Rui-Xu: Makes A Stand For Wildlife


Chinese Designer RUI XU Makes A Stand For Wildlife

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Following on from her successful exhibition Beauty On Fire – For Zaha at the Zaha Hadid Gallery (in memory of her friend and muse – the late, great Dame Zaha Hadid), Rui Xu is firmly cementing her position as a leading designer in the UK.

Rui Xu is an award-winning Chinese fashion designer and contemporary artist whose works bridge fashion, painting, music and performance, blurring the boundaries of culture and aesthetics.  She was the Director of Fashion at China Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing (CAFA), and now lectures at the university as an Associate Professor. After a year of academic research at Royal College of Art in 2015, Rui Xu set up her studio in South Kensington, London.

Rui’s most recent project is to create a series of unique animal couture masks to highlight the plight of wildlife for Elephant Family, whose Royal Presidents are HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.  The masks are to be displayed at the V&A Museum from 26th October – 4th November 2016, as a prelude to Elephant Family’s fundraising Animal Ball on 22nd November.  

The Animal Ball is a key fashion, philanthropic and cultural moment and will be attended by London society. The masks themselves will be on show in the V&A Cupola, a secret dome on top of the building which is not usually open to the public.

“We still have Asian elephants in China in the very south of the Yunnan province, but people have not only invaded their homeland, but also exploited them, detested them, and abused them,” Rui says of the reason for her involvement with the Animal Ball.  “The elephant is a representative of the wild animals that are on the verge of extinction and so we are coming together to tell the world that they need our help.  I hope the Animal Ball can become the living room of all the wildlife worldwide.  When I think of those poor elephants’ lives, my heart is filled with infinite compassion.  I hope my donation can bring real benefits to Asian elephants and other wildlife."

Rui has created one of the masks which will be on display at the V&A: Mask No. 21 “The Return of The King – David’s Deer.”  The mask is made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene plastic, which can be easily manipulated to create complicated shapes.  3D printing additionally allows for the development of precise details.  However, despite the modern-day materials and digital design procedures employed, Rui finds the creative process akin to ancient craftsmen of old carving artworks by hand.  

This appreciation for understated but authentic artisanship is very much the inspiration behind her whole collection.“Slow down, appreciate the world, touch the heart of animals,” Rui says. "Then human beings will have more happiness and dignity in life.”

The V&A Animal Ball Collection is Supported by Swarovski

Date: 26th October – 4th November 2016

Admission: Free

Time: 10.00am - 17.30pm

To purchase free tickets to the display, please visit here.


Sarah Salmon


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