Beijing based designer Xander Zhou does not only prove brilliant skills but also brains at London Fashion Week. Presenting his Fall/Winter Menswear collection “Wild West” he smoothed out the potential criticism about cultural appropriation, “all hats and no cattle” up front by – you’ve guessed it – not putting hats on any of his wild boys’ pretty heads. Well played, cowboy! Mindful handling of cultural heritage isn’t the only reason why it’s such a pleasure not to see any 2000s-Madonna-headwear-yawn-we’ve-had-that-like-a-million-times-already pieces in a collection inspired by lonely men wandering the plains and riding bulls. Zhou managed to pick up classic, yet more subtle, cowboy features, to recontextualize them in a very artsy and 2015 way for the sophisticated urban bronco. Big buckles, lots of leather – and leather fringes naturally –, cozy knitted pullovers, triangular scarfs, boots and ragged denim togas. All this mostly kept in earthy, prairie colors, with some exceptions like cowskin-like, colorful, fluffy patches on some of the straight cut leather coats. The result is a collection hotter than the Marlboro Man.
By Katharina Nöstlinger