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Female Apsaras, the female spirit of clouds and water, is a beautiful symbol of the rich culture of Dunhuang, an oasis in the famous and mysterious Silk Road of Ancient China. The Apsaras are able to fly without wings, with the support of the light and floating fabrics and ribbons. They are the inspiration for Blanc de Chine Fall/Winter 2013 Collection, named “Dunhuang.”
Lightness is the emphasis of the women’s collection, inspired by the traditional soft and flowing dresses of the Apsaras. Velvet and silk are extensively used, creating an elegant and fluid feeling; translucent elements are seen in jackets, capes and Qi Paos to further emphasize on lightness. Several pieces, including a brown reversible jacket and a silk crepe dress made use of asymmetrical cut to bring out the illusion of floating and movements.
The show opened with an asymmetric signature print tunic, with black silk skinny pants. The colors of the print tunic set the tone of the whole show, signaling a change from the label’s spring collection, which featured mainly monochrome pieces.
Following the first look are more colorful pieces, including a multi green draped front dress with print linings, a silk crepe asymmetric draped dress with pink sequin detailing, a multi color long dress as well as a stunning long navy Qi Pao (cheongsam) with blue sequin detailing.
The colors were inspired by “Sancai” tones – the tri-color tones used in the glazed pottery of Tang Dynasty, as well as on Dunhuang Mural arts depicting the dresses of Apsaras. An interesting twist is the ending of the show, a long black classic Qi Pao. This elegant piece served as a powerful ending, bringing back some weight into the collection and reminding the audience of the simple but sophisticated beauty of traditional Chinese designs.
The men’s collection is not as exciting as the women’s, with the only new element of smooth waterfall collar, inspired by the robes in Tang Dynasty. The collection featured the standard silk shirt, formal and casual style jackets with flat front pants.
The Silk Road was once the most important connection between East Asia and the West. It was an important route for the exchange of goods, and more importantly the exchange of cultures. The name “Dunhuang” symbolized the motto of Blanc de Chine of amalgamating traditional Chinese culture into modern lifestyle. The Fall/Winter 2013 Collection served the name well.
Jewel Jiang is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.