A little more than a year after moving to Paris, the city has gotten under Chinese designer Di Du’s skin – and into her wardrobe. “It’s like a love letter to midnight in Paris,” she said backstage before her show.
She grew reflective during a taxi ride, stuck in traffic as the rain poured down, channeling a day-to-night vibe with an expansion into tailoring with a night-time twist. Tuxedo collars were applied to slinky halter-neck dresses, while long satin skirts had almost-prim buttons and sinuous trains. Tailored vests were paired with pants that hung low on the hips, some with contrasting boxer-short details stitched on, others with chain embellishments. Manly shirts were open to the waist, highlighting the bust.
She channeled a sharp yet lighthanded esthetic, but there was also an ‘anything goes’ feel to the collection, perhaps inspired by the culture-clash that living in Paris has meant for the designer. “That brings excitement, but with that come more ideas,” said Du. She loves the freedom in the way people express their style in Paris, she explained.
Interspersed with the mix was a series of sporty looks — logo sweatshirts, low-hanging jeans and bomber jackets worn jauntily off the shoulder and quirky knitwear pieces in black with metallic threads. Miniskirts in denim or velvet skimmed the buttocks and hips. Others had transparent handkerchief-like overlayers that jolted down the runway, while pencil skirts were slit up the sides, with shorter tuxedo-pant stripes.
Somber clouds circled and the heavens threatened to open on her venue, the gardens of a private mansion in the 14th arrondissement, but the weather held. An auspicious sign; it seems Paris has adopted Di Du with open arms.