Robert Wun closed his Spring/Summer 2024 Haute Couture show on a deeply unsettling note. The final model wore a velvet gown in the same red hue that appeared on the blood-splattered bride right before her. But the more disturbing detail was the faceless figure which emerged from behind her like a demon, threatening to slip off a shoulder strap.
It all looked something out of a horror film, which was kind of the point. This season, Wun found inspiration from his favourite films, especially those with elements of fantasy and fear. As the designer told WWD, “I love movies, and certain horror genres I don’t really find scary; they’re actually really poetic.”
Indeed, once you got over the shock of that last look, you could appreciate its craftsmanship. Same goes for the aforementioned bridal look, which was meticulously embellished with red crystals to create that dramatic, blood-drenched effect. (A nod to The Bride in Tarantino’s Kill Bill, perhaps?)
Wun has proven to be skilled at recreating splatters and splashes on clothing. For his debut haute couture show for Spring/Summer 2023, he presented an umbrella and a raincoat that seemed to drip with glittering raindrops that, it turned out, were perfectly placed Swarovski crystals. This season, Wun tapped on that trick again for his collection’s opening looks, although he traded the umbrella for umbrella hats instead.
There were other ideas that Wun has repeated for his sophomore haute couture collection. The “wine” stains from his couture debut, which Olympic medalist Eileen Gu flaunted at last year’s Met Gala, have been reimagined as fresh paint splatters on an otherwise all-white ensemble, with glistening coloured beads to match. A couple of hats came with burn holes like those seen on Wun’s Scorched Bride dress, which the model Rawdah Mohamed wore to the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. And Wun’s signature pleated lamé ruffles, which have adorned his custom “Blossom” looks for celebrities like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Davika Hoorne, added volume to his body-hugging gowns.
Wun has plenty of reason to reference himself: his eponymous fashion brand is now 10 years old, and his creations are evidently sought after by stars around the world. He is also the first Hong Kong-born designer to be invited to show at Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris, and one of the only Asian designers to do so this season. “It’s this very strong reflection of how far I’ve come and also I’m grateful that I never gave up,” Wun said about his latest collection.
It’s not hard to imagine Wun’s creations going farther—beyond the red carpet, beyond the stage, beyond viral Instagram videos—and being immortalised on the silver screen. Cinema, as Wun shows us in this collection, is a major influence. He presented a black coat and a matching mask embellished with shards of glass as nod to Trinity’s act of sacrifice in The Matrix. The looks that followed might well have costumed a sci-fi flick: Wun added horns upon the shoulders and busts of his draped and pleated dresses, and he transformed models into insectoid beings with super wide and pointed sunglasses.
But the accessory that made the biggest statement in the collection were the headpieces, especially Wun’s sinister take on plague doctor masks. These pieces, along with Wun’s inventive textile techniques, altogether gave each look in the collection their own character. And if John Galliano hadn’t closed Paris Couture Week with his theatrical fashion show for Maison Margiela, fashion fans would still have been entertained by another strong storyteller this season.