Beauty on Fire – Rui Xu’s Exhibition In Memory of Dame Zaha Hadid
June 15, 2016
Artist and fashion designer Rui Xu set up a pop-up exhibition of her fashion designs in memory of the late Dame Zaha Hadid last week. She launched her couture brand Xiangwangyi and ready to wear brand Ruixu, set against the backdrop of Hadid’s furniture collection at Zaha Hadid Design Gallery.
Rui Xu and Zaha Hadid met at an interior private view event in November last year and straight away bonded over fashion and design. “A few days after the event Zaha called me to arrange to see my collection. She ended up borrowing four sample pieces for numerous events she was due to attend,” explained Xu of the start of her friendship with the world-renowned architect. They became friends and Hadid a loyal client to Xu’s couture designs. “Triumph Cloak was an exclusive design I made for Zaha. She preferred exaggerated yet less constructive, free shapes and always in black,” said Xu.
In February this year Hadid suggested that Xu should have an exhibition at her gallery space in Clerkenwell. Sadly Hadid never got to see it, so Xu dedicated the exhibition in her memory, calling it Beauty On Fire – For Zaha. “Zaha’s life was as gorgeous as a flame. She liked my synergy and approach to design, which resonated with hers. We had a similar way of mixing works and blurring boundaries between design, art and culture,” explained Xu at the opening of her exhibition.
Xu has spent the past eight years collaborating with Dr Kinor Jiang, a textile specialist a the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, developing a technique of applying metal plating onto delicate fabrics. “We use pure metals like real silver and recently also alloy. Oxidation process changes the colour slightly so silver can appear almost in a golden hue creating an iridescent visual effect of a burning flame.” There is also an element of quirkiness in Xu’s designers – the Smiler dress in the Xiangwangyi collection has cartoonish hand pocket flapping on top of a denim blue raw silk dress.
She now divides her time between her Associate Professor post at China Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing and her design studio in London’s South Kensington. “London is an amazing city – full of convention and so accepting of innovation,” said Xu about her second home city.
“The transformable shapes and artful silhouettes of Rui Xu’s design give a feeling of freedom and being myself” – Zaha Hadid
Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Fashion Editor Karolina Kivimaki