3 posts tagged "Concept Korea"
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.
Staged on the site of the 1988 Olympic Games, Seoul fashion week wrapped Saturday after blazing through over 30 runway shows in four days, a schedule executed as precisely as the city’s modern infrastructure. Building upon increased interest following the Concept Korea presentation during New York fashion week, local designers proved they deserve special attention for Fall with an impressively broad sampling of themes—a range expected in Paris or Milan but sometimes lacking further afield.
Lie Sang Bong, South Korea’s most venerable talent, encapsulated this by combining Seoul’s dual love of dark futurism and exuberant humor with a pebbled stone motif embroidered upon sheer dresses and wildly shaggy tie-dyed fur. Padded protection proved essential—nearly every show featured a spin on the puffer jacket. The duo behind J Koo, Jinwoo Choi and Yeonjoo Koo (both graduates of Central Saint Martins), offered their take on the trend with a quilted skirtsuit befitting their standout debut of tailored streetwear (pictured). And beloved design partners Steve J and Yoni P also went edgy with cushioned patent leather sweatshirts in homage to the spacesuits that inspired their collection.
But it wasn’t all padded parkas. The week concluded with several lines poised for wider recognition. Husband-and-wife team Andy & Debb made the leap via hourglass wool dresses and beautifully distressed brocade pantsuits, while Kaal E. Suktae, already stocked by New York’s Seven boutique, pushed into the future with slick holographic color blocking. Currently based in Paris, Vassilly designer Jaehwan Lee brought a dash of European classicism back home, interpreting Rococo art as appliqué crests and exploded scarf prints. Even Seoul’s typically gothic designers like Park Choon Moo embraced a softer silhouette, choosing languid pajamas instead of last season’s aggressive noir fetishism.
By now, the scene outside any fashion show is familiar—an army of street-style photographers stacked on top of one another, grappling for the best shot of arriving editors and celebrities. The Concept Korea event brought that scene indoors this weekend at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, hosting editors and bloggers curious about new talent. Spearheaded by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, the showcase introduced five brands well-known in their homeland but seeking a wider audience in America. As professional and amateur paparazzi pressed in for photos, designers from DOHO, Son Jung Wan, Steve J & Yoni P, Lie Sang Bong, and Resurrection presented looks for inspection, posing proudly in front of their work.
Most established of the bunch and often dubbed the “Korean McQueen,” Lie Sang Bong explained techniques he uses to earn that moniker. “Inspired by a traditional Korean architecture technique, I wanted to incorporate past, present, and future by mixing materials like silk with very high-tech leathers and hologram trim.” The resulting feminine, futuristic pieces included one of the most-admired items of the night—a leather vest treated to shimmer like a beetle wing.