For Spring 2020, Vancouver-based design duo Laurence Li and Chico Wang, who work as Laurence & Chico, presented a bright, lively, glamorous collection. The clothes and accessories — including cartoonishly enormous wide-brimmed hats and Flinstones-style necklaces and earrings —were a Wonka-like take on the lady who lunches. A rebellious Upper East Sider could wear their tweed set and matching giant hat to lunch at La Grenouille and cause quite a fuss.
The fabrics are just so fun. Fluffy clouds burst out of a horseshoe pattern on a silk button-down; denim was woven intricately on coats and hats; the Empire State building popped up on sexy suiting. Chunky chains dangled everywhere — on jewelry and suitcases and a comically oversized hat. Male models blessedly wore short shorts.
The designers favor big, wild wigs and dramatic makeup–the looks are always lewks, in italics. It's no surprise that Lady Gaga is a fan, and even wore the designers to promote her Enigma Las Vegas residency. "Our presentation will always be full of crazy, bold wigs and super-size silhouettes that tell our brand's story," Li told Fashionista last year.
Li and Wang, who met on a gay dating app while studying at Parsons and are now husbands, delight in fantasy. They got their start while still at design school — Li kept sketching himself and Wang, and Wang decided that they should start selling the drawings. "We started selling postcards in Soho across the street from Miu Miu at this little laundry stand from Ikea," Li told Fashionista. "We sold more than $1,000-worth on the first day and then that's how we got encouraged to extend to T-shirts — we were like, 'Oh, people are not opposed to our style'."
Photography: Hatnim Lee