Chinese luxury consumers have evolving tastes. They began by snatching up bags with big logos by international labels, and the sophisticated ones have matured into seeking out exclusive items by Chinese designers.
Now, China Daily reports on a new trend: the Chinese artist who is asked to go abroad and design for a European label. Artist Zhou Yi is now a partner with Italian luxury brand Iceberg. She traveled abroad and designed the mini-line Breaking the Ice, Iceberg by Zhou Yi, but Zhou cautions would-be buyers to forget about “Chinese elements” influencing her choices.
“They are so cliche and surreal,” Zhou says, referring to the “China red”, “big knots”, and “qipao styles” the world has come to expect from Chinese designers. She explains, “Few people are seen wearing this stuff on the street. It’s OK to put them on souvenirs or T-shirts but not on priced fashion pieces.”
Zhou’s eclectic education made her a great choice to collaborate with a European label. She has lived in Rome since she was 10. As an adult, she earned degrees in both political science and economics, studying at times in London and Paris. As a result, she is a globally minded Renaissance woman: she is a film director and art director for Toudou.com (a sort of Chinese YouTube). Vogue China called her “a modern-day Chinese combination of Hitchcock, Yoko Ono and Cindy Sherman.”
“The project represents a whole new experience for me, and I want to take advantage of it to show the Chinese brain,” she says.
Paolo Gerani, CEO and artistic director of Iceberg, is enthusiastic about the collaboration. He explains, “Zhou is a modern woman with boundless energy and creative imagination. That’s the concept at the core of this project. We came up with the idea of working backwards, in the sense that we would not be the ones to manufacture our products in China. She instead would be the one to become a designer here in Italy, benefiting from our exquisitely Italian staff, materials and machinery.” Zhou’s line hits stores at the end of 2013.
photo credit: iceberg