Why Fashion Should Take Time Out For Lùchen

by M-C Hill on 3 May 2022

Emerging label from New York sees The Met showcase its designs as their catwalk debut arrives.

Emerging label from New York sees The Met showcase its designs as their catwalk debut arrives.

Lùchen A/W 22

Time has smacked us all around lately. That fleeting aspect of hours, minutes and seconds refract a precarious tightrope around life’s daily movements. A once routine oatmilk trip to the grocer’s makes Tuesdays slightly transcendent now. Dancing to Fred Again.. with actual people at Coachella 2022 feels course-changing, like what Daft Punk’s 2006 set must have been. Expressing timely moments like these, through fashion, is where Lùchen creeps into the picture. This upstart New York label aims to outfit the ephemeral times of our lives.

Lùchen A/W 22

Lùchen, is slightly more than a portmanteau of designer Lu Chen’s first and last names. It is her attempt to combine concrete clothes with abstract desires. ‘Time relates to the body’s movement, through growth and age our bodies will fade,’ she said. ‘We see the clothing as individual artworks. It is a container of information holding memories and knowledge. That personal knowledge of the garment gives it humanity.’

Chen’s work fashions time codes of flux and juxtaposition quite literally. Scarves mutate into shirred jersey dresses; pleated tulle skirts are set upside down as shirting structures; voluminous wool coats sever their own sleeves to sprout winged effects along shoulder yokes. While ideas blink towards Greek mythology with slight Alice in Wonderland echoes, the outcome is distinctly austere, ambitious and grand. This perhaps explains why Lùchen attracted the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute for their second instalment of In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.

Lùchen S/S 22

The Costume Institute’s Met Gala showcases its themes yearly for ‘fashion’s biggest night out.’ While the Met Gala attracts fashion industry stalwarts and stars, pop cultural resonance— 2018’s ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ drew 1.6M visitors—helps The Met defy the stillness of time by attracting audiences with exuberant exhibitions. The Costume Institute selected a look, called ‘Adam With Apple,’ from Lùchen’s first collection, staged in a gallery. ‘Adam With Apple’ represents Adam and Eve as one body fused by a Victorian bodice gown in draped, nude tulle. Chen, a Parsons School of Design graduate, sits alongside Christopher John Rogers, LaQuan Smith and CLDM’s Chris Peters who aim to generate curiosity towards New York’s up-and-coming designers featured at ‘In America…’.

Lùchen S/S 22, "ADAM WITH APPLE"
Lùchen S/S 22, "ADAM WITH APPLE"
Lùchen A/W 22

This New York new wave—among them Puppets and Puppets, Elena Velez and Vaquera — bypasses the stereotypical puss of pragmatic American fashion in favour of randomly ambitious ideas. Chen settles beside her cohorts with Lùchen’s first catwalk collection for A/W 22 that draws inspiration from instinctive possibilities within dreams. Chen’s sensory symphony of performance artists, models, a coat-meets-blazer-meets-tistera hybrid and cascading feathers in robin’s egg blue are not overly art school confidential anymore. When you consider Rogers’ gowns that reference flying squirrels and Velez’ love letter to female blue collar workers, the new feels freshly normalised. What a time we live in.

Lùchen A/W 22



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