Phaédo, the most famous and widely read of Plato’s dialogues, recounting the conversations had on the day that his teacher, Socrates would be put to death.
The book was known to ancient readers as ‘On The Soul’ and the main subject of this dialogue is about the immortality of the soul.
Like the pieces created by Phaédo Studios, clothes that resonate and adorn you in immortal soulful poetry.
Phaédo Studios, named so because ZhuZhu, the Chinese designer behind the brand, was touched by the characters an syllables of the word itself (Phaédo was also a man from Elis in Peloponnesus, Greece who studied and taught Platonism). Through this alone we can sense an air of sensitivity and love for ancient history, as well as the arts.
After studying and graduating from Sichuan Fine Arts institute, Central Saint Martins, London and finally the Royal Academy of Art in Antwerp, some of the world’s most prestigious art and design schools. In 2014, ZhuZhu founded PHAÉDO and PHAÉDO STUDIOS in Hangzhou, China. Along with his team in the atelier, which is built into a cave in the rustic Hangzhou countryside, would hone the ethos and develop the aesthetic that shall encapsulate the brand.
PHAÉDO Studios presented their first collection in March 2017 at the Triennale di Milano in a simple yet beautiful installation. Where all the focus was on the garments, which seemed to effortlessly float in mid-air. It is here where ZhuZhu would meet his ongoing collaborator, Belgian interior designer and art collector/dealer, Axel Vervoordt (known for being the interior designer of Kanye and Kim Kardashian West’s home).
Soon after this first collection presentation, the brand was swiftly bought by some of the world’s leading Avant Garde and multi brand boutiques. Joining the growing band of Chinese designers such as Ziggy Chen who are changing perceptions on Chinese design and the stigma attached to Made in China.
“We tend to use organic materials, but somehow enhancing their most unusual and hidden features. We keep investigating for more possibilities”
Inspired by traditional ancient Chinese garments and techniques. PHAÉDO develop and evolve these inspirations into wonderfully poetic garments. Which exude a lightness and timeless femininity which is apparent in all their collections. Almost exclusively using natural fabrics such as cotton with a heavy use of silk in its various incarnations.
The silhouette is soft and organic, voluminous and deconstructed, languid and elegant, light and textured. The texture not only comes from the various experiments and finishes on the textiles. Such as silk which handles like a buttery soft nappa leather. Or cotton which drapes like a fine silk. Texture is created via the beautifully deep earthy tones such as green, brown and copper, of which are achieved through various dyeing processes. Each technique and process adapted from tradition are utilised using natural dyes from vegetables, soil and even charcoal. All natural and organic, each coming from the immortal soul of the earth.
“The process is natural, hand made in tanks containing fruit, seaweed, earth, coffee. The colour density is given by exposure to the sun for around 2 months. The more the garments are exposed to the sun the greater the intensity of the colour. Therefore they are tinged (dyed), left to dry and then tinged again. Then they are left in the sun until the desired note is reached”.
Like most artisanal and craft processes, it is arduous and requires great patience and time. The final result imbues soul into the garment. Awaiting the wearer to give it life and become part of their story. The hand finished details and the way the garments encompass and move with the body create a poetic balance between the two souls. That of the garment and of the wearer.
The Phaédo Studios deconstructed tailored coats and jackets, with their folded construction akin to an orchid petal, create volume by expanding and amplifying the sleeves, which are a key focus. Puffy, billowy sleeves often tied at the wrist, can also be found across the blouses and shirts. Akin to those worn by poets of the past.
Multi layered dresses in various silk weaves and dyes, are light and romantic in a natural earthy way. Phaédo trousers are often a languid and fluid silhouette, utilising traditional tailoring techniques. Playing with cut and volume that comes to life with the movement of its wearer. The garments become part of you, it’s the epitome of silent luxury.
Although PHAÉDO STUDIOS is a young brand, still developing, evolving and broadening its romantic rustic luxe vocabulary. It feels like an old soul. Actually ... an immortal one.