Titled Dreams in Paradise, the designers's tribute to Suzhou’s Elegant Gardens and Kunqu Opera pairs the delicate elegance of Suzhou garden architecture with the muted beauty of Kunqu opera costumes.
All images courtesy of SARAWONG
From the mid-Ming dynasty until the outbreak of the Taiping War, Suzhou in the south of the Yangtze River was the most economically developed place in the country and set trends in both social development and lifestyle. As a result, Suzhou became known for its elegance and refinement.During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Suzhou became the most prosperous region in China, known for its private gardens. At its peak between the 16th and 18th centuries, there were over 200 gardens in the city, with dozens remaining intact today.
Kunqu is one of the oldest traditional operas in China, and is also a treasure of Chinese traditional culture and art, listed as one of the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO since 2001.
The collection used elements of window flowers and traditional Kunqu costumes such as colourful fringes, cloud shoulders, and fabric patchwork to pay tribute to traditional chinese culture and recreate the quintessential beauty of Jiangnan culture, a geographic area in China referring to the prosperous lands immediately to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
The collection featured the use of purple, cherry blossom pink, and soft goose yellow, drawing on the soft, classical, and gentle style of Kunqu opera costumes, particularly using the moving story of the masterpiece The Peony Pavilion, one of the symbols of the rise of the folk sense of individuality in a love story that pioneered the freedom of women to pursue love. Known as the Romeo and Juliet of the East, it is a classic monument in the history of Chinese love stories.
The FW 23.24 collection presented in Milan continued SARAWONG’s previous patchwork approach, combining fringes and wool weaving with clever combinations of colors to reveal the richness of the garments. The clothing elements were tassels, cloud shoulder, patchwork, sleeves, and window wool knitting. Tassel is a light and graceful ornament that has been passed down and developed through the generations The design was inspired by the tassels found on Kunqu opera costumes and draws on the split position of the tassels and the clashing of colors. The cloud shoulder is a unique style in Chinese dress culture, rich in decorative motifs, symbolic art language, numerical metaphors and profound cultural heritage. The jacquard fabrics used in the collection also incorporate the strength of SARAWONG costumes,resulting in a fusion of beauty and balance. Following the journey of awakening to the power of women that begins with The Peony Pavilion, the true power of freedom is to follow the beauty of the women one identifies with, to experiment, to question, to rejoice, to pursue love and to enjoy the confidence and beauty of being a woman.
SARAWONG’s collection aims to inspire a relaxed, happy mood, providing a way for people to heal themselves and find their own piece of fun, even in uncertain times. An invitation to everyone to experience the dream and find their own piece of paradise on earth.