Claudia Li debuts first-ever Resort collection
New York City-based designer Claudia Li has unveiled her first Resort collection just two years after establishing her eponymous women’s ready-to-wear label.
The Chinese-born designer, who grew up in Singapore and New Zealand, launched her namesake label in 2015 after studying design at Central Saint Martins in London and attending the Parsons MFA Fashion Design and Society Program.
The 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree told Forbes that, as a daughter of an opera singer and an art dealer, she knew she “would be involved in the arts.” She studied painting in Beijing, but turned to fashion from a desire to share her ideas in 3D. After attending Central Saint Martins and Parsons, she interned for Lady Gaga’s stylist Brandon Maxwell and designer JW Anderson before deciding to launch her own brand.
Today, Claudia Li is available in New York City, Chicago, Venice, California, Tokyo, Odessa in the Ukraine and on the brand’s website.
Li’s collections boast unique silhouettes that challenge convention and tradition. The designer’s first capsule collection, which debuted at Parsons, pushed boundaries with non-traditional shapes and masterful craftsmanship. The Resort 2018 collection continues Li’s unique perspective.
“The Resort collection is Part I of the larger title “Dreams,” which is shared between Resort and Spring/Summer 2018,” said Li. “The title of the Resort collection is called Dreams: Part I, “There he was again, the invisible man…”
Li delved deep into her mind for inspiration for the Resort collection, drawing from her dreams and what she could remember when she woke up.
“When you wake up from a dream,” she said, “you often only remember a small fragment of the dream, like an object, character or color. Some time later you might be triggered by something you see in real life, and it brings you back to that dream. It’s almost a feeling of déjà vu - the whole idea felt very surreal to me. So I started recording my dreams, and looked at surreal images and paintings.”
The result is a collection that includes unevenly cut, two-tone tops, two-tone wide leg bottoms and skirts, shirt tops with an extra front panel layer, chic double-breasted coats with no lapels, and wide lapel peacoats. Recurring details in the collection, include wooden buttons, contrast stitching, and billowing sleeves that resemble a tulip, which also serves as a preview for the label’s spring 2018 collection.
The Resort collection is comprised of four color stories—indigo and white, khaki and white, rose, and red—with the rose story drawing from, according to Li, “collages by Joe Webb and a man in a pink suit” and the red story referencing “a painting of a nurse in a red cape.” The indigo story is familiar to Li’s spring and fall 2016 collections.
In addition to working on her Resort collection, Li has been studying wool fabrics and designing a collection both as part of the Woolmark competition. She was named one of the US finalists alongside Andrea Jiapei Li, PH5, Protagonist, and Zaid Affas for womenswear, and Death to Tennis, Palmiers du Mal, Kenneth Ning, N-P Elliott, and Dyne for menswear.
“It’s definitely been very interesting,” Li said about the Woolmark competition. “My team and I learned so much about Australian Merino Wool and its benefits. We’re having so much fun working with Merino Wool and constantly discovering functionalities that we’re not familiar with.”
The Claudia Li Resort collection will launch this fall and the Claudia Li spring collection will debut at New York Fashion Week in September.
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