“It’s quite a feminine story,” Yuhan Wang said of her latest collection. “It’s about the beauty of women’s resilience.” That sentiment shone through from the very first look: a motorcycle jacket, except it wasn’t.
Structured into something like a puff-sleeved doublet with the help of curved boning, then covered in wispy yellow and black lace, it served as a nod to Uma Thurman’s bumblebee leather jumpsuit in Kill Bill, with the Tarantino revenge thriller serving as a critical inspiration for the collection as a whole.
So too did it summarize Wang’s interest in combining the delicate and something a little more dangerous this season, embodied in the recurring print of Gogo Yubari chains intertwining with ribbons. For further evidence of the Wang girl’s dangerous side, just look at the sheathed Japanese katana swords that models carried as they strutted down the runway to strains of slinkily retro, Pink Panther-esque lounge music.
Here, Wang’s flamboyantly frou-frou gowns had been ripped apart and either seamed back together or strung across the body with deliberate haphazardness, a subtle ode to the tenacity of the women—both real and fictional—who have inspired her own persistence as a designer. “The Bride’s quest isn’t really about revenge,” she said, referring to Thurman’s Kill Bill character. “It’s about restoring her former self and finding her strength again. I think that can speak to any woman trying to overcome obstacles in her life.”
Wang may have been exploring the new thematic territory, but there were plenty of her reliable staples in the mix, from ruched wedding cake dresses to cropped and cozy faux fur coats. In terms of new riffs on her classics, the prettiest of all were tops and skirts rendering classic cross-stitch florals in eye-catching sequins; a series of looks featured appealing candy-colored chrysanthemums on denim, while the final run of clingy knit dresses decorated with oversize floral corsages had a charmingly crafty quality to them.
Finally, it only feels appropriate to check in on Misty the cat. Wang’s pet caused something of a sensation when she was carried down the runway last year as part of the designer’s fall 2022 show. At the memory of this, Wang erupts into coos of delight. “She’s grumpy with me right now, because I’m not home right,” she said, laughing, while also noting that Misty did in fact make an appearance in the new collection, embroidered on baby pink silk satin skirts. There’s always something quietly feline about Wang’s designs, but this season, her cat had claws.