Shifan Zhang「张式范」(Chinese, born 1956)
Facekini mask, spring/summer 2016
Polychrome synthetic jersey
Courtesy of Shifan Zhang
Diving Ensemble Gifted by Zhonghuaxun Swimming and Diving Gear
Working in a swimming gear shop in Qingdao, China, Shifan Zhang would often hear elder female customers complain that there were no effective ways to block the sun rays or to protect them from jellyfish stings at the beach. A beach -lover herself, Zhang created the facekini for her and her friends. By 2004, Facekini masks already grew in popularity throughout China. Zhang created a variety of designs in vibrant colors and patterns, including the Beijing Opera mask displayed here. She constructed the masks with holes cut according to facial features and extended its length to cover the shoulders. With a solid niche market and enthusiastic wears, facekini is still often criticized domestically and internationally for its unconventional "scary" look. In Zhang's words, these design details help the wearers maintain their "humane” identity while supports their unique participation, mostly by elder Chinese women engaging in outdoor water activities.
“Meta Body” Ensemble
Angel Pan (Canadian, born 2000)
Shirt and skirt, autumn/winter 2021–22
Shirt of red cotton lace and recycled metal wire, embroidered with metal beads, and trimmed with red tassel; Skirt of red cotton lace, metal wire and red crochet appliqué
Courtesy Angel Pan Studio
Xitong Ivy Liu (Chinese, born 2001)
Headpiece, autumn/winter 2021–22
“Flesh Mask” headpiece of red recycled rayon yarn, recycled cotton lace, and recycled wire fiber, embroidered with glass beads .
Courtesy Xitong Ivy Liu
“Meta Body” is the creation of a meta-creature, one which has the skin and flesh of a human body but the core of a machine.
In this project, designers Angel Pan and Xitong Ivy Liu collaborate to create a creature from a fantasized dystopian world, where inhabitants wear the skin and flesh of a human as camouflage. The ensemble conceals the wearer’s identity and distances them from the others. Variations in material and techniques are used to highlight connections between soft structures and metals, thereby simulating the flesh and bone of the human body. The ensemble prompts an interrogation of our dressing practice and its meanings as human.