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Power to the Dress: Dan Liu’s Embrace of Strength in Femininity

The fashion legend Coco Chanel once said, “Keep your heels, head, and standards high.” This quote reverberates all throughout Japanese-Chinese Canadian designer Dan Liu’s Fall/Winter 2018 NYFW collection.

Heavily inspired by 50s glamour and silhouettes, Liu capitalizes on the energy of the era and the power that women channeled when embracing their femininity. He uses iconic wardrobe staples, such as the red lip, oversized sunglasses, and black, six-inch patent leather pumps or black knee-high boots, to their highest potential, drawing on their strong, timeless significance.

Altogether, the collection feels like the wardrobe of a young, high-class socialite, who is less interested in socializing and more interested in networking.

Liu’s keen eye for detail and intuitive understanding of the female figure prove effective when paying homage to this era, while still assuring his fingerprint is undeniable. In order to elevate the classic fit and flare dress, the most prominent silhouette throughout the collection, he transitions from its 50s midi-length to the more on trend mid-thigh length.

He also expertly uses seam placement to accentuate the body in the outerwear to create curves where the figure can often be swallowed up in the straight form and bulky nature of the fabric. He even accents some of the seams by drawing satin ribbons on the sleeve throughout the entire seam, which is impeccably innovative and excellently executed.  

Although he excels in taking what is best for a classic piece and perfecting its assets, he does not shy away from showcasing his illustrious talent and tossing his dice in the realm of creative risk-taking.

From an allover abstract floral print coat to mixing leather, fur, and tweed all in different colors all in one coat, Liu displays a confidence of self that resonates with the collection’s inspiration of confident women.

Overall, the Dan Liu collection is a breath of fresh air and a reevaluation of the common implication that dresses do not empower women in the same way a fitted pant suit does. It is a reminder of the compelling power of a tailored dress, some killer heels, and a bold red lip (Image 6).

Written by Ka’Dia Dhatnubia
Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Dan Liu