The fall 2021 season has been going on for about three months, and like any person who has given up the peppy rhythm of life for lockdown languishing, I have been crankily wondering: What is the point of all this? Then I talked to Caroline Hù. On a late-for-me, early-for-her video chat between Brooklyn and China, Hù echoed my sense of malaise. “Everything is about waiting,” she said. “Love, work, health… my mood is waiting.” But rather than sulk, Hù is keeping the flame of inspiration burning. “I just want to express something about myself,” she said. “There are no dreams in this collection. It’s all about me.” All about Caroline, in a way, is all about all of us: waiting, wondering, wanting.
The potential for a garment to act as connective emotional tissue between two souls is rarely discussed. But such clothes are Hù’s expertise and a 30-minute chat with her is enough to remind even the most jaded of us exactly why we must continue.
Since her last collection of kerchiefs and doilies remade into lace dresses Hù has moved on to painting, creating delicate floral works on canvas that inspired the moody, dripping florals in this outing. Her commitment to couture-grade craft has pushed her to make even more elaborate and delicate shirred and pleated pieces—millefeuilles of tulle, chiffon, and silk. She reported that these high-priced, high value dresses have been selling well, but she’s also thinking about those without deep pockets, ingeniously stitching up tie-on tops—almost like breastplates—that don’t compromise on beauty, but do compromise on cost. Her palette is as ethereal as ever, ranunculus stem green against peony pink, but she’s also introduced a wearable shade of brown, as well.
As we came to the end of our call, we had a brief chat about the past year, the future, and where we go next. “I think it’s been a good time for designers,” she said, reflecting on 2020. “To express yourself, you need time. You need to have a life.”