yang li collaborates with jesus and mary chain in SS20 paris spectacular

The designer continues to break down the barriers of the fashion show.

by Felix Petty
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01 October 2019, 1:26pm

Fashion is, essentially, consumed via Instagram now. From magazine editorials to fashion week catwalks, stylists, buyers, designers, fans, journalists all use and utilise the platform to share some kind of visual perspective on the industry. In practice, this often leads to a thousand identical Insta-stories of the exact same moment, a blurred finale video, an out of context moment quickly scrolled past.

Yang Li, has spent the last few years subverting fashion week’s imagery obsessions, often working in collaboration with other artists and musicians. Last season, for example, he presented what he called “an automatic collection”, which involved sending the looks to 40 models (who included Rossy De Palma, Lily McMenamy, Camille Bidault-Waddington, Genesis P-Orridge) who then created and released the collection imagery themselves.

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This season he presented his second “automatic collection” — this time created in collaboration with The Jesus and Mary Chain and Icelandic artist Agusta Yr. “It all comes from my love of the band, absolutely,” Yang explained. “The starting point of the collection, which is called Greatest Hits, is my shortish career, of about eight years. During that time I've worked with about twenty musicians. We're trying to push against the norm, by collaborating in this way with them, having this creative conversation.

“I wanted to create a show that would push the limits of performance, I asked the band if they would be up for doing something a little bit crazy... something that would push the boundaries for both of us. As a fashion designer, just putting on a show isn't so interesting all the time, I wanted to present the collection in a different way.”

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Inside La Gaîté Lyrique, on Saturday night, Yang had managed to coerce Jesus and Mary Chain to play an hour long set of their own greatest hits inside a 360 digital video installation created by Agusta, which featured a 3D scanned version of Ruby Aldridge and Wolf Gillespie who modelled the collection, walking through strange digital landscapes.

“It's a nice, experimental, process for me/ I want to do something different — I like art and music that's transgressive, that pushes the boundaries, I don't see why we can't do more of that in fashion,” he said. It was as much about the primacy of experience and imagery over clothes — guests in the crowd alongside the band on stage wore the collection.

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“In a way, we're selling something more than clothes. The brand is voice, the clothes are the souvenir. We use the normal tools as well — we have a showroom, we do lookbooks, that all still exists. At fashion week you have this moment, you have everyone's attention, do you want to parade some models down the catwalk? I mean, I enjoy doing that too, I love the fashion show, but... we just kept saying to ourselves, how do we push it further, how do we push it further.” It’s success as a show comes from that — it’s not really about the clothes, but about finding new ways for the brand to interact with its audience, it’s about the liberation of fashion from the status quo.

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Photography Paul Phung

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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Jesus And Mary Chain
yang li