Structuralism wears a new skin as the rigidity of boxy silhouettes find grace in a feminine color palette. Beijing-based designer Simon Gao founded his eponymous label in 2012. For over a decade he pursued a nomadic education in cities, such as Singapore and New Zealand, until he touched base at the Raffles Design Institute to procure a degree in Fashion Management. Gao quite enjoys dissolving the lines between sexuality through his garments, and he does so like a deft artist. His looks come across as sharp and dynamic at a passing glance, but the intelligence in his craft is illuminated at a closer look. His previous collections echo a melange of ruggedness through bomber jackets and crisp trousers that is set off by a flouncy peplum and buttery sheer fabrics.
For his Spring/ Summer 2016 collection, Gao draws inspiration from multiple notions such as installation arts and the abstract geometrical quality of contemporary architecture. The ‘Me and my Shadow’ theme represents the contrast between light and dimness and illusion and reality. Graphic abstract motifs are depicted on biker jackets, structured tunics and zippered blouses. The collection emanates a strong whiff of grungy street wear accompanied by the soft minimalism of straight cut dresses. Gao pushes boundaries with his hems and necklines by creating elongated lapels, relaxed epaulets and what he calls the ‘shadow’ collar – a breathable version of the more traditional Mandarin collar.
The garments are presented in a miscellany of fabrics-cotton, leather and a gauzy metallic lamé appears in full-bodies version, such as a floor-grazing trench coat or in subtle hints as the pockets on a blouse. The zipper detail is a primary element that is consistent through out the collection. Breezy crop-tops and bell bottomed culottes with artistic overlapped draping enhance the architectural angle that Gao brings to his avant-garde collections. Gao’s women are the powerful alpha-females with unbinding attitudes and an affinity for no-nonsense dressing.