CJ Yao does work that's provocative, attractive, innovative, and complex. Her graduate collection, Wood Be, is appealing because of its use of thick strings, fringes, and of course, beautiful wood.
Yao's aim is to use traditional techniques and materials to make fashion that's very contemporary. In Yao's words: "I tried to refine the traditional techniques of using wood and crafts to fit into the contemporary look. Each piece represents my personal impression of an ideal woman. These women “wood be” the arrogant and limpid poets...."
These women look protected, as is they're wearing body armor. The outfit below reminds me of a burka. Which raises the question of what does Yao consider an 'ideal' woman? One who is well defended? Even the lovely sleveless above is quite layered and loose fitting.
Did you notice the wooden shoes and crocheted shoes below?
CJ Yao's inventive work was recently shown as part of the 2012 BA undergraduate fashion and textile student work at Central Saint Martins in London. If you're intrigued, you can read more about Yao's work on the Central Saint Martins Student Blog or Not Just a Label.