AIR­ING IN­TI­MATE LAUN­DRY IN PUB­LIC

Xu Daini, the founder of an on­line lin­gerie shop, or­ga­nizes a unique art ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tur­ing pieces fash­ioned from old un­der­wear do­nated by the pub­lic

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By XU JUN­QIAN in Shang­hai

xu­jun­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Hav­ing re­ceived 5,012 pieces of used lin­gerie from the 34 provinces and cities in China as part of a re­cy­cling pro­ject, Xu Daini, founder and CEO of O2bra.com, de­cided that she would show­case them in a one-of-a-kind ex­hi­bi­tion in Shang­hai.

Af­ter about three months of prepa­ra­tions, which in­cluded work­ing with lo­cal artists and de­sign­ers to tear apart the lin­gerie be­fore re­fash­ion­ing them into art works, Xu launched the two-week ex­hi­bi­tion on Mar 7, a day be­fore In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day, in an 800-squareme­ter space atop one of the city’s cen­tury-old dock ware­houses along the Huangpu River.

One of the nine art works on show in­volved us­ing hun­dreds of bra straps to form the shape of car­dio­graph read­ings while an­other saw one thou­sand foam pads used to cre­ate a dozen clouds named Mem­ory Tur­bu­lence.

Al­though Shang­hai has its fair share of lin­gerie shows ev­ery year, in­clud­ing the Shang­hai Mode Lin­gerie event that has taken place an­nu­ally since 2004, and the flam­boy­ant Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret show­case which was broad­cast on­line in China since last year, this is prob­a­bly the first time that Chi­nese women have per­mit­ted their per­sonal col­lec­tions to be dis­played in pub­lic.

“It’s an un­der­wear chron­i­cle of our gen­er­a­tion. This ex­hi­bi­tion is not about th­ese worn-out or out-of-fash­ion bras. It’s all about the sto­ries, the emo­tions and the mem­o­ries be­hind th­ese in­ti­mate pieces,” said Xu.

Re­cep­tion for the ex­hi­bi­tion has been over­whelm­ing. More than 300 vis­i­tors packed the ex­hi­bi­tion hall ahead of the open­ing cer­e­mony and hun­dreds of tick­ets, priced at 20 yuan ($3) each, were snapped up even be­fore the event. Xu said that all the money gen­er­ated by ticket sales will be do­nated to a char­ity foun­da­tion that helps women with breast dis­eases.

Xu’s re­cy­cling ini­tia­tive started in De­cem­ber 2015 as she wanted to learn more about the his­tory and habits of her cus­tomers. Her call for do­na­tions was met with 1,453 parcels, many of which came with hand­writ­ten let­ters ex­plain­ing why own­ers did not want their lin­gerie any more.

Xu clas­si­fied the rea­sons into three types: the first piece of lin­gerie bought by moth­ers, the gift from an ex-boyfriend, and the ones that

PHO­TOS BY GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

The Me­moryTur­bu­lence art­work is made up of hun­dreds of bra paddings.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Xu Daini, the founder of O2bra.com

The art­work ti­tled BestTasteBe­fore:

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