Harry Xu showcased his AW17 Menswear collection titled ‘Jarylo Reborn’ to an overflowing audience in Freemasons Hall today.

Once again, the collection drew inspiration from Michael Chelbin’s photography, his work also inspiring Xu’s SS16 Graduate Collection ‘My Russian Symphony – Youth Prisoners’. AW17 also found inspiration from the deity Jarlyo, son of the Slavic God of Thunder: whose tale was one of rebirth, protection, and hope. A soundtrack set the atmosphere with ‘Deluxe Preparation’ by Chan Wong Wing and Muse’s ‘The 2nd Law: Isolated System’, having examples of heavy electronic bass being reminiscent of thunder itself.

This inspiration was clearly evident, the show having a semblance of dark drama. An interesting theme in the show was Rebirth. Xu reimagining the structures of conventional masculinity with exquisite floral patterns, and moments of flamboyance with elegant, almost romantic chiffons. The collection contrasted light, transparent silks and had heavier virgin wools with thick, exaggerated overcoats that were opposed open, with elegant and light shirts.

Xu was supposed to “showcase a narrative that leads from child prisoner, to creatively curious adult.” The collection opened with stark monochrome pieces, off set with blocks of colour reflecting the rigidity of imprisonment and fitting more closely to the typically masculine form with stark, straight lines. This was also mirrored with high turtle-necks, and large military-esque gloves acting as barriers to the body, barriers that were totally stripped with other pieces.

Creativity flourished later on in the show moving away from the black and white palette toward utility-wear tones with entire outfits of rich, sophisticated navy. Flowers popped out of the fabrics, metallic shapes adorned a stunning overcoat, and the imaginative conceptual adult was fully realised. This collection was a testament to Harry Xu’s craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Words by Luke Connolly

Photography by Nicholas Kristiansen

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