Monique Daniels, Magdalena Brozda, Ka Kui Cheng, Shimell and Madden. Check out the interviews by Alyss Bowen in our new issue ROOMS 17, Who decides what you see?