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Robert Wun And His Unique Multiverse of Horror

Robert Wun And His Unique Multiverse of Horror

Robert Wun is the only designer from Hong Kong to have been invited to Paris couture week.

It was his first-ever runway showcase, and he was doing the grand finale. This winning streak unfolded in the Hôtel d’Évereux, where the 18th-century gilded pillars and dramatic chandeliers that reflected his success turned black to transport the audience into a multiverse of horror.

Wun received his invite three months before the annual affair. He had just finished shooting his latest lookbook on his iPhone 11 and found himself at the most prestigious juncture in fashion. Where life imitates art, Robert Wun masterfully subverts this daunting discomfort into an oeuvre that satiates every man alike. The designer is no novice, though. His résumé consists of the most acclaimed names with commissions from Lady Gaga, the Royal Ballet and even the Hunger Games franchise.

Robert Wun Fashions Fear

The audience was in a state of sensory deprivation as everyone waited in complete silence and darkness. Each heartbeat blared like drums, pounding the walls of the room. Nepalese model, musician and close friend of Wun’s, Tsunaina, specifically created the ensemble that reverberated through the runway. Naturally, it was hypnotic and primal as the sound was accompanied by warring percussions that warned of doom.

More of an instinct than mere feeling, Wun wanted to explore the concept of fear: the primordial emotion. His vision of this was a renewed exploration of the archetypes in horror through a lens of femininity – the femme fatale. It was all very seductive and enticing, without baring skin to create allure. Every model was an anecdote of cut-throat sensuality. The power that emanated from them was equally as intimidating as it was awe-inducing. They sauntered down the catwalk with daggers for eyes and bright pursed lips, claws for nails and sharp accoutrements as weapons. Veils, masks, and hoods obscured their faces but never entirely as if to force you to acknowledge their humanity.

Fashioning fear into something beautiful is nothing new in the arts. These ancient dichotomies should feel familiar by now, yet we always feel compelled to postulate the presence of madness when told to find beauty in the grotesque. This reminded me of the late Alexander McQueen, who was known for his unabetted challenging of couture as perfect, pristine and pompous.

Wun wanted to do the same. McQueen’s collections were rough, cold, bloody, unapologetic and always controversial. Wun’s approach to this was definitely more refined, like a sort of controlled madness.

Inspired Tropes

Wun referenced a few films in this collection and reconstructed tropes popular in horror into couture. The Bleeding Coat most effectively captured his MO. Akuol Deng Atem boasted the alabaster white coat shaped like a cocoon. It had sporadically sliced cuts that were meant to emulate open wounds. The slits expelled scarlet red feathers that resembled spider lilies, and the carefully sculpted sleeves upon her shoulders resembled collapsed wings, making her seem like a wounded angel.

There was an all-yellow look inspired by Georgie from Stephen King’s movie ‘It’. It involved a conical headpiece and a reverent pleated collar resting on a bed of furisode sleeves.

Another example of this was the peplum pink gown worn by Japanese model Kanon Hirata. The sleeves of this outfit swallowed her arms and fell down to her sides, like a kimono, as it dragged eerily over her footsteps.


Diversity and representation is a contentious topic in our present world, never mind fashion. With increasing policing of cultural appreciation, appropriation and exploitation, it is hard to navigate the rights and wrongs as consumers of fashion, art and culture. The outstanding thing to me about this showcase was not the intelligence behind the constructions or even the artisanal pleating and tailoring. But rather the intertwining elements of Wun’s cultural background into his pieces. The elements of East Asian traditional clothing were not repurposed nor sexualised but interwoven to contribute to the beauty and magnificence of each look. Once you know them, you see them immediately and strikingly.

These constructions were not toned down to make them more palatable to the global audience. Wun has found a place for such fashion to exist in the international sphere. Where ‘foreign’ culture does not need to be repackaged, dismantled or muted to co-exist with the beauty already appreciated in the West. Above all, this collection was truly an example of homogenising multiculturalism. The designer was a first-generation immigrant from Hong Kong. Amid his journey of pursuing fashion in the diverse place of London, he credited and celebrated each culture he stumbled upon as an ode to his triumph.

And it is wonderful.

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