Shuting Qiu Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection

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Shuting Qiu was born in Hangzhou, studied in Antwerp, presented her collections in New York and Milan, and now lives and works in Shanghai. For a 27-year-old it seems like quite a resume, also a consequence of the pandemic that has forced her to revise her schedule and adapt to the situation, as it has for so many. “Having had so many different experiences already is really formative; it has helped me better understand who I am and what I want to express with my clothes,” she said.

Qiu is an artist and this is clearly visible in her collections, including this one, shown inside a private home in the heart of Milan, complete with a greenhouse and parrots. It was an art-soaked space in which her looks full of brushstrokes, prints and mash-ups came cheerfully to life. Passionate about painting since childhood, she cultivated her talent at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, famous for its experimental approach, as well as for churning out many international fashion talents such as Martin Margiela, Demna and of course the Antwerp Six. And it was from painting that Qiu began to develop her own approach to fashion design, eventually arriving at a mix of prints that has become her signature style.

For spring she wanted to pay homage to the work of abstract painter Bernard Frize, in which color, applied in its purest version, is at the center. Qiu used the application of fringes in solid, ringing hues to reproduce the effect of the mix of broad, precise brushstrokes typical of Frize’s work. “The complexity of mixing colorations and patterns is definitely what fascinates me most in creating clothes,” she said.

Upcycling seems increasingly inescapable in the work of the new generation of designers, probably because it is also part of their culture. Qui uses deadstock textiles salvaged from around the world, including vintage and leftover stock, but she does not limit herself to fabrics: she has also worked on a collaboration with Ugg, revising their boots through colorful appliqués. For spring she employed Swarovski crystals and stones to embellish petticoat dresses, tailored jackets and straight skirts. The latter were the most special pieces in the collection, always shown with leggings and sweatshirts, another legacy of the pandemic period, which pushed Qui to seek a balance between a proposal close to the art world she loves and a more practical and casual one.

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