Yang Li launched his label less than two years ago, yet he’s already taken firm possession of the “grunge romantic” niche. There’s very little drift in his aesthetic, and you sort of feel like Nirvana’s dirgelike “Heart-Shaped Box” should be playing at all his shows. That was true again this season, but Li did seem to be lightening up—a development evidenced in the fabrications here, but also in the collection’s atmosphere. For Spring, the key material was chiffon, deployed single-ply in floor-sweeping pleated skirts and in sheer, unfinished tees worn over T-shirts reading, among other things, “BORE” (and “DOM” on the back). Li’s most inventive use of the chiffon, however, was in the way he applied handkerchief- and scarf-size pieces to jackets and dresses, a flourish that gave the clothes a sense of momentum, or some unexpected graphic punch. He went a touch overboard with the effect, but for the most part it worked.
Chiffon was Li’s poetry this season; matter-of-fact materials such as denim and leather were his prose. The collection had a greater-than-usual emphasis on short and sharp silhouettes, often in those materials, like a short-sleeve leather coat in teal or a little denim minidress with a draping of chiffon, which cut nicely into all the wafting cloudiness. Li also did an ace cut of pants—flared stovepipes that worked like a charm in looks for both women and men. The sheer tees were also shown for both genders and had a unisex appeal. As a whole, this collection found Li continuing to feel around the edges of his comfort zone, and finding ways to make his signature aesthetic broadly relatable without overly diluting it.