Show reviews: Highlights from Seoul Fashion Week fall/winter 2016
Seoul Fashion Week
KUMANN YOO HYE JIN: MIXED MEDIA
The brand: For those who are familiar with the Korean boutique Kumann Oh Eun Hwan, the similarity between these two names might spark confusion — Kumann Yoo Hye Jin is a high fashion line under the company primarily known as the former. Scoring a spot on Seoul Fashion Week's show schedule since FW13, their collections — spearheaded by designer Yoo Hye Jin — are known for its experimentation in both fabrics and silhouettes.
The collection: Pushing boundaries and redefining accessories with 3D puffer adornments (looks 1 & 36), Yoo managed to keep the FW16 collection wearable despite her penchant for experimentation. Think: Comme des Garçons's poeticism meets Roksanda's artistry — it was a well-concocted balance between showcasing the techniques of tailoring, without straying too far from conventional beauty.
Buro loves: The mixed media coats. Marrying fur, wool and neoprene seamlessly, the outerwear (looks 28 & 29) are visual and textural treats that double up as a stylish remedy for cold weather blues. Feeling uninspired during the troughs of winter? These graphical cover-ups will get you going.
BIG PARK: LEAN, MEAN, TIME MACHINE
The brand: Headed by Korean industry veteran Park Youn Soo with the help of his daughter Sooy, Big Park — launched in 2012 — is an emblem of new beginnings for the seasoned designer. Achieving a sense of cohesiveness and the quality of storytelling with his collections, this label is one to watch in the landscape of Korean fashion.
The collection: Doling out crushed velvet in all forms topped with voluminous crimped hair, Park was definitely feeling nostalgic this fall/winter 2016. Sending his models down the runway with Twiggy-like lashes and sporting the occasional historic souvenir jacket, what say the '90s club kid has a thumbed through copy of Haruki Murakami's South of the Border, West of the Sun by his bedside? Entirely possible. A dynamic offering rich in movement with flounced hems, flared trousers and generous A-lines, the eclectic styling of the ensembles sealed the deal.
Worth the investment: Mr Armani declaring velvet the fabric of the season with his Giorgio Armani line was reason enough to take notes, but Big Park's interpretation of the slip dress (look 3) and staple Mac (look 10) had us ready to hand over the buck. Great for late night shenanigans and momentous occasions, these are the pieces that'll bring you fond memories to speak of.
PUSHBUTTON: SHOULDER TO SHOULDER
The brand: Founded by Park Seung Gun in 2003, the fall/winter season is this designer's forte. With an affinity for bold primary hues and quirky prints, expect anything off-kilter that's never boring.
The collection: Vetements has chalked up a long list of credits to its name, experimentation with design and styling norms being one of them. Taking a leaf from Demna Gvasalia's book, the focus of Park's creations were the exagerrated shoulders on coats (look 14) — occasionally belted (look 12), and worn off-shoulder (look 2) for contrasting effect. Treading on shaky ground with the introduction of anime illustrations — by Korean artist, Nanan — on jumpers and puffers, we'd like to think of these graphics as less kitchy, and more tongue-in-cheek.
Try it now: Knotting a vibrant silk scarf over a dark-hued outer (look 22) — great for injecting instant colour and role-playing as caped crusader.
SURREAL BUT NICE: INTREPID EXPLORER
The brand: Lee Su-Hyong and Lee En-Kyoung's design leitmotif remains their workwear inspired pieces. Never thought you'll don a pair of cargos beyond the Millenium? Think again.
The collection: With flight bombers (looks 9 & 25), buttery shearling-lined jackets (look 31) and spliced leather cargo trousers (looks 6 & 25) leading this collection, the design duo's fall offering will have you primed for an expedition. Be it up in the air or amongst arid sand dunes, there's something for each and every intrepid explorer here. Contrasted by slogan sweatshirts (looks 5 & 6) and an off-beat, oversized tuxedo jacket (look 16), kitting the modern utilitarian is ultimately these designers' element.
Something you might have missed: The pointed scalloping on hems of robes and skirts (looks 11 & 28). The Flintstones, anyone?
R. SHEMISTE: PUNK'D
The brand: New on the scene with Won Jiyeun and Lee Jooho at its helm, R. Shemiste has definitely racked up points for creativity in its short life span. Founded in 2013, it's the label to seek out for investing in one-of-a-kind designs.
The collection: Led by an undercurrent of punk, Won and Lee did not simply repurpose their influences for the new season. Instead, they've gone to town with the individualistic design details — spot tassels lining the cropped plaid shirt (look 3), cut-out T-shirts jammed over blazers (look 5), and one-half of a souvenir jacket constructed onto dresses (looks 34 & 35).
Spot the trend: Yet another brand that's offered coats worn off-the-shoulder this season, the design duo have adopted the trend by layering chainlink suspenders underneath. Hardcore.
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