China’s celebrated haute couture fashion designer Grace Chen has launched a joint exhibition with famous Beijing sculptor Cai Zhisong at her art deco fashion mansion in Shanghai’s former French Concession, The House of Grace Chen.
Themed ‘Motherland – Serenity‘, ’Cloud – Profound‘ and ’Rose – Glamour’, the exhibition features 3 series of works from Cai Zhisong – ‘Motherland’, ‘Cloud’ and ‘Rose’, in tandem with three Grace Chen collections inspired by the masterpieces.
“Fashion and art have much in common,” said Mr. Cai at the opening ceremony. “Fashion is a branch as well as an expression of art. Fashion is not simply about a good-looking dress. Today’s fashion may be a classic of tomorrow, while past fashion may be classic today. So in a sense, fashion is a kind of avant garde art, and this joint exhibition showcases our common ground.”
Grace Chen, a pioneering new trendsetter for ‘modern Chinese beauty’ and ‘Chinese fashion with a western touch’, said: “Dress is essentially a space design focusing on comfort, functionality, aesthetics and appearance of the wearer. In this, design and sculpturing are on the same page. We both express an idea or tell a story through our work. Every dress I design is embodied with a spirit, and Mr. Cai’s aesthetic taste aligns closely with our brand philosophy. This joint exhibition is really a perfect match.”
The sculpture series addresses issues facing society of the past, present and future, with ‘Motherland’ about humanity, ‘Rose’ about love and ‘Cloud’ about life.
“These are universal, long-lasting themes,” said the sculptor. “I’m interested in universal issues, expressed with the individuality essential for an artist. Grace Chen’s designs also focus on universality, in their own language, with a unique design style that stands out from the pack.”
Grace Chen is poised to internationally expand her eponymous couture label as the epitome of modern East-meets-West glamour, backed by Chengwei Capital, one of China’s top private equity funds. Chengwei Capital founder Eric Li Shimo said: “The sense of layers, textures and stereoscopic effects of the joint exhibition presents me a better understanding of her creative process.” Her designs subtly infuse traditional Chinese elements such as Suzhou embroidery, Chinese knot-knitting skills and wash painting and dyeing. Besides artistry, she also values the spirituality of her collections, epitomised by the Serenity, Profound and Glamour collections aligning Chinese philosophy and aesthetics with western couture. As she says of her eponymous brand: “I want to fashion true elegance and East-meets-West glamour for a sophisticated clientele in modern China.”
The House of Grace Chen opened this year against the charming, vintage art deco backdrop of 1515 Hua Shan Road, which dates back to 1924 and will be hosting a calendar of fashion and art-related events and salons combining eastern and western glamour.
Photo: Kevin Liu