Doo-Ri Chung is not a flashy designer. Her calling card is draping, at which she excels, and even when she's playing around with other techniques, her collections are craft-focused exercises in turning luxurious fabrics into understated, accessible clothes. For Fall, Chung was still within her comfort zone—from the first look, a simple floor-skimming turtleneck dress, draping was the big story—but, in a nice change of pace, she was operating with a little more abandon.
The designer's study of the artist Beverly Semmes—her monumental dresses, with their puddling fabrics and attenuated forms—had inspired her to exaggerate her shapes in interesting ways. Sometimes Chung misfired, as in overlong coats and dresses, flapped at the bottom, that had the models tripping over themselves as they walked. But in general, she used the Semmes reference wisely, as a means of making sense of this season's floor-skimming silhouette.
Chung's use of texture was especially keen this time out: fluid silk jersey draped off cool, geometric panels of leather; nicely judged applications of fur; barely there mohair knit tops and a mohair-lace detail she could have emphasized more. In general, the outerwear was outstanding, in particular a cozy coat of gray felted wool with an oversize collar, and a fuzzy navy wool jacket draped in back. There was nothing earth-shattering about these pieces, but they had a real sense of drama. And a surprise delight was the series of evening dresses Chung sent out at the end—cut bare, draped, and detailed with sexy fretworks of macramé. The gowns were Oscar-worthy, if there are any actresses out there with Chung's steely nerve to be simple.