Paris Fashion Week: Fashion meets art at Jarel Zhang’s SS24 exhibition

PARIS — Jarel Zhang played with an artist’s wonderland in an intimate presentation at the Spring/Summer 2024 season of Paris Fashion Week. In a white room emulating a canvas, a dozen artists were in their element, drawing a series of models gliding into their respective poses. Jarel Zhang’s SS24 show transformed the traditional runway experience into an interactive performance that played into the brand’s philosophies of evolution, life and spirit. 

The JARELZHANG brand, founded in 2015 by Jarel Zhang, holds a philosophy that encourages its audience to take an immaterial piece of work with them into their own lives. Zhang expressed the brand’s philosophy by turning the runway into a canvas. Twelve painters sat in a circle around the runway and live-painted the show as models strutted into the center. Attendees huddled around the artists, creating an environment where everyone interacted only inches away from each other and the pieces. 

Painter Eliz Acarsoy explained that the artists were assigned outfits to paint roughly 10 minutes before the show began, and that they were given no rehearsal time. She said that it heightened the authenticity of the experience, claiming that it left “a bit of space for mistakes,” and that having no time to practice gave the artists the chance to “have fun with it.” By placing each artist’s work on display next to the designer’s work, Zhang spotlighted contributors and artists whose work during Fashion Week is typically overshadowed.

Jarel Zhang’s SS24 collection was a blend of sophisticated-chic and urban styles. The various clothing pieces included chunky black leather boots and loafers, boxy blazers, pleated skirts, oversized hoodies with embellishments, and trench coats in various textures, among other complex pieces. 

The palette of the collection was muted but felt vibrant against the colorless walls — neutral colors contrasted with textures such as leather, twill and nylon. Dramatic silhouettes, wet hair and vibrant blushed cheeks gave the models an alien-like quality, creating an identity of otherworldly design. The 41st piece of the collection, a cream windbreaker ensemble, stood out in particular. The lower left half of the dress was dyed black and featured a skeleton-like print climbing down the model’s leg. The model’s wet hair stuck out beneath the hood, giving the impression that she’d just emerged from a rainstorm. 

Zhang strives to create more than just clothing; he strives to create experiences, and to prompt his consumers to view fashion as it interacts with the rest of the world. The show’s futuristic designs and interactive presentation emphasized fashion’s potential for innovation, embodying the brand’s ethos of evolution.

Contact Makayla Brown at [email protected].

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