Sounds of rolling thunder, the first few drops of an imminent downpour and noises of wildlife transports the audience to the rainforest. This is London based designer Yang Du's prelude to a fusion of catwalk and a performance art show. In tandem with the theme of Noah's Ark, models strutted two by two showing off a bright collection of knitted cashmere and statement accessories infused with motifs of the animals that boarded the fateful ship all those years ago. From jumpers to dresses to ponchos, what really stole the show was how Yang cleverly incorporated the animal designs, which, playful in themselves, triumphed between literal and modern, ultimately enhancing the silhouettes they embodied.
The exuberance continued beyond the clothes as guests were also treated to the collaboration between Yang and artist Ryan Styles. The choreographed performance, which involved dancers sporting accessories and clothes from the collection, reoccurred in between the pairs of models, eliciting a room full of smiles, laughter and, as Frankie Lymon & The Teenager's doo-wop jam "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" marked the finale, a genuine sense of delight.
Yang's sense of glee and sharp aesthetic fittingly mark a bright outlook for her label, which launched in 2009. After working with couture superstars John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Giles Deacon, the designer's own career has so far caught the attention of style icons Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe, who will no doubt lead their loyal pack of young 20 somethings into a vibrant autumn. Her label is available in Selfridges (Bright Young Things Project), Number Nine and LUXFIX in London as well as R.G.E. in Rhode Island (among many other international stores and boutiques, all listed on her website, www.yangdu-duyang.com).