London Fashion Week: Mercedes-Benz presents Xiao Li.
An unmissable event on the international fashion calendar.
Xiao Li is one of China’s most promising design talents and her involvement in the “Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program” marks an exciting time for Mercedes-Benz and the London Fashion Week catwalk schedule. With an unmissable event on the international fashion calendar, Xiao Li had the honour of closing London Fashion Week this season, an accolade which comes after winning the Mercedes-Benz China Designer Award 2015. Thanks to the luxury automobile manufacturer’s support and initiatives such as the “International Designer Exchange Program”, the London catwalks continue to lead the way for championing breakthrough designers.
Fashion designer Xiao Li (right) at the London Fashion Week 2016.
A dashing career in fashion.
Born in the small Chinese seaside town of Qingdao, Li’s early interest and promise in drawing led her to move to London where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Womenswear at the London College of Fashion. She moved on to a Master of Arts in Womenswear Knitwear at the Royal College of Art, graduating in 2013. Li’s innovative, sculptural knitwear pieces saw her gain early acclaim, winning the Pitti Filati “Feel the Yarn” competition in 2012. Her graduate collection won both the Loro Piana Award for Best Knitwear Collection and the International Talent Support Diesel Award. The latter prize led to her interning for six months at Diesel Headquarters and creating a seven-piece capsule collection in collaboration with the brand, which was sold exclusively at 10 Corso Como. Li produces both menswear and womenswear alongside accessories and footwear collections.
A signature aesthetic with oversized silhouettes.
In a short time, Li has established a signature aesthetic, creating sculptural knitwear pieces from technical and unusual materials, using silicone moulded motifs to add a distinctive and modern edge alongside developing an eye for tailoring a striking oversized silhouette. From outré graduate looks, Li has developed her work for the market and her Autumn/Winter 2016 collection marks a progression into an enhanced commercial offering, retaining her avant-garde appeal. Its motto: “Where has the time gone?”
Sumptuous wools and asymmetric styles.
Garments are deconstructed, giving the illusion that there wasn’t enough time to finish them. Jackets created from an embossed technical fabric feature stepped hems and offer the illusion of speed – as if the wearer is running with her clothes thrown back behind her. Wide-cut midi skirts fall loosely around the body, as well as in an asymmetric style, cut high at the back, shorter at the front with curved, elegantly undulating seams. A-line maxi dresses in sumptuous Italian wools and playful drop hem oversized tunics are layered over Li’s signature textured knitwear created from plastic film. The colour palate picks up from spring and summer’s tempting baby blue and pink which serve as highlighting colours against rich burgundy, navy and grey tones.
Time as our biggest luxury.
There is a play on proportions with the clashing of oversize pieces, but tailored step hems create a sense of shape, whilst clean minimal lines provide ample breathing space. With halter necks and maxi tiered gowns made from technical fabric the designer gives her evening wear a sporty feeling and a fresh and modern look. Silicone bonding is used to create clock face motifs, while the bold slogan “No time” reminds the wearer that our biggest luxury is being able to indulge in the most fundamental, yet elusive of things: time.
“Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program”.
Over the past 21 years, Mercedes-Benz has established itself globally as a key player and partner at selected international fashion events. The brand is currently involved in more than 50 fashion platforms including Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks in Beijing, Madrid, Amsterdam and Berlin, as well as the acclaimed International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, amongst others. As part of its global fashion commitment, Mercedes-Benz continues to support young and talented fashion designers through the “Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program”. The programme offers emerging and established designers a unique opportunity to present their collections outside of their local markets to an international audience. Launched in 2009, the programme is currently active across all of the Mercedes-Benz supported fashion platforms; it is often supported by an award programme initiated by Mercedes-Benz and underpinned by a panel of experts. Mercedes-Benz is committed to nurturing and mentoring design talent, and the “International Designer Exchange Program” reinforces the brand’s commitment to this.