Since founding his eponymous label, Chinese-born designer Dingyun Zhang has revolutionised the fashion industry with his signature voluminous designs. Now, he’s back with Moncler Genius giving us a further collection of what he does best.
After graduating from CSM, Zhang’s career has gone from strength to strength, to the point where you’d be hard pressed to find many emerging designers who had a bigger year than him in 2021. He’s enjoyed a partnership and collection with Moncler, a job at YEEZY, and a cult following in the fashion and creative communities. His designs are instantly recognisable, once you know what to look for: puffers manipulated into unusual silhouettes, often adorned with the signature aesthetic of a YEEZY Foam Runner when shown live.
This pairing is no coincidence, either – Zhang is Kanye’s worst kept secret, with the musician expressing that he wanted to keep the designer a secret in a recent interview. Zhang is also drawn to utility and futurism in his designs. His graduate collection, shown in February 2020, featured futuristic outerwear which included puffer jackets, trousers and camouflage prints. Last year, his collection with Moncler was inspired by the deep sea, and saw the designer experiment further with abstract silhouettes and material manipulation to produce pieces that Vogue described as resembling “alien survival gear”.
For 2022, Zhang is continuing this theme with Moncler, releasing a collection entitled ‘Underwater Futurism’. Featuring padding obtained through thermo-glued irregular quilting, the collection aims to rewire the relationship between garment and wearer, with inflated volumes floating around the body and transforming it in sculptural fashion. Playing with contrasts, Zhang took inspirations not from the mountains, Moncler’s original environment, but from the depths of the underwater world, and the sea creatures that inhabit it.
Also drawing inspiration from ice fishing tents and inflatable pools, Zhang’s preoccupation with sculpture and function is ever-present. Details include an adjustable Chinese style knotted button, hidden zips and thumb-hole ribbed cuffs to add practicality into the designs. As ever, huge volumes are obtained through extremely lightweight fabrics. The line-up includes coats, padded vests and cropped blousons either with or without a hood, made of crinkled nylon. Elsewhere, padded face masks, cycling shorts and leggings come in the collection’s well-considered colour palette – a mix of browns, greens, greys and earth tones – meant to resemble the coral and fungi of the deep sea.
Switching out the foam runners for yeti boots, the accompanying campaign showcases the shapes and structure of Zhang’s designs in all their glory. Check out the full collection on Moncler’s website, available from today.