Now established as a designer in Asia, Ji Cheng returns to London Fashion Week with her Eastern take on Western tailoring. Taking one of the most tangible imports as inspiration, ‘Teaism’ takes the humble cuppa to a new level.
An invite attached to a herbal infusion set the tone, while models walked down a ribbon of tea leaves, a presentation about the ritual of the tea ceremony banishing all thoughts of Tetleys and two sugars. Instead, the idea of a social custom that can transcend cultures and thousands of miles prevailed.
So to the clothes – again the colour (or lack of) reflecting the trend for neutrals, yet given an elegant twist. Accents in teal set off the palette of almost exclusively beige, cream and black.
The excitement instead comes from the texture and structure of the clothes – linen and cotton separates sculpted into soft, flowing peplums move the trend forward into next year. Extremely wearable, lines are anything but harsh. The Eastern element is not forgotten though – swooping, cut away millinery gave a nod to traditional Chinese headwear while lifting the ancient influences into the present and beyond.
Cheng manages to not be too literal here – although the tea metaphor is obviously present, the clothes are appreciative of the heritage without being literal or overly thematic.
Words – Carys Kirkpatrick
Photos – Kaye Ford