Photography: Voda Minjie Gong
It’s easy to get bored at Fashion Week. After a slew of crop-tops, structured coats and floral prints, everything can start to look the same. That’s why, when designers are able to create something innovative out of classics—we take notice. And that was the case with Yajun and Claudia Li.
At Claudia Li, the New York designer moved on from the solid colors and voluminous shapes of last season to deliver a range of refreshing Spring classics. From saccharine prints to architectural yet delicate dresses, Li channeled Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams into an innocent, yet elegant and feminine collection.
For her latest collection, New York designer Yajun Melody Lin joined streetwear and structure to create an effortlessly cool line of Spring staples. From cropped pants to off-the-shoulder blouses, Lin took feminine basics and gave them a menswear edge. And though the designer won the 2016 Kering x Vogue competition and interned at both Public School and Phillip Lim, as well as Acne Studios, she’s been quietly building her brand just under the radar. With this collection, Yajun has solidified itself as an emerging name with a bold aesthetic, capable of making wearable clothing that doesn’t feel dull. That’s really the unifying factor between Lin and Claudia Li. Even though the designers approach womenswear with very different directions, they both fuse wearability with a fresh inventiveness that makes them understated, yet exciting, at the same time. And while most young designers focus more on viral ability and making a name for themselves through campy theatrics (did someone say Alexander Wang?), Yajun and Claudia Li are concerned with creating really great clothes.
View photos from the Yajun and Claudia Li S/S ’18 presentations above, and read our interviews with the designers, below.
Yajun S/S ’18
Tell me about the collection. What inspired it?
Traces of time inspire me. When I was traveling in China, I thought about the architecture, and you could see the evidence that time left behind. I thought a lot about how time reflects not only in architecture but humans—like wrinkles or flowers decaying. That’s what I was really focused on when designing the collection.
Describe Yajun in three words.
Elegant. Rebellious. Experimental.
What do you see as your role as a designer, especially during these hyper-political times?
I just want to find my audience and support everyone’s thoughts. We all have the same values in life, so I believe we have all the same aesthetic when it comes to approaching beauty. I just want to create a free community where everyone can join in.
Claudia Li S/S ’18
The collection is called ‘Foxes Live Under the Rainbow’—it’s a quote from Akira Kurosawa’s film, Dreams. When you’re a child, you’re so curious about everything. Everything you see, everywhere you go, all the exciting, new experiences—it’s all unknown and unfamiliar. But children are so brave—they just boldly take it all in. As adults, I feel like sometimes we forget what it was like to have that childlike bravery—but often in dreams, it comes back to us. So this collection was really about trying to express that.
It’s a lot brighter, and happier, and we’re starting to do a lot of prints. We also made our own lace this season, which was quite fun—we’ve never done it before. We also introduced a new bag.
Describe Claudia Li in three words.
Attention to detail.