Yiwu designs shine in Paris Haute Couture
Zhou Yangxia helps a model with the jewelry she designed
Zhou Yangxia and Aleem Yusuf’s designer
On July 1, Zhou Yangxia, a representative inheritor of intangible cultural heritage, took her antique jewelry brand “Zhou Yangxia·canxinge” to Paris. Together with the French high-end brand Aleem Yusuf, they released the next season’s high-end jewelry and clothing. According to Ye Yingli, director of the Office of Yiwu Intangible Cultural Heritage, this is the first time a representative heritage inheritor has participated in the Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris.
Zhou, who was in Paris, agreed to a telephone interview.
“We had been in contact with clothing brands since the beginning of this year, and we had not started to prepare until the negotiations succeeded. The whole process took quite a long time.”
“Every piece of jewelry that was shown in this high-level release has been carefully prepared from design to production, which took several months. They fully display the oriental culture and beauty,” said Zhou.
After the show, several clothing brands took the initiative to talk with her and expressed compliments. Some designers also said that Zhou’s antique jewelry inspired them, and they were thus considering applying some oriental elements to their future designs. Nouvelles d’Europe published an exclusive interview with Zhou along with full coverage of the event.
In the telephone interview, Zhou was talking in a steady and gentle way. It seemed almost unimaginable that before she became a heritage inheritor, she was once a professional athlete. Zhou had shown extraordinary athletic talent since childhood. In 1996, Zhou was selected by the Provincial Sports Team for her outstanding physical explosiveness and coordination. Later, she was listed as one of the “10 Long Jump Talents for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.” In February 2007, Zhou ended her athletic career due to her impaired physical condition.
Zhou has always liked history and loved design and handicraft. She is particularly interested in traditional Chinese folk art. By coincidence, she once met Liu Xingdong, a heritage inheritor of a traditional gold chisel craft (錾刻 zànkè) in Shanxi. Since then, her life track changed completely. To do this craft, one not only needs to understand painting and carving, but also has to make it by oneself. The most important thing is to understand Chinese culture and use this ancient craft to present new designs that conform to modern fashion. In the current wave of “new design,” she relied on her spirits of sportsmanship and her understanding of beauty to become an antique jewelry designer and a representative inheritor.
Since 2014, Zhou has spared no effort to promote her traditional Chinese jewelry design and production skills. In 2018, “Zhou Yangxia·canxinge” appeared twice in Shanghai Fashion Week, which surprised the fashion industry in China. In 2018, the Golden Palace Lock designed by Zhou was also selected to display at the exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art and Craft Biennale in the National Museum in Beijing.
Ye added that Zhou also participated in the exhibition of the “Cultural and Natural Heritage Day” celebrations held by Yiwu Cultural Bureau, where her works attracted many visitors.
As the first representative heritage inheritor to enter the Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris, Zhou said that it is not only an opportunity for her own work but also a way to present traditional Chinese culture to the world. The show also strengthened her confidence in the culture. (By Ying Yue – Shangbao, translated by Lin Yuqin, edited by Mariam Ayad)