But beyond that, fear was enveloping her country. Ms. Luo was confined to her parents’ home — she had been visiting them for the Chinese New Year when the virus broke out. She was unable to go to her office or even meet in person with her design team. She said she was scared.
“There are so many ways you can get the disease,” she said. “The only way we protect ourselves is away from people — that’s why we cannot go out.” As of Tuesday morning, the death toll in China had surpassed 1,000.
“It’s like being in jail, kind of,” Ms. Chan, 26, said over WeChat. “But we took a good risk.”
By that, she meant that the show went on.
The collection shown Monday morning was inspired by “the wild dad’s wardrobe,” the designers said — remixed versions of the suits, shirts and sweaters popular among dads in the 1980s. There were oversize silky-sheen printed tunics and fisherman sweaters, blazers with tulle sprouting like weeds from the sleeves, several velvet dresses and a necktie and shoulder pad or two.
There were hitches, of course. The designers wanted to be on video chat backstage, watching as the models had their hair and makeup done, but once again the connection in the gallery space wasn’t strong enough to produce clear images. Five hours after the show had ended, Ms. Luo had still not seen footage of the show. Ms. Chan, who had seen a few photos, said the styling choices weren’t exactly what she had envisioned.
And the work isn’t done. Now that the show is over, Prjct 428 is strategizing how to present it to conservative Chinese media, said Joan Kao, 25, a founder. When her company took over the duties of putting on the show, it prioritized diverse casting, hiring several gender-fluid and queer models to walk the runway.
“Seeing them bring the clothes to life was so beautiful,” Ms. Kao said. “But I haven’t been sleeping at all the past seven nights. None of us have.”