She usually wears black: basic t-shirt, comfortable trousers and white Adidas. Yet this petite woman, raised between Asia and New Zealand, goes straight to the point. From 2015 Claudia Li shows her collections in New York, a real pity for the Milan Fashion Week, and in spite of the defenseless air, she is a real lion. So determined that even Forbes noticed her and put her in an elitist list of thirty young promises, strictly under 30, of art and style.
Her past as a “citizen of the world” is clearly visible in her fashion, which blends structured forms of oriental taste with soft and feminine volumes, closer to a western taste. Besides she herself admits that her past and art have greatly influenced her style. Her approach to prêt-à-porter is playful, with an interesting color palette that is renewed with unprecedented shades of season in season, but at the same time rigorous. It is not surprising to see soft draperies that embrace structured fabrics and unusual combinations of materials, in a kind of Yin-Yang style.
Playing with materials
Passionate about painting admits to prefer that the materials express themselves, rather than forcing them into cuts and dimensions stranger to them. The references to nature, dashed here and there, are never decorative elements used in the traditional sense, but rather evoke a concept of freedom. The prints become a graphic sign wisely calibrated, with the aim of arousing emotions rather than postponing to something concrete.
A graduate of Parsons, a diligent pupil of JW Anderson, she has showed to know how to work denim like silk, creating draperies that bend over themselves in an intricate maze of Origami. She reinvented the under-jacket thanks to the “sculpture-sleeves”, with a profusion of cuts reminiscent of petals of lilies. She reinterpreted the Obi, the traditional Japanese belt, in fury of bows and knots. She modeled the skin as if it was woven, drawing unpublished geometries; and added such subtle fringes as to look like the feathers of an exotic bird.
The collars seem corollas, the shoulders resemble the armor of the Samurai, the proportions are experimental, but the fit is designed for everyday life. With Claudia Li the conceptual fashion of Yohji Yamamoto becomes concrete. It is difficult to say that Anderson’s influence and the experience at Haus of Gaga with Maxwell have determined this awareness, certainly a teaching has been applied rigorously by Claudia: to be kind and grateful to others. All the time.