Designer Vincent Li is a Shanghai-born, Melbourne-based creative who has drawn on some unusual sources of inspiration for his Autum-Winter 2016-17 range. Vincent Li Menswear …
Melbourne based men’s designer Vincent Li has called his Autumn Winter 2016-2017 “The Left Ear”. Why the left ear? Because that’s the ear that’s closest to your heart, the side to whisper “I love you” and evoke those emotions of “first love”. It’s also the name of a Chinese film about the often painful experience of youthful love. Vincent has taken this concept and turned it into his new line.
When you look carefully at each garment, you can see a silhouette that emphasizes the heart side- the left side. Yet they are still symmetrical. And then there are the prints, in themselves works of art. Evocative and even haunting, they seem full of emotion and depth. Ask Vincent and he will tell you that they convey “the experience of that first love that might not quite have finished the way the romance novel tells you.”
We met Vincent a couple of months back at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival and were enthralled at his designs. They are bold, original and definitely provactive. And not for conservative tastes. We love how Shanghai-born Vincent has almost single-handedly revolutionised men’s wear by fusing aspects of traditional eastern-inspired men’s attire with western men’s wear.
Vincent’s love of fashion goes much deeper than wanting to create something new and amazing to wear. He wants to capture the emotions and heart of the wearer. It’s not the aesthetics but the whole: you put the clothes on and then begin the journey into an intellectual artisanship which each of his garments aims to instil.
Vincent’s muse for his 2014-15 range was an icon of Peking Opera from the early part of last century, Mei Langfang. The gifted actor gave perfectly timed and poised female characterizations which made him a star. Three of Langfang’s most iconic performances were The Drunken Beauty, Yu Zhou Feng and Peony Pavillion. It is these works which were mirrored in Vincent’s Autumn Winter 14-15 range, in its silhouettes, prints and details.
Understanding the inspirations behind his current and previous ranges, it is not surprising to see how Vincent has bent all the established rules of western men’s wear. Vincent’s styles definitely incline towards being “ambi-gender”or, gender-neutral. And they appear to be as comfortable and practical to wear as they are eye-catching.