A foreign friend,Mr.Cook,once described in an unflattering way his impression of the Chinese people:"Square faces,gloomy expressions,drooping eyelids,flat features,stem manner,a little fat,study,strongly built with lasting endurance..."
"It was precisely these people who,inspired by Chinese culture,constructed the grand Forbidden City,"says fashion designer Hu Xiaodan,whose latest achievement.The Forbidden City,will be formally presented January 23 on the catwalk of Beijing Poly Plaze.
"No matter how deeply it is tinged with feudal belief in the supremacy of imperial power,no matter how it is characterized by the injustice of power which put the wealth of the whole nation into one person's hands,The Forbidden City is still the crystallization of China's genius and wisdom,"remarked the 36-year-old designer.
The artist boldly blends echoes of The Forbidden City,the pinnacle of Chinese architecture,in his costumes,choreography and music.Not only does it unfurl before the eyes,a grand picture scroll of the mystery and magnificence of The Forbidden City,but also it brings back some of the ancient palace's unhappy history.Splendor and magic blend with the humiliation,corruption and suffering inherent in feudalism in a truly thought-provoking combination.
The buildings within the Forbidden City are arranged on either side of an axis symmetrically.In creating his fashion,the designer has drawn inspiration from the architectural details of almost all the important structures located along the axis,from studs on the vermilion Meridian Gate to the mythical beasts on the roof of the Gate Of Supreme Harmony,from the dragon throne to the couplet hung on the pillars of the Hall Of Heavenly Purity,from white marble columns and enamel clocks to the 100-year-old trees in the Imperial Garden.All these are reflected in his work.
By matching and grouping different dress styles,and using original lighting and commentary,the artist gives spectators a fantastic world where the limitations of time and space disappear.One critic noted:"Each spectator,whether familiar with Chinese culture or not,will discover a new harmony.Anostalgic,contemplative feeling that wells up in everyone's heart as they envision the heyday of the Qing dynasty and understand more fully the essentials of Oriental thought."
The designer believes that the ancient palace which has been inhabited by 24 emperous from the Ming and Qing Dynasty,is based on the principles of qian and kun."Qian stands for heaven and emperor,and kun stands for earth and empress,"Hu explains,"But both of them are actually spiritual symbols.They are elemental,robust,vast and profound,fully representing the Confuctian ideals of cultivating moral character,runing a state,unifying the whole world.They are the ideal integration of heaven,earth,and man."
He continues:"Nowadays,many people claim that they have seen ghosts in the Forbidden City.It is said that in the dead of night one can hear enchanting music and see graceful dances.Of course,it is nonsense to say that the place is haunted by the ghosts of the 24 dead emperors.But when you stand on the wide steps of the Hall Of Supreme Harmony,you feel that the Forbidden City is not merely a place of faded glory,but a place that still contains a truly passionate soul."
A graduate of the Stage Design Depantment of the China Central Drama Institute,Hu has worked as a stage designer for China's Opera Theater,creating stage settings and costumes.He has been in fashion design since 1987.His first important show:The Brilliance Of China was held in 1991,featuring gowns and qipoo with Beijing Opera mask designs.