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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

SANKUANZ presented by GQ China: London Collections: Men S/S 2015 Catwalk Review

SANKUANZ, aka Shangguan Zhe, presented an unusual collection on Tuesday 16 June in Victoria House for his debut LCM outing - let's talk about big hands…

Written by Matt Bramford

Sankuanz-SS-2015 by Gareth A Hopkins
SANKUANZ S/S 2015 by Gareth A Hopkins

After two seasons representing Kay Kwok, GQ China switch their attentions to Xiamen-based designer Shangguan Zhe, better known as SANKUANZ. As is often the case, I knew nothing about this up-and-coming label, but a debut London Collections: Men showcase is probably a good place to start.

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SANKUANZ S/S 2015 by Chris Sav

A combination of an exodus to Milan and a debut catwalk show meant that inside Victoria House wasn’t exactly heaving. Staff rushed to seat everybody as near to the front as possible, so I took a spot on the front row despite having a standing ticket.

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All photography by Matt Bramford

The first dozen or so looks were strong, but I felt like I’d seen it before. Long white lab coats had been embellished with embroidered black designs, inspired by Russian prison tattoos, ranging from obscure slogans to graphic phalluses. These coats were a fusion between 18th century frock coats and modern day sportswear. Translucent crew neck tops, crisp shirts and mesh hoodies, all in white, were styled underneath, flashing mouthpieces were used and Raf Simons-esque futuristic footwear completed the looks. Some pretty silly brightly-coloured fur shorts were the only break from white.

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During a short pause afterwards I thought, ‘yes, I quite like it, some wearable pieces, a bit small as a collection perhaps’ and some other nonsense. Then, almost from nowhere, a model appeared wearing what I can only describe as a giant pair of brightly coloured papier-mâché claw hands. ‘Oh, here we go’ I thought to myself as I frantically tried to take pictures and pick my jaw up from the floor.

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Without visual aids I couldn’t tell you a single item of clothing that the models were wearing during this ‘latter stage’ of the show, but I could remember enormous polka-dot lobster claws, Popeye-like forearms and gigantic acid-painted hands making an ‘OK’ sign. It was like a ludicrous tribute to Emoji and I enjoyed every bloody minute.

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Looking back on the collection, these gimmicks were paired with some pretty decent garments. Black sweatshirts made more of the Russian criminal emblems and the frock coat in black was less lab-coat and more wearable, but that isn’t what I’ll remember this collection for.

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