Designer Dido Liu Updates Traditional Chinese Fashion With 3D Illusions

<p>A look at the upcoming Central Saint Martin graduate&#8217;s debut collection.</p>

Incorporating Chinese aesthetics into modern designs can be tricky. Iconic wares like the wide-sleeved, heavily-embroidered, floor length qipao may look exotic to Westerners, but to Chinese audiences, they ooze cliche and datedness unless reworked significantly.

Examples of traditional Chinese fashion.

Young Chinese designer Dido Liu, who graduates from London’s Central Saint Martin College of Art and Design later this year, conquers the challenge of making traditional-yet-modern Chinese garments through the subtle use of printing technology. In her final collection for Autumn/Winter 2012, she combines the styles and silhouettes of 200-year-old Chinese womenswear with fabric that gives off a 3D illusion, replacing the timeworn look of traditional fashion with a more modern twist, while still maintaining the colorfulness of Chinese-inspired iconography.

Parts of her dresses are constructed using the Lenticular printing technique, digitally printing computer-created imagery in strips onto fabric to create depth and the illusion of animation. A completed garment creates a unique experience for the spectator because, as the angle of the viewer changes, the fabric depicts the dynamic movements of swimming goldfish and blossoming flowers. Always fascinated by old images of her homeland, Liu says that it was only natural to incorporate her Chinese heritage into her design—she does not want to avoid “Chinese elements.”

Liu’s lush, digital patterns remind us of the colorful detailing found in London-based designer Mary Katrantzou‘s prints. See for yourself in shots of Liu’s debut collection below.

Images courtesy of Dido Liu.