Unfortunately, Misty the Cat was otherwise engaged for Yuhan Wang’s Spring 2023 show, but the creator certainly delivered on the pet favorites. She dubbed the poetic print pieces that have been making flower fans’ hearts flutter since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2018, and underscored all that romance with a hint of the subversive.
Wang, whose mourning dress-inspired Fall 2020 show would certainly have seemed appropriate this London Fashion Week, had ruminated on theft this season. More specifically, the apsaras: ethereal beings that inhabit the sky in some Asian cultures. “They are mostly depicted as female spirits, but in real life we lose sight of the sparks of airwomen who displayed remarkable skill and bravery,” said Wang, who turned his attention to three revolutionary pilots: Lee Ya-Ching, the first Chinese woman to obtain a civil aviation license in China; American Hazel Ying Lee, who flew for the Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II; and Amelia Earhart, who frequently appears on designers’ mood boards. “I tried to create a collection that celebrates women’s perseverance and courage while highlighting the pressures they face,” Wang said.
It’s the tastes of these references, combined with the flippy cuts and often enticing fabrications, that mean the Yuhan Wang aesthetic never strays to the saccharine side. Sweet, yes. Sweet, no. There’s an understated challenge to all that frilly lace and delicate drapery, especially when worn with the pretty tough helmet-like headwear and parachute bags designed for adventures. Other aviator touches came via waterproof nylons made feminine with hand-drawn flowers and utilitarian straps that slanted towards lingerie.
Blink and you may have missed the gentle dove jewelry, but the sentiment of these peaceful winged creatures was present in the collection’s name: Beyond the Horizon. For now, these nostalgic dresses will take to the wish lists of Wang followers who always have room for another elaborate dress that represents something.