China's Ji Wenbo breaks into Milan

China's Ji Wenbo breaks into Milan
Chinese designer Ji Wenbo (right).

SHANGHAI - Creating menswear is more complicated than making clothes for women, says fashion designer Ji Wenbo, who combines Asian aesthetics with European luxury to produce minimalist garments.

"It seems simple, but, on closer inspection, intricate work has actually been applied," Ji says.

He became the first Chinese designer to be included in the official calendar of the men's section of Milan Fashion Week, presenting his spring/summer 2014 collection on the runways last month.

"Menswear, being made of little details, balances and imperceptible changes in taste, fires my creativity," he adds.

"To make women's clothes, you just have to give reign to fantasy...With menswear, you embrace all the limitations, but (those) are what actually drive creativity to the maximum level."

Ji was born in Changchun, Jilin province, 56 years ago and ranks among China's most lauded designers.

"To showcase my work (in Milan) to an audience like that and to gain exposure to a wider audience is amazing for the future of my label, as well as the Chinese industry itself."

Ji's garments integrate East and West, with flowing trousers and spiffy jackets.

This season, he was partly inspired by the easy simplicity of Zen monks' vestments, mixed with modern tailoring and a strong sense of cut and drape.

Spirituality has always been the driving force of his sense of style.

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