“Jade in the shadow”
MUKZIN unveiled its Fall/Winter 2018 collection on the theme of “Woman Xia” in Paris on March 1st 2018. Kate Han, chief designer of MUKZIN gathered a Wulin (a term used in fictions and media to describe the community of martial artists) event on the theme of “Woman Xia (a title of legendary female with both chivalrous spirits and Kung Fu, who are
not frail beauties lamenting in boudoirs in most Chinese beauty-and-hero romances).” In regardless of the boundaries among cultures and spaces, this event aimed to dispel the fallacy and misunderstanding over the Xia culture in the past century, and establish the voice of fashion from the Orient in the name of Chinese Women Xia’s revolutionary spirits. The corresponding English title of this theme is “Jade in The Shadow”: Jade, or jadeite, is the name of the Woman Xia; Shadow means the silhouette, their figurative hidden identity in the community of Wulin. The image of Woman Xia’s shadow accompanied by her sword aims to insinuate a traditionally biased concept of Xia – only on martial arts. And another
image of Woman Xia with her sword hidden behind performs as a frank illustration of the veiled Orient Xia spirit after accomplishing the mission of “sacrifice for the sake of others.”
In this Wulin event through ancient and modern times, there are various mysteries hidden behind the clothing. In ancient China, Woman Xia usually tends to hide their secret identities with the help of clothing. It has inspired the designer Kate Han, taking clothing as the medium, to discuss the relations between clothes itself and the “another self” hidden
in it. Tailored in a geometric way of design, the Mobius-strip-like skirt is connected both inside and outside. With a slight pull of the gadget on the clothes, the model, dressed up as a Woman Xia, can finish her changing in a flash, from inside to outside; and her identity can therefore be redefined with the change in the way of dressing, enabling women to reconstruct themselves. And this design also suggests a very diverse but concealed relationship between Women Xia and their other hidden identities. As the Japanese philosopher Washida Kiyokazu has written, “Fashion, the game on the surface of human body, is our social skin, through which we are seeking for ourselves.”
Kate Han has deconstructed the symbols of Women Xia and their spirits throughout history and mixed those elements in a new way to create a splendid image of modern woman as reflected in the hall of the World of Mirror. Women Xia characters including Nie Yinniang and Hong Xian in the legends of Tang Dynasty are presented in styles of popular
Hong Kong comics in the 1980s, and are taken down on composite technological fabrics made by paper and memory metal, together with structural tailoring as well as hand-shaping techniques. Through the above processes, a piece of fine-fabric clothing tailored for Woman Xia has been presented in front of the audience with the softness of paper
and the toughness of steel, featuring the characteristics – a harmonious combination of strength and gentleness – of the Woman Xia in the Orient.
Inspired by the multi-layered design of jewelry boxes in ancient Orient, Kate Han constructs a weapon collection exclusive to Women Xia in another section of the main show, in which the blades, swords, spears and halberds exhibited are given feminine colors to reduce their relentless nature. Arrows are decorated with carved flower patterns on the belt, and darts are structured as delicate rings. Those symbols of blades presented on the clothing and accessories of the models are not only blazing and enchanting, as hidden magic sword behind Nie Yinniang, but also contains a great force.