Chinese designer Angel Chen is delving into Chinese American heritage at an especially perilous moment in time for Asian Americans, iterating a staunch refutation of racist rhetoric. Specifically, her Fall/Winter 2021 collection draws from the legacy of Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American movie star, celebrating Wong’s strengths while simultaneously painting a bigger picture of support for Asian women.
Dubbed “Daughter of the Dragon” as a nod to Wong combatting and reclaiming the stereotypes (including “Dragon Lady” and “Butterfly”) foisted upon her through casting, Angel Chen’s latest lineup was presented as a co-ed runway show. Direct homage to Wong was paid by way of literal dragon imagery and monochrome prints, the latter referencing her black-and-white film career, while experimental textile processing reflected the actress’ humility and emotion. Hand-crocheted knits mingle with mohair and exclusive ikat patterns atop silhouettes that stray from relaxed to refined to alluring, further translating Wong’s on-screen persona into wearables.
Chen also served up a series of collaborative footwear with eco-conscious shoemaker Rombaut, crafting tall boots of varying heights in thematic shades of black or white, underscoring the designer’s love for a chunky shoe. These tonal shoes contrasted starkly against her latest Canada Goose partnership, which transforms the Snow Mantra parka with rich hues and traditional Chinese embroidery.
Visit Angel Chen’s website to keep up with the emerging designer before her latest collection hits stockists by year’s end.