Laurence Xu: Taking Chinese culture to the world via haute couture

By Guo Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 21, 2017
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Laurence Xu's creations displayed in his studio [Photo by Yu Jie /]

Chinese style

Renowned for his work in Chinese costume dramas and on the red carpet, the 43-year-old couturier constantly amazes the fashion world as he has dressed many Chinese celebrities for their appearances at overseas film festivals, most notably Fan Bingbing, who caught the world's attention at Cannes in a highly-embellished "dragon robe" in 2010.

The dress was eventually put on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London on March 12, 2012.

The gowns designed by Laurence Xu, mostly highlighting Chinese traditional techniques and symbolism, have helped many Chinese celebrities gain world attention and also highlight Chinese culture in the outside world.

"Many of the traditional Chinese ways of craftsmanship and techniques, like Yunjin brocade, are at risk due to lack of local protection," Xu said as he recollected how he found Yunjin, a Chinese traditional silk handicraft once reserved for the imperial family, drifting out of the public eye like a "declining aristocrat."

And that is how Xu decided to bring the old craftsmanship back into focus by employing Yunjin brocade in his designs for many international fashion shows.

During his second appearance at the haute couture fashion week in Paris, Xu amazed fashion circles with his Dunhuang-themed designs based on painstaking exploration at that religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road.

He has often drawn inspiration from the totems, beauties and ancient people's clothing in the numerous frescoes found in the Dunhuang Mogao Caves grotto art.

"Haute couture can revitalize the glamour of ancient techniques and craftsmanship in an amazing way," Xu insisted.

Fashion critic Ao Ran comments: "Though many designers try to use traditional Chinese elements, they fail to capture the essentials. However, Laurence Xu has managed to do it with his great understanding, experience and knowledge. More importantly, he interprets it in a modern way."

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