“Women are like cats,” says Yuhan Wang. “Sometimes we can be very cute but sometimes we can bite.” Her carefully printed show notes warned us. Autumn / Winter 2022 saw fiercely feminine and whimsical designs prowl through the cavernous London warehouse-like room of The Old Selfridges Hotel, Tuesday before last. Guests sat wide-eyed and phone in hand. Departing from the frills we know her for, frays and furs trimmed the collection - seemingly an ode to her muse, the Persian cat Misty.
As a womenswear designer, supported by Fashion East, Yuhan Wang has set a reputation for thrills from frills (draped gathering to be precise) - at a Bridgerton level of coy but sexy. This collection is demure, yet strong and titillating in a streamlined collection that plays with caress-able textures. Our highlights include open-knit black body con dress embellished with balls of fluff to paw at, oyster-like scooped hemlines adorned with the classic Yuhan wang floral print and long-line fur trimmed coats.
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 4.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 11.jpg
Your cat Misty stole the hearts of attendees in the crowd and online who cooed as she purred down the runway cuddled in a decadent floor length fur coat in a texture and caramel colouring not dissimilar to her own. Did your relationship with your cat change over lockdown? If not, how do you relate to Misty: is she a friend or accomplice to mischief?
I' m very happy I could spend much more time at home with my fluffy friends during the lockdown. She’s more like a family member who keeps me feeling positive, especially during stressful times.
Staying healthy is important to stay inspired. Seeing friends and family, noticing fallen dried palm leaves and enjoying life seem to be your sage advice. Do some of the posies in your prints relate to specific walks you have been on or pages of a flower illustration book? What drew you to the flowers you chose for your print and embellishments?
I’m very into Basilius Besler’s illustrated Hortus Eystettensis. It was created in the 17th century, but everything [in its pages] is still inspiring today, including the plants in the garden of the Prince-Bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria. I’m also fascinated with patterns from antique ceramics and furniture, both from the east and the west. I usually pick the elements based on the theme of the collection. For example, for the SS20 collection, we used loads of peach elements in the beading and embroideries, which reflected the romantic tragicomedy play called Peony Pavilion.
Your pattern cutting plays with hiding and revealing different parts of the female form. What is it that enticements you to a certain part of the body? You have an emphasis on shins, knees, and thighs more that plunging necklines, why is that?
For me, the enticements come from an atmosphere, a gesture and a sort of emotion that is related to this woman in front of us. It’s not about how much cleavage and thigh we show, although neckline is important as it is where people tend to gaze.
The shiny black pearlised looking material of the oyster-shaped hemline dresses made me think of oceanic images of feminine identity. Was a watery texture something you had in mind as Venus-like?
I like the way you interpret the look. It's also the fluidity from the satin fabric itself which reflects the poetic and romantic movements of women.
Imperfection comes out in fringing and fraying. Why is it important to remind ourselves no one is perfect?
I would like to say all women are perfect. There shouldn't be a single standard to judge how we are supposed to be. The differences and diversity between us as individuals are the most beautiful part.
What would the world look like if women were in charge?
Women probably wouldn’t have to worry about what they wear and travelling home by themselves at midnight wouldn’t be an issue.
The matriarchal Mosuo tribe you reference live in the Himalayas, were you able to visit or meet with the women who inspired you?
I had planned to go in 2020 but unfortunately Covid-19 stopped all travelling plans. Hopefully, I can visit there next year.
Finally, can you ask for us - which is Misty the cat’s favourite look?
Haha! She likes any garment with hanging thread – she can play with it all day long.
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 1.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 2.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 3.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 6.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 5.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 7.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 8.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 9.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 10.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 12.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 13.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 14.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 15.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 16.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 17.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 18.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 19.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 20.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 21.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 22.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 23.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 24.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 25.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 26.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 28.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 30.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 29.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 31.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 32.jpg
Yuhan Wang Metalmagazine 35.jpg