"Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life."
The 1990s-inspired fashion label launches a collection for Opening Ceremony
On a chilly afternoon last weekend I was buzzing into the gates in a quiet neighbourhood in North West London. I’m not visiting friends or family, but instead attending a mini house-based event hosted by fashion brand Nφdress. No fancy launch parties, no pre-hyped press releases, Nφdress announced the RSVP-only event through its Instagram page, which is also the only platform the brand uses – for now – to operate straight-to-customer services.
Nφdress grew organically from word-of-mouth among fashion students to Instagram reposts to an interview with British Vogue. And the Chinese-born, now London-based designer Luqi Yu intends to keep it that way for now. The AW18 debut sales event is hosted on a makeshift shop floor that is the living room of her flat and is organised and run by herself with the help of her close friends.
But the range has caught the eye of established fashion retailes – Nφdress’s exclusive collection for Opening Ceremony dropped earlier this week. The capsule collection includes three mini velour dresses with mandarin collars and puff sleeves. Trimmed in colour lace and features a diamond brooch, the body-con dress comes in purple, pink and green, all priced at USD $195.
Luqi Yu, a textiles design student at Central Saint Martins, is just back from Tokyo where she teamed up with local stores Aifer and The Four-eyed for a three day pop-up event earlier this month at Bunka Fashion College. The ever-growing fashion city is also where her campaign photoshoot for the AW18 collection is set.
Yu says: “In the design and visual research process of the collection, I got a lot of inspiration from the styles at Japanese 1990s high school disco contests, and I got to visit Tokyo for the anniversary pop-up sale hosted in partnership with the local fashion college and select shops. So I thought it’s the perfect opportunity.”
The photos are set in Tokyo city scenes and traditional Washitsu (Japanese-style rooms), where Yu herself and local Maiko Shibukawa were dressed in printed mesh tops paired with bicycle trousers, brightly-coloured knit two-piece suits, leopard print skirts and fur coats, while accessorised with mini bead pouches and shoulder fur bags.
Yu’s fascination with 1990s Chinese and Japanese street style and the influences from receiving training in London translated through her third collection to date – from the experimental use of different textiles, edgy play with shapes and silhouettes, as well as attention to the artful details, Nφdress is a young designer brand not to be overlooked.
The stand-out look from the collection is a set of golden rose bra and skirt. She says: “The inspiration for this look comes from the Miss USA beauty pageants in the 1950s, where contestants wore dresses that emphasise their silhouettes, reflecting the beauty standards at the time. I’ve fitted the herringbone structure from Medieval corsets for women into the waistline design and purposefully magnified the imbalanced proportion and exaggerated the aesthetics of the look.”
The brand’s nostalgic yet modern aesthetics is already getting attention from fashion influencers such as co-founder of Sukeban Magazine Erika Bowes and KOM_I, lead singer of Japanese music group Wednesday Campanella. A popular piece from her pre-fall 18 collection, which is a silver puffed corset with crystal straps, is seen on Danish singer MØ’s EP cover, styled by Aldene Johnson, who is also the stylist for Florence Welch.
The Nφdress collection for Opening Ceremony available online and in its NY and LA stores.
*This article is originally published on _shiftlondon
Meg is a full-time fashion journalism student at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. She moved to London at the age of 18 to pursue her dreams of becoming a writer.