For Autumn/Winter 2023, Yuhan Wang elaborates on her exploration of womanhood to deliver a revisionist slant on female figures fortified by the male gaze. Wang’s point of departure was the 2003 cult film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill, wherein a retired member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Beatrix Kiddo (“The Bride”), seeks revenge against Bill, her former lover and DVAS leader. Four years prior he had tried to kill her in the midst of her pregnancy with his child, in a fit of jealous rage. Looking at the film through a feminine lens, Wang observes that, “The Bride’s quest isn’t about taking her revenge, but rather restoring her true self – a warrior.” As the film flows, Beatrix begins to rectify herself and her beauty, and interpreted by Wang, it translates into a disobedient Autumn/Winter collection celebrating women’s resilience, leadership, and activism.
“Nowadays, women face so much pressure. I’m trying to use the movie as a catalyst to remind girls that no matter what happens in the end, no matter how hard something is, whatever the obstacle, to be true to yourself and you’ll be reborn. In the end you will become stronger.” – says Wang.
Cinematic motifs emerge; Gogo Yubari’s chain mace becomes a recurrent etching, undercut by ribbons to make it “sweet”. The Chrysanthemum – a vibrant, aromatic, and furling flora, and Chinese symbol of vitality and women’s resilience – is translated into a supple print. An adorable little toy bear ripped from a vintage pattern cutting book is reconfigured with Photoshop and elaborately embroidered feline forms percolate dainty spaghetti strap tops. Other decorative anomalies appear in the form of futurist craft: 3D printed chrysanthemum chokers and earrings appear in gold, silver, and transparent figurations.
A geometric rigor emerges in conversation with color – understated and nostalgic – that unfolds in a collection of both evolved and intricate garments in supple pastel hues. In crimson and bubble-gum pink, delicate hand-knit frocks feature oversized roses, stitched as a single congruous cloth – a masterful feat. Irregular patchwork also represents how women have built themselves back up in the face of systemic adversity. Playing with proportions and layering, delicate, deconstructed Victorian lingerie pieces are paired with lace-up pumps with a piercing toe. Kiddo’s iconic yellow leather motorcycle jacket, re-conceived in a robust structured lace as opposed to leather, is the nexus of the collection.
Lace artifacts gesture to the material specifications of previous seasons along with the generous application of floral prints that were developed in house. Through recycled cotton, artisanal lace, pretty pastel silk satins, dead-stock wool, tasseled houndstooth tweeds and romantic chiffon fabrics, Wang’s gently rebellious coquette aesthetic errs on the side of subversion. And for the first time, Wang introduces floral denim and lustrous sequin ornamentations to her canon.
The poetic allure of Wang’s signature ruched and draped lace livery feeds into the fantastical feeling of each AW23 look. Distressed elements, curly eco-fur jackets, and peignoirs and sheer negligees like something from a neo-grunge dreamscape make the collection the epicenter of fantasy for an age-defying romance. Symmetries are challenged by the potentials of drape and manipulation, creating ephemeral moments of folkloric poise, and providing an intimate reconnaissance into the language of dress.
Yuhan Wang’s work has always been about ideas of femininity and the unwavering resilience of womankind across Eastern and Western cultures, ruminating on femininity with clothes that stand for something. This season, strength, resilience, and understated beauty are studied through the female gaze.
Stylist: Matthew Josephs @Minititle
Casting Director: Madeleine Østlie @ AAMO Casting
Make-up: Rebecca Wordingham @Bryantarists using The Unseen Beauty
Hair: Adam Garland using Authentic Beauty Concept
Knits: Elaine Lip
Photos: Courtesy of Yuhan Wang