Interview and Words Alexandra Stevens
Loose, feminine looks stood modeled against a pseudo-suburban backdrop of stark white walls and scattered furniture. At the debut presentation of Pamplemousse, a new womenswear brand by designer Danica Zheng, the audience pushed forward to look closer. Though it isn’t apparent upon first glance, the collection was inspired by bondage scenes that appear throughout the extensive work of Japanese photographer and artist Nobuyoshi Araki. While Araki’s depictions are explicitly sexual, Zheng’s collection evokes a very subdued sensuality.
“The inspiration came from bondage initially, but it’s given a very romantic twist,” said Zheng. “A very soft palate highlights the kind of delicacy and fragility during that kind of bondage.”
The references are subtle, appearing in details like ties at the wrists and waist, or the hanging black ribbon tying a cascading cape. Many of Zheng’s design choices are only revealed to the viewer from the side or back view of a piece, little surprises added to otherwise simple shapes in the form of straps, bows, and lacing. Muted colors play into the suggestion of nudity, with flashes of skin peeking from layers in white, seafoam, and pastel pink.
“It’s very Pamplemousse,” Zheng said of her palette. “I just love how these colors combine together.” She hopes her debut collection, as suggested by the label’s name, evokes a woman who is fresh, but at the same time whimsical, fun, and playful. Focusing on purity of fabrics, all of Zheng’s pieces are constructed of materials like silk or pure linen.
Originally from Singapore, Zheng came to New York five years ago to study fashion design at Parsons. Pamplemousse is based out of her studio in the East Village. Makeup for her debut presentation was provided by MAC Cosmetics, and the loose curls by Prive Hair. The models’ romantic looks were offset by clean white sneakers from UK-based footwear brand Gola.
Presentation Photography Imhotep Hester
Runway Photography Hiu Zhi Wei
Special Thanks Omen Pr