Di Du @didu_official is a Chinese fashion designer hailing from Shanghai with a degree in fashion design from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp Fashion Department). Di Du founded her eponymous brand in 2018 and presented her “Under The Skin” SS21 runway collection in Shanghai on October 12.
For the SS21 collection, Di Du takes over the iconic and historic Paramount Hall Shanghai for the runway presentation of her latest collection, titled “Under The Skin”. Di Du’s creations are not your archetypical ballroom attire, but for this collection, Di Du wants to disrupt the common misconception of where up and coming designers belong in regards to showing collections.
“Many people think that as a young brand, we should go to clubs or somewhere more youthful for our show, but we’re not. I hope everyone can understand that as an emerging brand, the way to create something new can also be through exploring ourselves. It is also important to recognize that DIDU, as a young designer brand also has a cultural background. This cultural heritage should not be forgotten nor ignored.”
DIDU’s SS21 collection titled “Under The Skin” came into fruition with inspiration primarily from the 2013 film by the same name, directed by Jonathan Glazer. Di Du explains that “When extraterrestrial beings imitate humans, they begin with clothing and makeup first. Meaning that to an extraterrestrial being, clothing is our first layer and to them, our skin.” It’s this concept that sparked the creative process for the collection, focusing primarily on the relationship between the garment and the body. It is also important to mention that for this collection, DIDU offers an innovative take on slit fabrics, inspired by the connection between the power and beauty of the human form.
The collection is set in cooling nuances asphalt, iced grey, white and radioactive green, juxtaposed with abstract graphics, reflective piping details and contrast stitching. Tailoring and the construction of a feminine bodice are prevalent throughout the collection, matched with exposed skin and cut-outs unveiling the decolletage, belly button and shoulders. In a collection that is sleek, body-hugging and feminine, sudden jabs of masculinity confront the feminine touch – evoking thoughts surrounding what it means to be feminine and powerful. Art deco references and futurism pushes the collection forward into a visual expression that is both soft and hard.
DIDU’s aesthetic is heavily rooted in subversive and experimental design, paralleled with premier fabrics. Her previous work has explored infinite realms of femininity and futurism. Di Du draws a lot of inspiration from her Chinese roots, western culture, sustainable fabrics and the feminine form. Her creations can be seen on CL, Rosalía, Rico Nasty, Lil Miquela, Anok Yai, Sita Abellan and Brooke Candy to name a few.
The show is also in collaboration with the concept store ENG and from the capsule collection exhibited in the show, five looks will be sold exclusively at the Shanghai-based multi-brand store. By creating a new space where young people have cultural exchanges, ENG demonstrates its interests in how young people live today and the commitment to lead the trend. ENG tries to provide all-rounded fashion-related contents so as to create a go-to place in everyday life and encourage reflection on oneself, cultures and life as a whole. As a new scene of youth cultural exchange, ENG wants to express the concern and guidance of young people’s lifestyle and reflection on the foreseeable future world.