Xander Zhou is simultaneously acutely aware of his past, present and future. His tailored sportswear aesthetic, infused with workwear, marks him out as very much of his time; yet it’s Zhou’s intellect that shoots him into solar system.
This latest collection teleports the audience directly into his vision of the future, where men are nonchalantly pregnant (“of course men can have babies, it’s already happening...”) and dehumanised individuals walk the earth like mindless, zombie drones. Always subverting gender and identity, the line-up includes a pink terry towelling tracksuit, casual shirting with elasticated cuffs, and ruching, padded mini-shorts worn over trousers. Surgical references and bright hues of green and scarlet, as well as wardrobe staples like acid washed denim and rugby shirts, complete the line-up.
As ever, the designer’s keen eye is evident in the details: leather knee-pads and bumbags, computer wires echoing sinuses run down cyclist sleeves, curvilinear sunglasses - a capsule collection with Gentle Monster - adding terminator angles to rubberised faces. The show culminated in the appearance of a rogue, many-armed buddha, it’s flailing limbs reminiscent of the thousand hands of Qianshou Guanyin.
“Digitised” is a key word, featuring both as an eerie chant on the show’s soundtrack, engineered by Emil Schult - a Kraftwerk collaborator - and in person from the designer backstage. A master storyteller, this is one of Zhou’s greatest fictions yet. “My style will be remembered well past the time when the sun begins to collapse and consumes the Earth…” reads the show notes. Zhou certainly has a lot to say - stay tuned for the next installment from a futurist galaxy far away.