Clearly showing our own ignorance, once seated inside Freemasons Hall on Saturday afternoon all was explained. It turns out it wasn’t potpurri at all, but tea leaves! Just not the kind of Tetley’s variety we are used to. Ji Cheng’s collection, dubbed ‘Teaism’ called upon the sacred tradition of tea drinking in China and the Eastern World, and how it’s viewed as the most dignified way to entertain guests in Eastern culture. Not your standard English cuppa then…
With the catwalk itself strewn with tea leaves, this was somewhat of a ‘more tea, Emperor?’ take on our western ‘vicar’, and did have me thinking about how blase the Western world is about something so precious to others. Hell, Britain built a whole empire on it, and the Yanks had the audacity to chuck it all overboard. Maybe we should be worshipping our teapots a bit more like our Eastern brethren, eh?
But anyway, back to the collection! While I did initially think ‘tea’ would be a hard thing to translate in to inspiration for an entire collection, it was with relief that not one model sashayed down the runway in a pyramid bag (maybe I should trademark that and send it to the Haus of Gaga?). Instead, we were greeted with a fresh, sophisticated collection, that not only screamed feminism (grown up girly is in by the way, sorry tom boys), but also subtly yet effectively hawked back to the theme through colour, flowing lines and silhouettes, and the tea fields of China where Ji Cheng started her creative process through the use of hats reminiscent of the type worn by tea leaf collectors. Silk trims, layers, bias cuts, sheers and peplums all dominated (yes, that’s right, the peplum has survived aw12 and has made it through to Spring!) and flashes of black reminded us of the seriousness in which tea is taken in Eastern culture. Overall, Ji Cheng has managed to create a collection that could otherwise have seemed obvious, yet managed to maintain subtlety and an air of freshness for SS13. Now, I’m off to dunk my invite in some water.
Photos: Faraz Pourreza-Jorshari www.boomson.com