The location for this presentation truly had charm. With a painting of Christ crucified at the end of what looked like the nave of a church, it was surprising that this part of the building turned out to be the entrance of a massive industrial elevator. Fully immersed in fluorescent neon lights wonderland, 26 year old designer and Central Saint Martins alumnus, Minki Cheng takes us to a warehouse church while paying homage to his hometown, Hong Kong.
The designer found inspiration for this collection in the bright neon signs characteristic of the city’s buildings, he truly brought a piece of home to his designs. Cheng wanted to capture those lights in his collection since they will be progressively replaced by LED lights which are considerably cheaper and less expensive to produce. Hence, the perfect occasion to concretely hold onto something so iconic in the Hong Kong panorama, before it goes away completely. The neon lights somehow represent the highlight of a booming era for Hong Kong and their visual significance has often been celebrated in different forms such as in the film Blade Runner whose sequel has been announced recently with impeccable timing for this collection. The signs will be forever immortalized both in film and through these raving designs.
In Cheng’s autumn/winter line, the modern meets the traditional. We can find a balanced combination of avant-garde cuts with the use of technical and more traditional fabrics coming from Italy. The neon signs and their glossy shapes are interestingly reproduced on the garments and accessories through glowing silicon. The top with the neon palm tree is the best example of that.
The playful shapes of knitwear make the jumpers more appealing to the eye giving exposure the usually hidden top of the arm. Angular and classical geometry is reproduced through the silicon work making the garments less serious without overshadowing the quality and craftsmanship in the choice of a different combination of textiles. The result is a shaking up of traditional wardrobe ensembles providing added value, thanks to the quality of the production, giving the individual pieces a luxurious tone. There is a great interplay of volumes and shapes that make ordinary garments more interesting to look at and wear. The volume and maxi proportions of skirts, jumpers and coats give a sense of comfort without losing the silhouette. The style is minimal but innovative and futuristic. After all, there is no need to overstate the stylistic choices when the collection has a clear message and strong visual references that speak for themselves.
It’s safe to say that the neon signs of Hong Kong won’t be forgotten that easily.