Inspired by one of the literary masterpieces of the 19th-century, Yuhan Wang’s Spring Summer 2024 collection—titled “Fata Morgana”—pays homage to the courage and empowerment of Thomas Hardy’s protagonist from the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Just as Tess challenged the societal norms of late Victorian England, the brand’s contemporary spin on this tragic story offers a fresh perspective on the female experience today.
Drawing parallels from the pages of Hardy’s seminal work and the haunting visuals from Roman Polanski’s 1979 film adaptation, the collection explores the journey of a modern Tess as she navigates the complexities of her world. Like her literary predecessor, this 21st-century Tess is a figure of resilience and strength, encapsulating the spirit of women who, despite the times, break free from gendered constraints.
The collection elegantly merges undergarments with daywear, featuring heavy-weight cotton in denim-inspired blue hues with lace trimmings. It includes airy dresses with lace edges, hand-crocheted trousers with ribbon details, hand-drawn teddy bear motifs on tank tops and sheer, Victorian-inspired tiered skirts. Hand-embroidered animals, like cats, rabbits, and deer, are an emblem of Tess’s connection with nature. Minidresses adorned with lace ribbons repurpose second-hand straw hats, adding further twists to a rustic mood.
To depict Tess’s escape from her rural dwelling, there are nautical-inspired separates, such as sailor-style tops paired with navy trousers featuring button accents, as well as fishnet pieces that are delicately crafted from ribbons. Elsewhere, a series of prints and intricate details evoke the sensuous symbolism of the strawberry from the film’s iconic seductive scene. Utilising draped recycled cotton lace, silk cotton, and meticulously hand-beaded strawberry embellishments, the collection seamlessly merges historical and contemporary motifs—a signature design approach that is unique to the brand.
Yuhan Wang’s reinterpretation of Tess of the d’Urbervilles embodies empowered femininity, blending lightness with a message of strength. This season, lace-trimmed ribbons are pressed and stitched onto separates and outerwear. The asymmetry, which is seen across the collection, symbolises a rejection of perfection without losing a softness that’s as haunting as it is endearing.