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July 30 2014

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Army of Li

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Yang Li described his Fall collection as a Neo-Uniform. That’s a nod to its strong military flavor but also the fact that Li’s clothes have an essential minimal look that could form the everyday building blocks of a chic urban wardrobe. Well, that is for a woman whose tastes run to the stark, dark, and Philo-esque. What you might find on her list: Li’s cuffed and baggy wool pants, a crew-neck tunic with sleeves that reach just past the elbow (pictured, left), and, certainly, any one of his cool patch-pocketed coats.

The London-based designer debuted last season in Paris with a strict emphasis on double-faced fabrics but lightened things up slightly on his second turn. That resulted in pieces like a great wool trench jacket with a panel of heavy silk attached to its hem, almost like a built-in skirt. “The starting point was a classic trench coat,” said Li. “But it’s as if you sliced off half and left the lining.” Not that Li’s meticulous manner of construction allows for anything that DIY-sounding. There was yet more softness in the heather-gray jersey linings bonded into wool shirts and pants, something you can’t see in pictures but that distinctly upgrades the experience of actually wearing his pieces.

Li’s tight focus as a young designer is a welcome thing. That said, it will be interesting to see where he goes as he widens his scope. In other words: Watch this space.

Photo: Scott Trindle

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