Against a backdrop that paid homage to the unrestrained decadence of 1930s Shanghai, designer Minki Cheng unveiled his AW18 collection in Mayfair’s Park Chinois.
The Hong Kong born designer is synonymous with an eclectic aesthetic, manipulating textiles in ways that are always exciting and unexpected. Inspiration for this latest collection came from gems and jewels; sparkling, multi-faceted, and full of the layers and textures that Minki has become known for. From the gemstone’s humble beginnings as an unassuming piece of rock, to an ornately carved ruby sculpted into a work of art; these contrasts fed into the AW18 collection, with an emphasis on zenlike meditation and contemplation.
Traditional and contemporary elements merged; sculptural couture outerwear was styled alongside dainty fairylike dresses fashioned from layer upon layer of delicate tulles, pleated into checks to resemble the facets and transparency of carved gemstones. Taffeta jackets were quilted to give the illusion of reflections, delivering dimension and definition in a way that has become Minki’s signature.
The AW18 collection was layered with colour and texture; from billowing white shirts finished with pearlescent silk, cinched at the waist with a quilted three dimensional belt, to an almost pixelated multi-faceted sheer frock in bold red pleated detailing. Minki has become known for his playfulness with texture and volume, combining couture elements with denim in looks that are daring, yet very wearable. He manipulates fabric in ever-innovate ways and this collection was a prime example of how this designer elevates the conventional.
Sleeves were voluminous, and casually cinched at the wrist; couture quilting appeared on everything from a sculptural navy checked off-the-shoulder dress, to statement belts and ankle grazing skirts. Rich jewel tones were offset with unexpected pops of colour; an oversized shirt in lush powder blue velvet was paired with relaxed cropped trousers, with a dazzling gemstone print strewn across the front like a brazen flag.
This latest collection leaves us pondering the question: Who is the superior creator of beauty, nature or man?