"I have always been interested in things that I do not fully understand. I enjoy exploring the unknown, the excitement that accompanies it. You do not need clarity to create something."
This is the exact reason why Xander Zhou headed across the pond with his AW15 collection, and dove into the crazy world of the Wild Wild West. The Chinese designer likes to take a concept out of it's box, unwrap it and reconstruct it. He likes to investigate just how much you can twist and turn and recreate what is already there. "I like to break through the surface, peel off layers, find paradoxes below the seemingly serene surface".
Zhou's collection involved intricate layering, textures and a whole bunch of leather. Despite the designer focusing on such a rugged concept, the collection is modern and clean. Woven jackets create a shimmer effect and leather scarves imitate cowboy's bandanas. It's the high fashion version of the Wild West - leather is clean cut and fresh, and box-shaped coats are tailored immaculately. The meticulous attention to detail shines right through in every garment. Coloured furry sheepskin patches are attached to woollen coats to resemble cows, firm leather trousers are cut off at the ankles and embroidered footwear are a cross-breed of cowboy boots and tooling boots.
"It goes without saying that this autumn & winter collection does not lack temperament. You can feel the adrenaline rushing through the veins, and you can imagine a wild horse under each elegant coat, ready to break free."
We were a massive fan of the casting for Xander Zhou this season with; Laurie Harding and Haavard Klepp at Supa Model Management, Flint and Haakon at Elite London and Sang and Gryphon at Select Models, being just a few of the stunning cowboys that marched down the catwalk.
Photography by Amber Grace Dixon.
Words by Justine Hyde-Mobbs.