Transformation and rebirth, hope and courage, beauty in an absolute sense, but also the infinite variety of changes that time imposes on the body and soul.
The butterfly ― a powerful symbol of metamorphosis in all cultures of the world ― is the very image of femininity. Hui Zhou Zhao, the lady of Chinese fashion who loves Italy and shows her collections in Milan, sees butterflies as another link between East and West.
For spring/summer 2023, she transforms them into winged messengers of her study of a new vision of East meet West. This time the starting point is the legend of the Mother Butterfly that the Miao people ― one of the oldest among the 56 ethnic groups known in China and the fifth in demographic order ― have been telling since the dawn of time. Transformed into an ancient maple tree, the Mother Butterfly (Moi Pong Mui Liu in the Miao language) falls in love with a bubble on the water of a pond. She becomes pregnant and lays 12 eggs that, after 12 years of incubation, give birth to 12 brothers including Jiang Yang, human ancestor of the Miao. The veins of maple wood and its totemic image, which is a woman’s head with the body and wings of a butterfly, often appear on ancient artifacts (embroidery, batik, musical instruments) that Hui Zhou Zhao collects and exhibits in the Centenary Fashion Museum of which she is the founder and curator.
HUI Spring Summer 2023 Backstage
Enlarged and printed on jersey and georgette, reproduced on jacquard sweaters, woven in luxurious fabrics (silk and brocade), and embroidered with micro sequins, the Mother Butterfly becomes the leitmotif of a soaring collection. It is not the only reference image: there are infinite variations that Chinese culture has produced on this theme, even the waves left by butterflies as they flutter in the air. Everything else is very simple, starting with the silhouettes. There are lots of shorts and wide-legged pants of the classic Hui pajama suit, long skirts (full and sarong style) or cropped slim jackets with padded pagoda shoulders, but also trench coats, pea coats, and a maxi blazer with 3D applications that look like brooches. For the color palette, there is a whole story of combinations that include yellow and blue, red-lilac-cream, black and blue with giant butterfly wings and lots of gold, both alone and with embroidery in the various shades of the collections.
The butterfly effect that explains the chaos theory in mathematics is guaranteed: a fluttering of wings somewhere in the world can cause a tidal wave at the antipodes.