CHENPENG: Tens of Thousands of Designs Paid Off by 5 Sets of Costumes for BJ Winter Olympics

February 13,2022

The opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics was held on February 4, 2022. Costumes for the performances were designed all by Chinese designers.

Luxe.CO interviewed three of these designers involved and shared the untold story behind the scene. We’re going to unravel their creative process and how the work is carried out in detail. Today, we’re introducing a millennial designer from Jingdezhen of Shandong Province, a place famous for its porcelain. His name is CHENPENG.

After graduating from the London College of Fashion with a master’s in Fashion Design Technology Menswear in 2015, CHENPENG founded his eponymous label CHENPENG in London in the same year which specializes in down jackets. Their designs are sold at around 100 stores and malls across 13 countries/regions.

Luxe.CO: How did you come across the project for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics?

CHENPENG: Last April, I received an invitation from the director’s (Zhang Yimou) team to vie for the project. I was determined to get in. The team assigned five themed design tasks and designers were allowed to pick a preferred theme to put forth their own proposal. I mobilized the whole team to finish all five of them.

Luxe.CO: Did anything interesting happen during the interview?

CHENPENG: On May 20, last year, we brought two racks full of down jackets and sportswear and two mannequins for the interview. It didn’t stop there, for we also prepared sketches, Ai posters, 3D renderings showcasing our clothes against the backdrop of the Beijing National Stadium to exert a compelling impact. The judges were stunned, saying that “This group of designers can do both the designing and 3D modeling.”

Luxe.CO: What was the vibe there?

CHENPENG: The competition was fierce. There were about 50 groups of designers, of which the majority already have made their name in the industry. At the very same night, we received a text message confirming that we were the first chosen group by director Zhang Yimou.

Luxe.CO: What were the requirements from Director Zhang Yimou?

CHENPENG: The clothes we make should reflect the quintessence of Chinese culture. They should be so representative that both the Chinese public and global audience could identify the quintessence we present at the first sight.

Luxe.CO: What’s the most difficult part of the design process?

CHENPENG: We were pushing the envelope in every sense, including schedule, creativity, technology and energy. To make the performances perfect, the director would change the original ideas and conceive of new ones. As designers, our task was to put forth new proposals accordingly in a timely fashion, which has put a lot of pressure on our design capability as well as our reactivity. We finished over 10 thousand drawings during that time.

I’d like to thank my team members for their contribution and dedication; our partners Chenfeng Group Co., Ltd., Semir Garment Co., Ltd., Balabala, Baorong Clothing, GXG for their support in product development.

Luxe.CO: Are there any changes of your mindset after designing costumes for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics?

CHENPENG: Every young designer dreams to be part of the Olympics. I took the invitation to pursue the dream. During the process, I sensed the responsibility that I wanted to make a contribution to my country as a Chinese and a designer. I felt proud for my nation and my people after this project because as one out of the 1.4 billion, I delivered my contribution by showing my creation to the world.

Luxe.CO: Do you have any plans in stock for the winter sportswear of your brand?

CHENPENG: Winter clothing has been part of CHENPENG’s DNA since the beginning. From 2019 onwards, every year, we would have a small skiing collection or make fashion designs from materials related to skiing apparels. We’ll have a more diverse and segmented winter sportswear line in the future.

CHENPENG’s works and his interpretations of ideas:

  • Tribute to the People-roller skating costume

CHENPENG uses the iconic Chinese red as the basic color of the speed skating suit. The color stands for passion and hope. The white curvilinear stripes, which was inspired by Chinese knots (a traditional decorative handicraft in Chinese culture), symbolizes the movement of athletes on the rink. The ergonomic costume highlights the muscular bodies of the athletes.

  • National Flags-flagbearers

Inspired by the official visual patterns of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the flagbearer’s costume embodies ancient Taoist philosophy of “Tao models itself after nature” and “the unity of man and nature.” The patterns are shaped after the combination of outlines of mountains in Beijing-zhangjiakou, the Great Wall, and the color palette of the landscape depicted in A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains (an ancient Chinese painting).

  • Theme music Snowflake-Children’s “Dove” Costume

With white as the dominant color and red as the accent color, the Dove costume is based on the image of dolls on the Chinese New Year paintings and was embellished with paper-cutting patterns inspired by an Intangible Cultural Heritage--- paper-cutting craft of Weixian, Hebei Province. The initial pattern was created by Zhiguo Ren and Qingming Sun, two inheritors of this craft. The costume contains graphic elements including dove of peace, olive branch, snowflake, National Ski Jumping Center (Xue Ruyi), plum blossom and Chinese characters “Fu”(福) and “Ping”(平).

CHENPENG makes a secondary creation by reorganizing the paper-cutting patterns and combining them with shapes of door and window in traditional Chinese architecture. In doing so, he transforms the patterns into paper-cut for window decoration, a ritual during Chinese New Year.

  • The Olympic Rings- futuristic ice hockey costume

Inspired by Chinese ice lantern and ice sculpture, the costume is an artistic representation of icy colored glasses. Translucent PET is used to create a three-dimensional visual impact.

  • The Beginning of Spring- the costume of the stalk carrier

The Beginning of Spring is the name of the first count-down performance. “Lichun”, which means the beginning of spring is the first of the 24 solar terms of the Chinese lunar calendar, falls on February 4th this year. The dancers are dressed in one-piece suits of green thinning to white while carrying green stalks, embodying “the vitality that sprouts demonstrate while breaking through the soil in spring”.

| Photo Credit: CHENPENG

| Writer: Crystal You


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