September 15, 2012 London
Lee, of course, would be that mad scientist. The pride of the Aussie fashion scene, he started showing in London last season, a move that coincided with a major advance in his technical ambition as a designer. This collection was something of an engineering marvel, boasting three-dimensionally printed dresses and suits, the complex construction of which beggared the imagination. Lee was kind enough to explain: He started with the geothermal mapping, abstracted the information about body hot zones into placement prints that he put on both sides of his fabric, and then he began slashing and folding, building out the print's third dimension. (We imagine these pieces will be very expensive: They deserve to be.) Lee also used his slicing and folding technique to create a kind of spinal column of peekaboo skin; on black leather, the technique evinced a Blade Runner tone. Elsewhere, the designer's techno-gothic side got a utilitarian workout in those backpack dresses and jackets.
So this collection was technically showy. In some ways, though, the strongest looks here were the ones that hadn't been subjected to quite so much obvious labor. There was something stirring, for instance, in Lee's seemingly simple, orange-flashed looks—the bicolor tank, worn with wrapped, half-sheer slouchy pants, and a relaxed yet sharply cut dress with a transparent orange inset. These designs were futuristic, too, but not in the sense that someone might wear them one day eons hence. They were futuristic in that they looked like clothes women will want to wear next spring.