Shushu/Tong Shanghai Fall 2024 Collection

Shushu/Tong sure knows how to draw a crowd. On Sunday night at 10:30pm, there was a line for the second showing of Liushu Lei (ShuShu) and Yutong Jiang (TongTong)’s fall 2024 collection that wrapped around the block. The label has become one of Shanghai Fashion Week’s top-billing names as its closing show, and it’s easy to see why.

The fashion incubator Labelhood, which hosts Shushu/Tong’s shows, puts on a presentation for industry guests and another for the public. The label consistently draws the largest amount of requests from the public, and its show tickets are the most expensive in the resale black market. “Someone once broke into the office to take the tickets to sell them,” reported a publicist. When it comes to Shushu/Tong, it’s really that serious.

Except that it really isn’t.

“We wanted to make something more formal, more elegant” said ShuShu of his prissy ’50s and ’60s décolletages, found both in Vincent Minnelli’s 1958 Gigi and in Cecil Beaton’s photographs of those same years, many of them for Vogue. (Beaton also won an Oscar for his costume work in the film). The musical was the designers’ inspiration for this season. And while the film stars Leslie Caron in the title role, the sophistication and touch of humor in this collection was more akin to Audrey Hepburn’s own era-defining style. (Hepburn played the role on Broadway in 1941.) The way in which ShuShu and TongTong elegantly extended black turtlenecks with matching knitted balaclavas or fabulously styled classic gray buttoned cardigans and shirting under their most fantastically prim ballgowns felt like something Hepburn herself might do—and probably go viral on TikTok—were she a contemporary actor.

A modern reappraisal of Gigi would find it problematic for romanticizing what is essentially a story of underage solicitation; but ShuShu and TongTong were smart to eschew the plot and focus instead on the grandeur of its production and its ironic and humorous perspective on the elegance and well mannered-ness of the time. What made Gigi so compelling first as Collette’s novella and then as a film was its combination of spice and charm, something this collection has to spare.

The growing popularity of Shushu/Tong is in part due to the way in which it so singularly captures a particular pocket of style today; it’s dressy and sophisticated in the way 20-somethings see sartorial maturity, but it’s also playful, demure, sexy, and considered. The designers don’t simply throw on little bows on dresses and sit in their ribbon laurels as the partial propellants of today’s ever-present coquette trend. They expand on their world each season, elevating their fabrications and ingeniously updating their classics. See this collection’s bodysuits decorated with scattered feathers, their molded A-line gowns embroidered with both cutesy ribbon and fancy sequins, or how they’ve inserted bouquets of folded handkerchiefs or clusters of beads within their signature open breast cup fabrications with a just-right touch of frisson.

“We wanted to do something glamorous to clash with something simple, maybe even naive,” said TongTong after the show. Glamorous it was. “But it doesn’t look naive” interjected a mutual friend. “Exactly! She grew up,” answered the designer. ShuShu and TongTong are now in their 30s, she said, and next year marks the brand’s 10th anniversary. “The girl grew up too!,” ShuShu added. What makes Shushu/Tong such a bright star on Shanghai’s fashion firmament is the way in which it takes even the most passé—think a musical like Gigi or a floral A-line gown—and makes it cool and desirable. Romantic, mischievous; a little frivolous, but always charming. That’s Gigi and, still after almost ten years, Shushu/Tong.


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