Angel Chen, the eponymous label created by Chen, was named as “Ones To Watch” by Fashion Scout in 2015. Known for her focus on youth culture and creative interpretation of pop, this year Angel Chen presented a collection inspired by an anthology of ancient stories whose protagonists are monsters and cultural significance immeasurable.
Chen has often explained that her environment has been a powerful influence upon her designs, and the environment created in the Vestibule in Freemasons Hall was one of intense excitement. Her penchant for spirited, bold designs meant that the audience were apprehensive and eager to be spectators to an expressive collection, and that expectation was beyond delivered. The audience was kept in a state of suspense throughout the show, as the lights begun to flash, then became startlingly bright, often switching between these states.
Chen’s experimental phase and interest in storytelling continues within this collection, through the use of iconic symbolism that directly references to ‘Shan Hai Jing’, the set of stories.
The room echoed this sentiment, with underground music with heavy beats switching into traditional chinese music, and then back into underground bass.
The eccentricity of the designs reflects the youthful, playful and creative element to Chen’s work. Previously, Angel Chen has blurred the lines between art and fashion by creating shirts with unique prints, that are closer to a painting than a textiles pattern. These pieces are an eclectic curated mix of history, culture and modernity, with male models wearing both skirts and large intimidating hoods.
The use of various complex techniques is expressive, manipulating fabrics so as to use them to their full potential and demonstrates a skilled artistry. The transformative nature of the pieces, where they can be adapted to fit both ankle and female bodies, is a postmodern element to the collection. The industry has been watching Angel Chen since her graduation from Central St Martins in 2014, and this edgy, truly original show marks a significant milestone in her stylistic progression.