Journal 05. Secrets & curiosities of Yuanfen collection #2 : The scenography

Our YUANFEN fashion collection is full of secrets that we want to share with you.

The concept of Yuanfen represents the threads that connect us from heart to heart. This invisible force is present and operating in our lives at anytime. To illustrate this Chinese concept through the clothes of the collection, Adriana has drawn a pattern with the maps of the three homelands of DEYI德逸 founders : Spain for Adriana, France for Pauline and China for Zhang Xing. It creates a pattern with abstract lines. We reproduced it using the Miao batik technique on a silk dress, an emblematic piece of the collection. This pattern represents our crossed destinies in China, the pathways of the possible and the abolition of borders. 

The map pattern symbolizing our yuanfen

For our fashion show during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Madrid, the designer Zhang Xing was commissioned to create an artistic installation for the scenography that symbolizes our yuanfen, destiny. For the design, he wanted to use a material that reflects our values and participates to the preservation of Miao tradition of craftsmanship, and at the same time has a universal scope. He therefore chose the paper, which also has a particular historical value. Indeed, paper manufacturing was born in China during the Han dynasty, around 100 AD. At that time, paper was made from bamboo fibres, mulberry bark or hemp. This invention then spread all over the world. Paper later became the preferred medium for writing.

Pan Yuhua making Miao handmade paper

Our yuanfen/destiny, so generous since the beginning of our investigation in South China, led us to meet Pan Yuhua. He is a Miao craftsman who makes paper according to ancestral methods dating back to the Han dynasty. For Pan Yuhua, papermaking is a family affair. They’ve practiced this thousand-year-old art for generations. After working for a few years in big cities, Pan Yuhua returned to his native village of Shiqiao in Guizhou mountains. Alone in his workshop, the Singing Paper Workshop, Pan Yuhua feels more than ever at home and on his path of life. It is also a way for him to communicate with his ancestors.

Pan Yuhua is a proud and highly respected man in his region because he actively participates in the preservation of the Miao handicraft heritage. As his grandfather taught him, he makes paper according to the seasons, to be in harmony with nature. Since his early childhood, Pan Yuhua has been fascinated by the infinite creativity allowed by the paper fiber. In his workshop, he designs so many different creations. He makes very fine and delicate papers, or very thick papers that can be used to make book covers, lampshades, bags, etc. We are currently working with Pan Yuhua’s workshop to design our packaging and labels. Thus, we will pursue our mission to preserve Miao traditional crafts.

Collaborating with Pan Yuhua to create our installation for the show in Madrid was an obvious choice. Zhang Xing designed a huge folding screen made with very thick paper, inspired by those of ancient China. Zhang Xing then proposed to use cotton threads to draw the pattern of the maps, symbol of our yuanfen. We invite you to watch the following video that retraces the history of the folding screen, from Guizhou to the podium of the Mercedes Benz Fashion-Week.  

Creation process of the folding screen

During the fashion show, the screen was illuminated to create plays of light, evoking the Chinese shadow theatre. The first model appeared from this installation : for the first time we shared our yuanfen with so many people, it was very moving. The catwalk ended with a much appreciated performance by the Chinese artist Hailan on this screen. Echoing the sound of the drums, the artist’s brush strokes flew over the paper, completing the pattern of the maps. A new story was being written that afternoon in Madrid. This folding screen is a testimony of a creative travel that depicts the inspiring life paths of our encounters in China.

We would like to thank Adriana’s family for their help in making the folding screen in Madrid.

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