Shanghai Tang, known for its vibrant and contemporary take on traditional Chinese culture, made its runway debut at Milan Fashion Week with a collection conveying the joy of a gathering.
More than an ode to the upcoming Chinese New Year, the theme of reunion for the new season is also a nod to Italian family get-togethers, as well as to mark yet another cross-cultural exchange between Italy and China since the 46th Venice Biennale, where Shanghai Tang held an exhibition to promote Chinese artists on the global stage.
For men’s Fall/Winter 2023, the brand built upon its legacy of modernising classics with elements of surprise and playfulness – characteristics inherited from its founder, Sir David Tang KBE, who is known for his irreverent and eccentric spirit. Staying true to its house codes, the collection offers an unorthodox interpretation of Eastern philosophies in a westernised context, skilfully gathering elements of both cultures with passion and creativity.
Injecting liveliness to festive formalities, Shanghai Tang’s famous star motif turns up in different shapes and sizes alongside the celebratory ribbons, which come as scarves, neck ties or knitwear patterns. Traditional mandarin buttons are blown up or recreated in pops of colour for a touch of whimsy. A sense of breeziness also underlies the collection thanks to relaxed silhouettes offering sartorial ease and comfort, while heavy embroidery and ingenious colour-blocking of apple green, fuchsia and orange remain faithful to Sir Tang’s motto, “Make life a party”.
More unexpected ingenuities abound in the collection upon closer inspection. Double-stitched, raw-edged jackets look like denim but are wool, while washed denim slacks are made more formal with tailoring. The Shanghai Tang suit, now a distinctive, revered icon, also features subtle subversions while keeping to the brand’s DNA of marrying traditional styles with contemporary elegance. When viewed from the front, the suit looks as is, but its profile reveals westernised techniques with its slightly architectural sleeves.
“We see our runway debut at Milan Fashion Week as a courageous step for our brand, and the best way to reintroduce our style of fashion, creative design, and oriental elegance on the global stage. This is also a chance for fashion and art lovers from Italy and China to meet again,” says the Shanghai Tang team.
In recent years, Shanghai Tang has collaborated with Chinese artists such as Xu Bing, Zhou Yilun and Chen Wei, deepening the brand’s connection with the contemporary art world since the beginning. For Milan Fashion Week, renowned Shanghai-based violinist Mengla Huang lent his dexterity and heartfelt emotions to the show, performing Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento, adapted from Italian composer Paisiello’s opera La Molinara by violinist Paganini, as models walked down the runway.
Yes, Shanghai Tang’s “Reunion” is a fashion show, but it is also so much more than that. It is about connection – personal, global, past, present and future. It is a tribute to Italy and China re-embracing in person, celebrating long-standing relationships, expressing deep affection and hoping for a bright future.
Relive Shanghai Tang’s Fall/Winter 2023 men’s runway show below:
Shanghai Tang is located at #03-05/06 Takashimaya Shopping Centre, B2M-232 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, and #01-27A/28 Raffles City Shopping Centre.
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