6 posts tagged "Seoul Fashion Week"
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.
At South Korea’s recent fashion week, which just wrapped in Seoul, naughty was nice. The hint of eroticism and kink that underscored some of the best shows of the international season—especially Marc Jacobs’ namesake show and his Fall collection for Louis Vuitton—has made it to the Far East, too. But here in Seoul, even hedonism is structured. High-end business meetings still include polished hostesses called gisaeng, Korea’s version of geishas, while a rising trend among bored matrons are loud clubs where women select their own boy toys. And fashion’s fantasy world was no different. The strongest shows at Seoul fashion week were inspired by the tensions between release and restraint that underscore Korean society.
Ha SangBeg, Seoul’s lovable agent provocateur, created a joyful collection inspired by Nobuyoshi Araki’s Kinbaku photos of erotically bound Japanese women and Azzedine Alaïa’s color blocking. SangBeg tied traditional black rope in a “beautiful bondage” pattern over body-con micro-dresses in neutrals (left) and neon and tangerine-hued men’s sweaters. The show took place in the W hotel’s chic Woo Bar, where a trio voguing after the show demonstrated another form of disciplined decadence. The frisson of S&M references also ran through less notoriously boundary-breaking collections. Little leather dresses with inlays of grey and brown suede at Lie Sang Bong Paris were sophisticated and slinky. Stunning cape-back silk minidresses at Kaal E. Suktae bore prints of belts and bound hands. And even the elegant upscale hipster label Johnny Hates Jazz featured pleated leather A-line and pencil skirts whose touch of kinkiness only emphasized their conservative cut.
The Fashion Almanac is predicting winter 2010 will be a cold one—at least, you could believe as much from the endless furs that swaddled models on the runways of New York, Milan, Paris, and now Seoul. (Cynics might argue the deep pockets of show-sponsoring furriers have a little something to do with it, too.) But here in Seoul, there’s a different explanation: Avatar. “People love Avatar here,” said Serina Hwang, the popular presenter for Arirang TV, Korea’s fashion TV station. “They are inspired by it, and when you think of tribalism mixed with luxe, then fur is the fallback.” Back Seoul’s designers fell, into a mass of fur details unprecedented on Korean catwalks. Furry pieces were in evidence at almost every show in the Setec main trade show space and at the more chic Kring Art Center showcase for Generation Next’s emerging designers. Doii Paris, a favorite of Hwang’s and like-minded feminine dressers, paired print dresses and glittery, floral jackets with gray fur collars and trailing fur scarves. Jin Teok (pictured), one of the Setec shows’ senior designers, went one step further, showing fur jodhpurs, oversized trapper hats, detached fur cuffs, and grand fur sleeves over ladylike lace dresses.
In Korea, girls still giggle. On a popular talk show, housewives compete to thread needles, shred radishes, and change babies in the least amount of time. And as Hong Hyejin, the designer of the excellent, intellectual Studio K line, describes, “At 11 a.m., women will head to the department store to meet their girlfriends. They then have lunch and shop. Around 5 p.m., they go to the bottom floor and buy food to cook their husbands’ dinner. That is their life.” Yet menswear-inspired pieces made the strongest statement at Seoul’s fashion week this season. Kaal E. Suktae began his joyful Moschino-like, comic book-inspired womenswear collection with a series of suit jackets and sheer pleated pants. Johnny Hates Jazz, one of the leading younger labels, crafted miniskirts and caftans of traditional Savile Row fabrics. Dong-woo Han included two female models in his Irony Porn(o) menswear collection, dressing them in radically off-scale suits with snug jackets and billowing trousers. But the most striking and sexy display of gender play was Miss Gee, Seoul’s chic ladies’ favorite, whose show started with a series of couples (pictured)—girls in flapper garb and Sonia Rykel hair, paired with Seoul’s supermodels dressed up as dapper, thirties-style men in suits and overcoats, who stalked down the runway a few feet behind their dames.
Korean women are hardly the only ones with crushes on Carrie Bradshaw, her crew, and the city that nurtures them, but the designers at Seoul fashion week are uniquely adept at combining sexy cuts with innovative artistic visions of the city. In Vack Yuun Zung’s theatrical, futuristic runway show, inspired by the Chinese sci-fi film 2048, the show began with an intense display of abstract graphics before a brigade of multiethnic models presented cross-cultural combinations of strikingly urban harem pants, little black dresses, kimono drapery, and Korean lettering. For Ha:RTOCRYON, Korean designer Soojeong Leem clothed contemporary flaneurs in attire inspired by secret spots around Seoul. Even more arresting were the sunset-hued city spaces Dutch designers Brigitte Hendrix and Jolanda van den Broek printed on the calves of leggings, collars of fitted iridescent blazers with peaked shoulder pads, all over dresses and tights. The inspiration behind their appropriately named label, …And Beyond, is more Philip K. Dick than chick lit.