andrea jiapei li brings hypermodern romance to spring/summer 17
One of New York’s most inventive young fashion talents injects a hit of romance into her super clean, outsized aesthetic.
After skipping New York Fashion Week last season in favor of presenting her fall/winter 16 collection via video, one of the city's most exciting young fashion stars is back on the schedule. That last collection — titled "Back in the Day" — saw Andrea Jiapei Li lightly inspired by the nostalgia of 90s hip-hop videos. It was a solid example of why Andrea's phenomenal Parsons graduate collection caught the eye of Rei Kawakubo, who bought the whole thing to stock at her radical retail space Dover Street Market, but this time the Beijing-born designer wanted to soften things up ever so slightly. "For this season, we tried to get a little more feminine," she told us at her spring/summer 17 presentation yesterday. "We called the aesthetic 'modern romantic.'" Hypermodernity consistently radiates from Andrea's outsized, super clean silhouettes. Romance was here approached through the muted blush and lilac tones that washed over architectural tank tops, and the gauzy sheer fabrics that blended seamlessly with her go-to space mesh and neoprene.
The elegant, feminine vibe of yesterday's presentation was magnified by the set-up, which featured models playing a mesmerizing game of slow-mo volleyball with a giant balloon. It also formed an effective contrast to the subtle punk ethos of Andrea's brand. The mold-breaking designer has recently been influenced by Dada, the European avant-garde anti-art movement that spread through Zurich and Berlin in the early 20th century. "We approached clothing the same way," Andrea said. "You can see there are random elements and colors which have been picked out from our daily life. We tried to put everything together and still keep it playful, sporty, and elegant." They — Andrea and her extra savvy business partner Weishi — definitely succeeded.
Andrea's fashion world trajectory is a sharp reflection of how New York functions — for better or worse — as a launchpad for young designers. The last two years have been a breakneck rollercoaster ride of Dover Street Market installations, VFiles mentorships, runway hiatuses, and now, a confident return via MADE's dynamic designer incubator platform. We can't wait to see which direction she moves in next.
Text Hannah Ongley
Photos Tim Zaragoza