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Innovative design of oriental charm (tell the Chinese story well)

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Visual artist Ye Jintian designs the award-winning uniforms of the Chinese sports delegation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Innovative design of oriental charm (tell the Chinese story well)

Ye Jintian and his design of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Chinese sports delegation’s award clothing.

Photo courtesy of Ye Jintian Studio

Core reading

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the award-winning clothing of the Chinese sports delegation was praised by many netizens at home and abroad. This award-receiving costume was made by the designer Ye Jintian. After three years of sharpening a sword, Ye Jintian hopes that this suit can show the Chinese people’s temperament and charm, and better show the beauty of China on the world stage.

This summer, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when Yang Qian won the first gold medal for the Chinese sports delegation, the praises of netizens quickly swept the screen, including many overseas netizens. In addition to the joy and pride of winning gold, she also received attention from the award-winning uniforms she wore in the Chinese sports delegation: “Really beautiful!” “Want to know if this dress can be sold?” The better it comes.”

This award-winning costume, which has been praised by netizens, came from the hands of visual artist Ye Jintian, the winner of the 73rd Oscar “Best Art Direction”. “I want athletes to be very comfortable and confident after wearing them, and I also want to give our culture a new perspective on the world through clothing.” Ye Jintian said.

The design should show the grace and charm of the Chinese

This is the first time for Ye Jintian to design sportswear. He has been in the industry for more than 30 years and has done modeling design, costume design, and stage design for many movies and stage plays, but this time is a little different. It is necessary to design for people with different physical characteristics, to make each athlete fit and look good, and to consider the new technology and new materials used in sportswear. Ye Jintian said frankly that the difficulty is not small.

More than 3 years ago, Ye Jintian accepted the invitation and began to design award-winning clothing for the Chinese sports delegation. “How to better display the beauty of China on the world stage” became the core of his thinking and the starting point of his design. In his view, Chinese culture emphasizes the unity of spirit and body, so the design should also show the spiritual connotation. “The award-winning suit is not only a piece of clothing, but also to convey the unique spirit of the Chinese. I hope this outfit can show our tolerance and charm.” Ye Jintian said.

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A clear design concept is only the first step, and the choice of fabrics must also be improved. Award-winning clothing must not only have aesthetics, but also fully meet the needs of waterproof, quick-drying, and breathable. Ye Jintian spent a lot of time searching for suitable fabrics and did a lot of experiments. Use perforated breathable fabrics for sweat-prone parts, splicing a variety of fabrics on joints…Integrating various elements such as Tang suit, Qing Dynasty clothing, and Chinese tunic suits, Ye Jintian’s award-winning clothing is inspired by the word “中”. It adopts a Chinese Tang suit round stand-up collar, and the collar line extends to the dantian, symbolizing “shen dantian”; red and white are used, the color is simple, bright and full of impact; the overall shape emphasizes the contours of the shoulders and neck, the upper part is wide and the lower part is narrow , The upper body is in the shape of an inverted triangle, which lifts the body shape and enhances the sense of strength.

“Slim athletes wear them to show their vitality, and strong athletes wear them to show their strength.” Facing the praise of netizens, Ye Jintian said, in fact, after the costume was designed, he has been very nervous. As more and more Chinese athletes boarded The podium gradually relieved, “I think it’s pretty good, and it has achieved the effect I want.”

Innovation is inseparable from the accumulation of cultural heritage

When he was young, Ye Jintian traveled to Europe, and he was deeply shocked by the confidence and pride of the local people in their own culture.

In Hong Kong at that time, Western culture was the mainstream. “But the information we were exposed to changed hands many times. People actually didn’t understand Western culture or their own culture.” This made him think about why we can’t tell what belongs to ourselves. s things?

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Often working with world-class artists, Ye Jintian increasingly feels the importance of cultural heritage, and he dives deep into the excellent traditional Chinese culture. “Chinese excellent traditional culture has gradually become a foundation for my creation.” Ye Jintian said. From the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, which made him famous, to the TV series “Daming Palace Ci”, “Oranges Are Red”, to “Red Cliff” and “Night Banquet”… For many years, Ye Jintian’s design has been in its own way, full of The rich oriental features, combined with a variety of elements, make the colors and shapes novel and unique.

In his view, classics and innovation, traditions and modernity are not contradictory. “Tradition is a link between the past and the future, just like the flower stamen, innovation is the petals that grow from the periphery, so innovation that leaves the tradition will be illusory.” Regarding innovation, Ye Jintian said: “Don’t do easy things, keep pursuing higher and better. Even if you have a successful precedent, you must challenge yourself and take risks so that you can truly make new ideas.”

After working in the industry for many years, Ye Jintian demanded that he must lay a solid foundation for the “tradition”, and then make innovations, “let innovation always have a beacon to watch”. He believes that innovation is a way for today’s people to get closer to tradition. “For most people, tradition is difficult to enter, because it was born far from now, so it is necessary to innovate to let people first Generate interest, then contact, understand and fall in love with tradition.” Ye Jintian said.

Find a suitable way to tell the beauty of China

In the process of designing, Ye Jintian discovered that many Westerners do not understand the real China, and there are prejudices in their understanding. How should we talk about our culture? Ye Jintian kept thinking: “We must use a distinctive discourse system to tell the beauty of China and let them see it.”

In fact, Ye Jintian was already following this concept when he participated in the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. The art design of the film abandons the gaudy and complex elements. The ancient city walls, bamboo forests, gray tiles and other elements create a simple and classical atmosphere, light and elegant, conveying the poetic flavor of Chinese painting. The strong Chinese flavor has attracted the attention of the world. “We just showed the pure and very Chinese beauty, and found a point that Western audiences can accept and understand.” Ye Jintian said.

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In 2016, Ye Jintian worked as a stage art and costume designer in the English opera “Dream of Red Mansions” produced by the San Francisco Opera. At first, he wanted to use shadow puppets to make a set of Grand View Garden-themed installations. “Many viewers in the West have never seen beautiful ancient buildings in China or landscape paintings.” Thinking about these, Ye Jintian adjusted the plan, using Chinese elements such as brocade, loom, kite, etc. on the stage, and composed of 6 translucent paintings. A huge mobile device shows the whole picture of the Grand View Garden and creates a stage that combines reality and virtuality. The performance was a success. To convey Chinese flavor in a way that Western audiences can easily accept, Ye Jintian said: “They feel the beauty we want to express.”

Ye Jintian feels that if you want to tell your own story well, you need to understand yourself and the other person, and more people need to make persistent efforts. “Make works that have spiritual communication.” He said: “This will inspire more people to participate and work together to make more quality products.”

For Ye Jintian, the design of the award-winning suit for the Chinese sports delegation is also a way to tell the story of China to the world. Just as more and more athletes in China can stand on the highest podium of the Olympic Games, now, including Ye Jintian, more and more Chinese artists and works are on the world stage. “If you have a little ability and a little experience, you must show them so that more people can see our demeanor.” Ye Jintian said.


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