Ming Ma is a regular on the Shanghai runways, but not for spring. “I’ve been really feeling the exhaustion after many seasons of doing shows,” he said at a showroom appointment. The strain had been weighing on him, so this time around he found himself in search of lightness.
Papery white poplin skirts and shirred summer dresses spoke directly to his search for stillness, though particularly impactful were his experiments with volume and silhouette. A pink gown with rounded godets cut in organza was special in its weightlessness; ditto his pretty handkerchief skirts, some with boning at the waist for a play on structure.
“I was spending time at home and resting, and as I was listening to the music of Frank Liszt, I found that it gave me a feeling of profound tranquility,” said Ma. The Hungarian composer’s Years of Pilgrimage struck a chord, and so the designer decided to go on a pilgrimage of his own, visiting France, Italy, and Japan. “Traveling can give freedom to the soul, and it gives you lightness,” he said. The resulting lineup is built around white fabrics and an amalgamation of various textures Ma picked up on his travels.
On the fabrics front, Ma developed a bouquet of curiosities that added some fullness to his collection. Two standouts included a mesh embroidered with light blue classical motifs and a floral devoré that had yellow flowers printed in place.