Zero Hour, showcasing the debut collection of former Central Saint Martins student and rising talent Yang Li, presents a heady mix of juxtapositions. Created in collaboration with Dean Mayo Davies and photographer and filmmaker Scott Trindle, the film short combines a dramatic display of disruption, struggle and entrapment with the delicate simplicity of Li's designs.
The film was shot months before the UK's recent bout of riots, yet has a close resemblance to the scenes of burning buildings and mass uniformity that were broadcast on news channels across the globe. “I want to help ignite my generation who do not realise their potential,” reveals Li. “Everything moves so fast today and it’s easy to be emotionally lazy but there is space to grow new things.”
A fusion of product and emotion, Li's streamline designs incorporate prominent cutwork and box cuts and focus on traditional, quality production and manufacturing methods. “I choose fabrics based on feeling – subverting tradition but keeping the richness found in luxury fibres, such as a silk and wool satin which has a bi-directional tension and double faced tailoring wool mix", he says. The garments were created in the same Italian factories used by longstanding houses Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo, and the shoes were created in collaboration with British shoemaker Cheaney of Northampton.
Li is an advocate of film, believing it to be a strong medium to promote the message of a collection, “It's a powerful format as it allows you to craft an entire statement that remains forever.“ Zero Hour leaves a lingering and somewhat haunting sense of both intimacy and resilience. Li’s army sends a bold message to us all: “React intelligently... be a gentleman with a punk heart.”
Yang Li will present his spring/summer 2012 at a showroom during Paris Fashion Week.
Text by Mhairi Graham