Styling details like sultry garters and delicate lingerie may not make it to the streets—they’re not very public-transport- or office-friendly—but the demure silk bras worn over sheer sweaters and lace dresses were a playful touch. The must-haves here were a couple of otherwise very proper floral satin dresses with tantalizing hand-embroidered lace inserts bisecting them at the waist. “The look this season is a bit conservative, but we still wanted to show the body,” said Lei backstage after the show. “She’s conservative in a sexy way. Not in a sexual way, it’s about power.” See also: the phenomenal ladylike coats with quirky pointy peak collars.
The Shanghai-based label, which is nearing its 10th anniversary after being founded by Liushu Lei (ShuShu) and Yutong Jiang (TongTong) in 2014, has struck a chord with a young crowd by making the prissy sexy and the pretty cool. Shushu/Tong is what pollen is to bees for Gen Z It-girl hopefuls—for proof, just give the brand a search on TikTok, where you’ll find an ever-growing number of 20-somethings wearing its bestsellers. This world is a well-defined one, and who this young woman is is crystal clear.
Just as transparent are her dresses. Though one does wonder why it is that designers across the globe are in agreement that see-through garments are just what women need now, Lei and Jiang put together an unequivocally compelling proposal, particularly when it comes their sheer silk pencil skirts decorated with lace flowers and a set of slightly more opaque sheaths, just transparent enough to reveal their seams.
“Shushu is like Miu Miu in Paris—it closes out Fashion Week with a bang, even if it’s a little late.” So said a new friend about the spring 2024 Shushu/Tong show, which concluded the collections calendar at Labelhood—a fashion incubator dedicated to young Chinese designers and one of the two subcalendars within Shanghai Fashion Week.
Shushu/Tong is at its most convincing when it harnesses its weirdness. When it goes only for the sophisticated, it can feel a little too mature, and when it zeroes in on sexy, it loses the character that has made it a Shanghai Fashion Week fan favorite. Designers presenting at Labelhood offer two showings, one by invitation and another where the general public can sign up for free tickets. Shushu/Tong is the first show to fill up each season. Judging by the impressive crowd of fans lining up to snag a last-minute seat to see the second show—most of them in head-to-toe Shushu/Tong—we’ll be seeing lots of sheer frocks on the streets of the Bund come next spring.