CECILIA CHANG: “Stateless Vagabonds”



Julia Ferrar reviews Cecilia Chang’s latest collection shown for Ceci at London Fashion Week AW17.

Photo by Jamie Waters
Photo by Jamie Waters

Cecilia Chang’s transformation of the runway into her ‘land of sands oceans wide’ was a Pantone-worthy exploration of Tuareg blue and a testament to her talent. Every aspect of her AW17 collection was intricately imbued with her strand of design inspiration – the nomadic Tuareg people – from the indigoes worn by the community of desert wanderers to the laser-burnt detailing evocative of the Saharan sun. Even the denims and wools chosen were to protect from life’s metaphorical sandstorms.  

A Parsons School of Design graduate, Cecilia Chang founded her eponymous line of clothing and accessories in 2014 in the heart of New York City. Inspired to create a sartorial embodiment of the city – a metropolis she admired for its energy and refusal to fall prey to constraint or restriction – her designs evoke an asymmetrical fluidity, the meandering journey of the nomadic flaneur.

For her Fall/Winter collection, “Stateless Vagabonds”, she took this ideology further, drawing upon the nomadic existence of the Tuareg communities. Often referred to as the ‘blue people’, owing to the indigo pigment of their clothing that would transfer to their skin, Chang created a collection of furs, denims and satins dyed in varying hues.

In her reference to the community of wanderers, she suggested an openness to the unknown rather than ‘stateless vagabonds’ in a state of hopelessness or solitude. Draped fabrics were created as a veil rather than a barrier from ones natural surroundings, and interwoven leaves on billowing gowns acted in quasi-camouflage. Swathes of fabric fell into dramatic volumes of feather-frayed denim dresses and cocoon-like coats while asymmetrical hemlines created a fluidity of form that refused to adhere to the constraints of symmetry or order. Ocean-like oscillations, incarnate in the multifarious blues and frayed edges of breaking waves, were calming rather than foreboding.

In Chang’s attempt to imbue her collection with an inherent lightness and warmth, the dramatic silhouettes became Saharan shelters, while the existential, expansive metaphor she created was not one of solitary statelessness but of a freeing readiness for life’s uncertainties.  

About Julia Ferrar
After studying literature at UCL, Julia spent an all-too-fleeting few months savouring the je ne sais quoi of Paris before returning to London where she now works with MATCHESFASHION.COM and indulges her propensities for Virginia Woolf, Jacquemus and the colour navy.

Photos are kindly supplied by Fashion Scout on behalf of Simon Armstrong, Jamie Waters and Samira Eugster. Make sure you check out Fashion Scout over at fashionscout.co.uk