A benevolent, flawless Goddess? Yuhan Wang thinks not. Rather, the young designer wants to change our perception of perfection, shining a light on the dangers of an incessant obsession with appearance.
Dubbed Venus in Furs, Wang felt inspired by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s text discussing the gender binary and its power dynamics. To subvert and dismantle these societal tropes, Wang unpacked Venus, the Goddess of Love. In Roman mythology, she was a symbol of femininity; beautiful yet delicate and dependent. But surely our definition of femininity had to have evolved with the passing of time, so Wang begged the question: “Who is Venus in 2022?” The answer: imperfect and human.
Asymmetrical and deconstructed, the patterns infiltrating her AW22 edit dissipated into opaque fabrics while tasselled houndstooth tweed, floral jacquards and soft leather and lace – actual, screen printed and laser cut – brought the quirk. Wang also played with knits for the first time, transforming parakeet greens and pale nudes into skirts, jackets and graphic jumpers. The cotton used was recycled, the faux leather upcycled and locally sourced, and the 3D-printed buttons and hair pieces were created using a little polymer alternative called corn plastic.
What’s more, the catwalk boasted a star-studded cast composed of Kesewa Aboah, Lily McMenamy and Jan Baiboon – but the true star of the show was none other than Wang’s cat. Undeniably cute, Misty made her way down the runway turning heads and causing a chorus of coos, while cradled in the arms of a model who donned a matching leopard print, faux-fur coat and hat (talk about “cat”walk). However, the placement of both a living cat and hand-painted feline motifs was entirely emblematic, informed by Thomas M. Earl’s Pets of the Household, in which he examines the close link between femininity and felinity. “Women are like cats,” Wang wrote in the show notes. “Sometimes we can be very cute but [watch out because] sometimes we can bite.”
Photography by Chris Yates.