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Temper Takes Five With Yùhán: One Fine Graduate From Antwerp’s Royal Academy Of Fine Arts

A harmonious friction between balance and contrast, this line sums up Jiangsu Province's born and raised Yùhán's Fashion Design MA graduation collection at Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Five fast facts coming right up!

Budding designer Yùhán opted for a quixotically convertible womenswear collection containing “3-in-1” pieces, intensified all the more by their militaristic Sci Fi tech features as well as the renowned and refined artisanal art that is Suzhou embroidery. In the name of conflicting equilibria, Temper this time around does not take five per se, but instead chooses to give you five fast facts on this newly graduated MAsterly mistress.

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Designer Yùhán: MA Graduation Collection (Royal Academy Of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium).

Take 1! The buzz about Suzhou’s bizzy embroidering beezz.

The first records of embroidery in Suzhou date back as far as the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 B.C.). The embroideries served minor decorative uses, on clothing and household items.

Su embroidery (su xiu 苏绣) is the most celebrated of the four main styles of Chinese silk embroidery, hailing from the city of Suzhou and surrounding towns of China’s coastal Jiangsu Province. Known for its subtle and refined needlework, Su embroidery is praised for its use of the finest threads, balanced compositions, dense stitching and smooth finish.

Compared to the other three embroidery styles — Xiang of Hunan Province, Shu of Sichuan Province and Yue of Guangdong Province — Su embroidery is characterized by distinct stitching techniques, use of split silk threads and a breadth of art themes.

Why this historical cultural 101, you ask? Because…

“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.” George Washington

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Designer Yùhán : MA Graduation Collection (Royal Academy Of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium).

Take 2! Inspiration spiked with dedication

Yùhán has taken a leaf out of Japan’s kimono fabric book and belted it with some high-tech dedication.

Kimonos are traditionally made from long pieces of fabric, usually sewn by hand along straight seams, with a collar attached to give a clean shape around the neck.The fabric is not cut to fit the shape of the wearer, but instead folded and draped around the body and held in place with an obi — i.e. that swaque [swag+chique, copyright on that; not that anybody else would like the word, but still…] sash.
The width of the kimono fabric determines the size of the kimono. The standard width for kimono fabric is 14 inches (35.5cm), but wider fabrics for larger people are available.
It is precisely this limited availability of fabric to work with — 35.5cm versus 1.50m — that draws on the deepest imagination of the crafting artist. As a result, Yùhán’s design is dedicated to the fabric rather than the other way around.

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Take 3!  Androgyny, where the feminine meets the masculine

The Yùhán woman in this graduation collections is a powerful one who carries herself with a blatantly militant sense of confidence and ease. Her catwalk image is strengthened — exaggerated, even — by the strong presence of black leather, robust corsets and statement spikes.

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Take 4! Future Works vs. Fallus Symbols

The future in the Yùhán sketch book is looking rather different from this particular collection on show. “As a designer, you must always combine your vision with what is trending. Like it or not.” Quote, Yùhán.

For her next collection, the designer turned to American TV show “Hannibal” for inspiration. Key will be the contrast between scary and elegant as found within the show’s protagonist portrayed by actor Hugh Dancy.

On a collaboratory level, Yùhán is creating a collection of handbags for a rather well-known Chinese brand based on a robot movie, the name of which has escaped the mind for now,  mixing the cute with the cold through the use of small designs in dark leather. Polished off with some very fallus-like bag clasps… The future is now.

 

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Take 5! From Xi’an to Antwerp

From Yùhán’s Alma Mater to MA Mothership, we go:

The Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts (西安美术学院) was founded in 1949. She is the only art academy in northwest, whose forerunner is the Art College in Northwest Army & Government University. It has 12 departments and 55 majors which including Chinese Painting department, Oil Painting department, Printmaking department, Sculpture department, Design department, Environmental Art of Architecture department, Decoration department, Fashion Design department, Art Education department, Art History & Criticism Department, Video & Animation Department and Basic Education department. Additionally, the school has branches in Shenzhen, Qingdao, and Shanghai. The academy also has a professional art magazine.

The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp is an art academy located in Antwerp, Belgium. It is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. It was founded in 1663 by David Teniers the Younger, painter to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm and Don Juan of Austria.

The Academy nowadays offers three distinctive programs: Visual Arts and Design, Conservation Studies and a one-year dedicated teachers training. A body of 540 students (of whom 230 are international) work in the four main buildings located in the heart of the city.

Yùhán was the first-ever student to directly enter the Antwerp MA Fashion program — having attended the BA courses elsewhere. As she made sure to put o=up a wall of her designs behind her during the Skype interview with the Academy’s MA admissions committee, she left such an impression that they had no option but to let her in.

Now that’s what we call combative creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images come courtesy of Yùhán
Copyright@Temper Magazine, 2018. All rights reserved

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Elsbeth van Paridon

China Fashion/ Urban Lifestyle Expert, Editor-in-Chief at Temper Magazine
Elsbeth van Paridon holds a degree in Sinology from the University of Leiden (Netherlands) and additionally is just another run-of-the-mill fashion aficionada.

After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.

Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.

Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.

Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.
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