Grown Ups, that's the name of Xander Zhou's Spring Summer 2017 collection. At first sight, finding a connection between this title and the clothes presented can be quite difficult but after having read the interview the designer gave to LOVE Magazine, it all makes sense! As Xander Zhou told the Fashion Bible:"It’s more like you can finally do everything and choose your life, and I think for me it [the show] is about a new kind of freedom". Growing Up is being able to make your own decisions, your own choices and looking at this very sexually free collection, perhaps feeling comfortable with your inner self.
The underground gay scene is at the core of this collection. Street tribes dressing like they couldn't care less. Youth subcultures from the underground bringing this "dark" side of our world to the catwalk with their wardrobe, a perfect mix between sportswear & luxury, their own redefinition of what is good taste & what is bad taste. Look at the opening look, a shocking glitter purple hooded dress with those I don't give a F*** giant sleeves (a look developed later on in pastel pink or in barbie pink, or in grey but without sleeves this time) and you'll be seduced and convinced that Zhou is pushing sportswear very far. The hoodie is something important in this collection (and in a way an element of counterculture), it is even featured as an experimental scarf on the bare chest of a young & somehow innocent model. These long scarves are also paired with the giant trench coat (with great utilitarian vibes) in khaki, black, camo-print or in a more classical but nonetheless terrific beige; one is even raw-edged as if torn. When it comes to outerwear, we could also mention the showstopping piece of the collection, the boxy blue trench coat with its double giant (a word that comes often when speaking of Xander Zhou) removable sleeves and worn over a pink hoodie. A perfect mix of classical & subversion. Just like these patent leather trench coats (in black or in a shocking red); violently beautiful, savagely beautiful, boldly beautiful and the ultimate proof that beauty can be found even in the darkest places. Trousers are also pieces that should be written about; either in patent leather looking like those you could spot in some kinky sex shops or baggy ones adorned with a multitude of studded belts. The camo-printed cargo pants are also showpieces though one could qualify them as somehow vulgar, literal & very bad taste (and pretty hard to walk with!). But after all, what is bad taste guys? Do you have a universal answer to that? Here, at W.A.R.M., we are completely under the spell of the so cool combo: big printed shirts (stripes or gingham) + striped crop tank tops. Not sure we would wear such an outfit but it is definitely something we deeply love! And we could still mix those prints together without feeling the need to show off our belly buttons!
In this SS17 collection, accessories are worn like fetish objects of desire; grunge chain necklaces, chokers composing such words as FREEDOM, GROUP or YES, hardware pendant earrings made out of keys (useful to carry the minimum when in da club), rolled-up dollars (useful to pay for your drinks or to do whatever you want with a rolled up dollar) or anything you need for a night out in the wild city. And this giant patent leather bag with a heavy chain handle?! Huge and absolutely desirable! More bulky than a key-chain earring but way more intriguing & fascinating too!
Detail Pictures via Nowfashion
In those insane days, in those tragic days when people having fun in a club in Orlando were shot because they dared to be themselves, because they dared to love, because they dared to enjoy their lives, it is quite comforting to see such a collection. Xander Zhou dares to be himself and to create a wardrobe to celebrate the gay community. A community that should be much more celebrated & loved than being despised, scorned or hated...
Picture by Yi Tuo for I-D
Words by Yann Sackville-West & Charles Margueritte