Chinese designer Hu Sheguang is the master of macabre, his trademark theatrical performances invoking the occult, the undead and BDSM fantasies. His A/W 2017 show however was quite a change, presenting an alternatively uplifting side to the usually grisly designers’ repertoire. For this performance Hu Sheguang explored the results of interdimensional connections, alternate universes and the possibility of physical human expansion far beyond our existing comprehension.
Initiating the show with a range of models dressed in translucent PVC head to toe hinted at the existing censorship laws of China, and the suffocating results. Fog formed inside the headpiece with every breath taken, as the model’s face slowly disappeared into a haze of her own last gasps. Next came the brazen soldiers, golden structured peplum suits indicating the start of the resistance. Tumbling head first down the rabbit hole, we landed straight into a fantastical world reminiscent of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, where furry-face masked creatures with horns of red hands explored this new land, on the lookout for any signs of life.
Halfway into the showcase, a goddess in an elegantly oversized cage skirt floated weightlessly like a heavenly cloud of fabric, reaching out to the audience, searching for a sign of familiarity, for an indication of hope. As the narrative of the show developed, it almost seemed as though the models were divided into groups of the ‘resistors’, ‘protectors’ and the ‘creatures’, who were simultaneously interacting, trying to make some sense of this unknown territory.
New signs of life were presented as flesh-tone dresses with protruding exoskeletons were revealed, marking the evolution of humanity. We were witnessing a metamorphosis in the making, as survival of the fittest deemed it vital for our physical shells to develop to accommodate the harsh conditions of this cruel world. We were in need of a saviour, and ‘God’ answered our calls with an angel in human form; a large pair of hip bones propped on his shoulders supporting curved skeletal spines that panned out to shape a pair of wings.
Seeing parts of the human body showcased in an anomalous fashion could potentially plant a seed that would make a viewer self aware of their own anatomy and encourage them to consider the limitless possibilities of evolution and our capabilities as undefined creatures. Hu Sheguang has once again succeeded in pushing the limits, and questioning the boundaries of this world as we know it. Who knows, our universe may be on the edge of a collapse into multiple realities, and we’re just too imprisoned to the physical laws of our current dimension to see it.
Review by Sara Nicolette & Zo Fielder, photography by Natalie Black.