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New media artist Lu Yang crafts an apocalyptic virtual reality in her new fashion film, The Beast, inspired by the futuristic 90s Japanese anime series, Evangelion. Conceived for the pioneering Beijing exhibition, Dressing the Screen: The Rise of Fashion Film, the world’s first comprehensive survey of the avant-garde form, the work fuses modern technology with ancient thought, proposing what exhibition mastermind Shaway Yeh calls a fusion of the half-machine, half-human anime superhero with the traditional Chinese concept of the human body.

Styled by Audrey Hu, the film features designs by Gareth Pugh, Givenchy and Qiu Hao, and is accompanied by a hypnotic soundtrack excerpted from the metallic orchestras and chamber ensembles of edgy contemporary composer Du Yun. Some people look up to Western pioneers, says Hu. Others choose to focus on creating something of their own. Lu Yang is one of the latter.

Produced in partnership with China’s Modern Weekly International, Dressing the Screen showcases nearly 100 works, selected by curator and director Kathryn Ferguson, from the pre-internet experiments of Ossie Clark to the pioneering digital work of filmmakers such as Nick Knight and Ruth Hogben, via Alexander McQueen’s holographic catwalk shows. We would like to put fashion film in a historical context, explains Yeh, so the aspiring filmmakers in China can learn and contribute to the development of this young genre.