Honoring its 30th year as China’s great icon of athletics, Li-Ning forges forward for Autumn/Winter 2020, proposing a new meld of sportswear and tailoring and past and future—a hybrid look with multiple reference points that remain in continuous dialogue.
The collection originates in an image of Mr. Li, the brand’s founder and an Olympic gold medalist in his own right, wearing a suit at last season’s runway show.
The vision of a champion athlete in relaxed tailoring inspires Li-Ning’s approach: applying techniques of classical tailoring to iconic, sport-derived styles, seen through an aesthetic lens of future-past. This range of apparel, footwear, and accessories is a product of Li-Ning’s three-decades-long quest to define a wardrobe for tomorrow.
The brand’s 30th anniversary sets into motion a far-reaching series of new collaborations and associations within the worlds of fashion and contemporary art, the latter of which is represented in Li-Ning’s three-year patronage, beginning in January 2020, of Paris’ renowned cultural institution the Centre Pompidou. With a focus on live performance, the program seeks to crystallize the partners’ shared belief in the unifying nature of experience and the power of art in creating exchange.
Li-Ning’s Autumn/Winter 2020 show inaugurates the partnership on January 18th, 2020, utilizing the venue’s sprawling galleries to reveal this special anniversary collection. For the show, Li-Ning creates the effect of a shifting 3-D urban landscape—the Pompidou illuminated in a matrix-like grid constructed of scaffolding, neon, pixelated LED screens, and monitors displaying 8-bit content reminiscent of ’80s video games along side various vintage video footage.
The games and videos play, glitch, and “break down” then loop again, highlighting the season’s innate clash between lo-fi and hi-fi. Guests including Jackie Chan, Mr. Li Ning, Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Stefano Pilati, MJ Harper, and Honey Dijon took in this epic display, in which models walked the Pompidou to a roughly collaged soundtrack that flickered between underground dance music, new wave hits, and ambient sounds of city bustling streets.
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Quickly expanding its world of associates, Li-Ning arrives at the Autumn/Winter 2020 show having just launched collaborations with the menswear designer Neil Barrett, at Milan Men’s Fashion Week, and Stefano Pilati’s Random Identities, at Pitti Uomo.
The show today opens with a preview of yet another partnership: a design collaboration with the iconic martial artist and actor Jackie Chan. The 10-look collection features futuristic black-and-white looks that combine Kung-Fu–inspired design elements with utility and military surplus. Select styles from the range will be available exclusively in China the day following the show on Sunday, January 19th.