Claudia Li S/S 2017

If you’ve ever wondered how to pull off the boxy-but-cute menswear look, take a few cues from Claudia Li’s SS17 collection. The up and coming designer debuted her fourth collection comprised of 25 pieces at Artbeam this Wednesday. The collection mixed dramatic draping, clean lines and elegantly detailed fabrics with masculine, oversized silhouettes.

“The collection is about setting yourself free and just embracing your femininity,” Li said. “I liked the fact that we played around a lot with what’s masculine and what’s feminine.”

This blend of forms allowed for the launch of her menswear looks. She broke down the idea that specific garments are only intended for one particular gender. Male and female models alike sported boxy jackets, some in warm hues and other in light or dark denim. One denim jacket was accented with soft blue floral embroidery, while another was made of a pale, shimmering gold fabric and had orchid flower accents.

During the creative process, Li stumbled upon a book of Joseph Szabo’s photography at the Strand Bookstore that ultimately would have a profound effect on her collection.

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“The first page when I opened it was a really strong image…It was just one picture of this girl, she was wearing a denim jacket and holding this guy. Her eyes were looking at him, it stood out a lot. The whole spirit of it is very free,” Li said.

To capture this organic, uninhibited essence, models donned flowing, lightweight blouses and dresses with larger-than-life cuffs, or dainty crop-tops paired with culottes. The designer revamped the classic trench coat by altering the proportions and incorporating the double breast and buttons into other garments. Hair and makeup wasn’t fussy; models sported a dewy look and natural curls.

Overall the Claudia Li spring/summer 2017 collection drew on popular trends in a refined and unique way. This diligent attention to detail told a story of artful juxtaposition and adaptability.

Grace Halio is the Deputy Managing Editor. Email her at [email protected]

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