Concept Korea Spring 2013
halk it up to the current K-pop mania happening stateside or the ubiquity of models like Hyoni Kang, but South Korea is having a moment. “There is unbelievable talent in Korea,” Fern Mallis told Style.com at the sixth annual Concept Korea presentation held at Lincoln Center yesterday. “You see an incredible sense of workmanship and craft.” Organized by the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Concept Korea acts as a platform to expose native fashion designers to the U.S. market. Mallis, along with several industry insiders including Dean of Parsons Simon Collins and stylist Phillip Bloch, handpicked this year’s top five, including Lie Sang Bong (pictured), Kye, Choiboko, Cres. E Dim., and Son Jung Wan, to showcase their Spring ’13 collections during New York fashion week.
“There is a certain freedom you see with Korean designers that manifests itself in a wide variety of styles,” Collins said after the presentation and a short performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company. To that end, looks ranged from Lie Sang Bong’s sophisticated architectural frocks to Kye’s neo-punk ensembles. “My initial inspiration was bullying in school,” explained the label’s designer, Kathleen Kye, who debuted her first womenswear line and has worked as stylist to Seoul-based boy bands Infinite and Shinee. “But I didn’t want that darkness to show in my garments, so I went for a rude-schoolgirl look.” The result? Cropped motocross jackets and kilts emblazoned with graphic lace, skulls—even firearms. According to Kye, “Most of my work has been for the stage but this collection is quite wearable.” It seems buyers agree—Kye’s collection is currently stocked at Opening Ceremony.