With previous winners including the likes of Phoebe English, Eudon Choi and David Koma, the Fashion Scout Merit Award show is always one to watch at LFW to discover fashion’s next rising star. Despite only recently graduating from Parsons, this year’s recipient Han Wen has already been featured on vogue.com with his thesis collection An Escape from Tradition, leaving an expectant hush over proceedings as we took our seats at Freemasons’ Hall.
One by one the models appeared, gliding almost imperceptibly down the catwalk in a slow and steady sequence, their faces dusted in silver, making them seem almost like living statues. Each one was clad in highly-structured swathes of material, ranging from soft, silky textures to strong, robust leathers.
The outfits were incredibly intricate in their design. Each separate piece was joined to the next through a combination of straps, hoops and gravity, holding them in place just so and giving the designs a slight bondage feel. Most of the designs were off the shoulder, with super-loose sleeves and baggy necklines giving a fresh take on this current trend.
The models filed out for their final walk, pausing along the catwalk and turning in synchronisation to stand motionless for us to appraise the collection as a whole. They seemed almost like troops of an incredibly fashionable robot army, nodding to the traditional Chinese armour that inspired the collection with robe-like and tied belts. Rather than becoming an extension of the models’ frames, each design formed an outer shell over their bodies, providing a modern day armour for anything the world has to throw at them.
As the show ended and we came out of the trance that Wen had hypnotised us into – a pleasant relief from the hubbub of Brewer Street – the room was abuzz with discussion of the collection and Wen’s successful juxtaposition between tradition and modernity. We’re certainly looking forward to seeing what challenge he takes on next – it’s sure to bring something a little bit different to the scene.