by Lavish Staff

“A group of retired musicians embarks together on a wintry journey towards a serene landscape of snow-capped mountains, for one last performance that will echo through time.”

Life is like a play, and 8ON8’s stage is surreal, theatrical and colourful while never straying from the pull of reality. Through visual language and clothing, designer Gong Li creates a story, sets a scene and develops its characters’ personalities.

Evocatively titled ‘The Gourd Winter Concert’, 8ON8’s Autumn / Winter 2024 collection starts with the tale of a group of retired musicians embarking on a procession through wind and blizzard to reach a snow-covered mountain peak for a performance that will echo through time. The annual return to this familiar place voices past melodies, present aspirations and future stories that will be narrated as next year’s heavy snow falls, and the same Gourd Winter Concert unfolds again.

The show’s narrative thread is driven by music, as characters progress in a city-to-nature-inspired atmosphere carrying oversized gourd-shaped instruments. The collection blends retro outlines with a futuristic sense of detachment, creating a dramatic silhouette. Signature blazers and coats made of wool are disrupted by a sudden burst of creativity, as hems are flipped like sleeve cuffs to reveal unexpected styling possibilities. On nylon down jackets, hems are also repurposed as wide, functional pockets. Outdoors elements are incorporated throughout the collection, contrasting with magic tape-inspired details and embroidered perforations arranged in floral patterns.

This season’s vibrant theme and scenery are also reflected in gradient velvet flocking and particle flocking techniques, both entirely handcrafted to create a scattered snowflake effect that breaks the rigidity of conventional flocking techniques. Mountain-style camouflage patterns take on a colourful, lively palette, both printed on trousers and worked into a reverse inlay flower technique on a sweater. The old musicians inspire cracked plaster prints and knitwear pieces that blend suede and coarse yarn, as they sit by the campfire playing instruments and reminiscing about the years gone by.

The collection’s energy stems from the spirited memories of stories past and the beauty of a future yet to be imagined. As both timelines intertwine and the long-carried trumpet blows, the musicians will once again reunite in the snow, and the adventure will continue to unravel.

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