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Ancient Fairytales Revived

Johnny 2018-04-10 09:47

The first sight of the Mukzin’s SS 2018 collection is like opening the legendary literary legacy, Shan Hai Ching. The collection tells its dazzling tales in the language of fashion, and endows the fashion trends with some new elements of art.

Ancient Inspiration

Good design is both pragmatic and artistic, and fashion design is no exception. This season, the Mukzin collection follows the trendy “New Chinese Style” but supplemented it with a literary basis. This succeeded in adding a unique feeling to the surrealistic design. What the collection presents to the world is a “map of mind” that breaks the traditional pattern of time, space, and cognition. If you try to follow the idea of the designer, you would tread on an adventure between two parallel spaces – Shan Hai Ching and the Jurassic period. Through the mist of history, you are expected to search for the origin of Chinese civilization with a child’s eyes, and to rediscover your lost curiosity toward the world.

Literally speaking, the Chinese character “cuo” means abundance and complication in ancient Chinese. It either points out the origin of the inspiration of design, that is to say, the real and unreal ecological structure under the sphere of worldliness embodied in the Shan Hai Ching, or the multi-dimensional and overlapping space and time extended from the basis of designer’s intention.


As of the overall distribution of time of the collection’s inspiration, the designer is heavily influenced by the Shan Hai Ching, in which the period exactly depicts the close relationship between human and animals. At that time everything enters the view of the primitive people with abundant imaginations and establishes broad and close relationships with each other. Human race of this time doesn’t necessarily regard itself as the master of the world. Instead, plants and animals are regarded as objects of worship or fear, but not ones to fight against. The reason is that they carry many functions the human don’t have. From this point a reader would have a general glimpse of what the book is mainly about with a few excerpts. For instance, ancient emperors may have a human head and an animal body, the Emperor Huang is said to have the family name as Bear, or one of the Three Great Emperors, Fu Xi, is a giant creature combined with a human head and the body of a snake.

Past and Future Arouse Curiosity

Fashion as we know it is the child of modernism. How can the ancient world find a way to connect to the fashion stage? A logical link must be established to bring vitality to the fashion collection. As the famous German philosopher and seminal thinker Martin Heidegger (Sep 1889 – May 1976) once remarked, “Myth is the primitive people’s consciousness framework of universe and history, as well as the premonition of science and prediction of future.” Such abstract theory is extraordinarily applicable in varied areas. For example, the dragon of the cold north depicted in Shan Hai Ching has a human face and a snake body. He is as long as a thousand miles and with the lapse of his breath, season changes. This is probably the effect deduced by the ancient people from their observation of the aurora. Another example is the robot built by the carpenter Yan Shi that covets the concubines of King Zhou Mu. Could this be regarded as a premonition of the artificial intelligence the world is discussing nowadays?


This theory seems to have determined the contemporary value of the Shan Hai Chaos collection. The world dominated by modern people is witnessing the vanishing of the spirits of creatures; when animals are only deemed as food or pets, the sparkling sky is no longer the work of gods but replaced by the prosaic. With the ascension of scientific knowledge, the mystery of the world starts to disappear. No space is left for the miraculous beasts and creatures, and the ancestors’ heart of respect and honour for them is no longer shining in this world.

On the other hand, the imagination and curiosity deeply rooted in the human instinct has not died out entirely. They express themselves in our current life in a modern way. Quite a few respected authors, directors and producers have made their predictions in their works, that every artificial attempt to manipulate species will be mercilessly avenged by nature. The allegorical implication is indeed buried under the surface of Mukzin’s Shan Hai Chaos collection. It stretches through the medium of fashion, tries to restore the order of history and eventually make impacts on our daily life and release more possibilities to the field of thinking.

Chaotic World Inhibits Modern Design

This collection is a world that jumps out from social norms and rules, a world of chaos. From the monotonous, boring world, it stands out and opens a gate to all the wonderful imaginations of space and time. Thus a breath-taking adventure begins. Even the invitation letter of the show is featured with the mysterious animal bones of the virtual world of “Shan Hai Chaos”, just like the dinosaur skeletons, or the unknown beasts in the Shan Hai Ching. These bones gradually transfer into fossils and record the existence and death of each specimen in the long history of the earth. Before humanity was born, the dinosaurs had dictated the earth for more than 200 million years. From the first piece of dinosaur fossil was discovered to now, our research and conjecture of this huge creature have never stopped.

In this collection, Mukzin united with Universal Studio and smashed the differences in time, space and culture, and resulted in grandiose assumptions and research in the balance and chaotic relationships between human and nature in both Shan Hai Ching and Jurassic World. The effort embodies the ideas between past and present, east and west onto the clothes, which not only endeavours to remake a highly spirited world of infinite imagination, but also tries hard to search for the lost fear and respect toward. The designer opened a tunnel of space and time that puts no limit on imaginative power – a perfect cradle of imagination is established.

The collection also breaks the traditional combination of materials and the patterns of typical wear. Instead, the futuristic sci-tech materials are applied to match with traditional craftsmanship. The candle dragons, royal rivers and fish, or the colourful gems and rich pearls are featured on the clothes. All these are indicating the liveness brought by the imaginative power to the virtual space. In some pieces the Shan Hai Chaos lines are mixed with lasered materials, and resulted in the shading effect under specific angles of light. This interesting scientific design reflects the ideology of the pious mind of the ancient people, as well as the promise realized through the return of imaginative power.


Light, rain, creature, temperature, colour, and music… every element is the perfect material to build up the wonderful world, as well as the source to transform to the wonderous pieces of design in the fashion collection. To be noted, the collection exhibited on the catwalk applies the cutting-edge 3D printing technology to present the bone-shaped accessories, and that is the key holding in the designer to open the door of exploring the world.


Apart from the collection itself, the catwalk show is also echoed by the models’ makeup and accessories. With the combination of colourful eye makeup, the bold paint on the cheeks and dramatic decorations all contribute to the distinctive representation of the archaic time from the designer along with the fashion collection.

It’s not easy to cross the surreal, far-away world of “Shan Hai Chaos” alone. The designer also invited a group of teammates for the “Shan Hai Chaos Adventure Team” to join the fantastic tour and begin a sensual experience of time and space travel. Zhizhi Liu, the renowned graphic designer, along with his studio designed for the visual effects of the show and customized a series of derivatives. The music of the show is arranged by artist and musician Chenchen Chen. Traditional Chinese music and sci-fi featured electronic music mixed together to mimic the sounds in the imagined world or Shan Hai Chaos. Avant-garde dance artist Jintin Duan presented with the ritual dance of the nature themed as Shan Hai Chaos as well. She disrupted the chaos and drew the curtain of the chaotic world.

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