Fashion Show Coverage

Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: CRES. E. DIM.

SFW S/S 2015: CRES. E DIM.

One great thing about having experienced a not-so-memorable past collection is that there is something to look forward to in the next season. And this season, Cres. E. Dim., comes on strong with a collection filled with engaging pieces that not only prove that he’s a qualified designer but that he can embrace and reinterprete “norm core” in his own, unique way using elements found in Korean school uniforms from the 70′s. There were jerseys, mesh sweaters, trench-inspired sport coats, culottes and even bucket hats to add to the list. While it is uncertain whether he meant the band or the artist when he mentioned Yves Klein Blue as part of inspiration, this sporty yet relaxed approach to casual wear sure seems to be working for the brand.

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Photo by Justin Shin, Fashion Photographer Seoul Korea

Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: J KOO

SFW S/S 2015: J KOO

You know it’s a good show when you start anticipating the next look. Quite simply, what sets a good collection apart from those that are average is one that which presents something new in every single look yet mindfully follows the theme by placing main elements of the collection in each look. It should be clear what the designer is trying to convey, and it should be illustrated in the pieces that are made with the highest quality and finish. We have all done some type of presentation in school that required nothing but the best in us because the presentation, in a way, represented who we were- it was a chance to show them what we were capable of. A fashion show isn’t much different- only that an event in this scale should consist of results that offer a lot more at a much higher level.

SFW S/S 2015: J KOO

J KOO is a brand that knows what’s up. And I mean it- are they not only the most well-trained and prepared duo, but they are one of the few designer brands that shows during Seoul Fashion Week that have mastered the basics of fashion design. What that means is that they have the ability to cover from A to Z with their very own “kick” added, all the while keeping them “cool” and practical enough to lure fashion fans from all over the world. The pieces are not only one of a kind, but with wit and quality that you’d expect from a luxury designer brand- but more important, they are trendsetting while also being timeless and sometimes even free from circumstantial factors. These are clothes you want to go out in, party in, meet cute boys and girls in, pray in, and to sleep in. I know, because I’ve experienced them firsthand.

SFW S/S 2015: J KOO

It isn’t difficult to conclude that tennis is rather a fashionable sport, and it really got me curious when the designer told me that they were inspired by tennis wear from the 1920′s to 1930′s which looked something like this and this. While it’s not the first time high fashion has played tennis, compared to Jean Paul Gaultier’s luxurious take, J KOO presents younger, casual variations with mini fringes, pleats and their signature “undone” edges. Having a menswear background for the duo gives them a competitive advantage by allowing them to experiment with womenswear while creating everything with top notch tailoring. It may seem common sense, but at the end of the day, what truly matters is whether fashion designers know how to design. If you are wondering why I’m saying such a thing, try seeing 200 shows a season. You can kind of start giving brands grades, trust me.

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Photo by Justin Shin, fashion photographer Seoul, Korea

New York Fashion Week Spring 2015: Hervé Léger

NYFW S/S 2015: Herve Ledger

The question is, just how far we can go with the bandage dresses.. Kudos to the design team at Max Azria for their relentless attempts and success at creating seemingly endless collections of body-con dresses season after season, which this time around received a bit of “power” with inspiration coming all the way from Japan. It’s one thing to be a strong woman, but to look this sexy being one is not the easiest feat. If you were guessing “Geisha” the moment Japan was mentioned, you were right, albeit partially. Hervé Léger’s spring collection is a reinterpretation of Japan’s female warriors called onna-begeisha; what she would have been if she were to come home after a long day at a battlefield- or, on her “off days” having a brunch somewhere hip, let’s say Downtown LA. This alone should explain the Kimono reference that’s rather obvious, though this woman isn’t only a fighter but is confident about her body and sensuality- so much so that she rocks skin-tight clothes that are considered the toughest to pull off- that which pretty much reveal every curve and not-so-curvy parts of the body. What seems to matter the most however, is embracing and enjoying being a woman no matter what, one who is strong not because of her social position or wealth but simply because of who she is. On that note, this is a collection that is both empowering and creative, and that’s enough to leave us anticipating the next collection for sure.

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Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: KIOK

SFW S/S 2015: KIOK

It’s infinitely great when the designer knows what she’s good at, and even better when she doesn’t hesitate to focus on the exact stuff that made her who she is. Denim, shredded denim in particular, is undoubtedly Kiok’s specialty, and the minute top model Soyoung Kang opened the show with a denim jacket that’s two things awesomely beautiful: distressed and white, it finally felt safe to breathe a sigh of relief. There were no surprises, but it was a concise display of Kiok’s history, and where it will be heading from here. One thing is clear: it’s all about denim, and that is enough to keep the fans happy.

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Photo by Justin Shin, fashion photographer Seoul, Korea

Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: MOOHONG

SFW S/S 2015: MOOHONG

A designer who is on a constant search for harmonies and collisions that emerge when contrasting elements are met, Moohong Kim of designer label, Moohong, seeks communication between fashion and humanity in his spring collection through a simultaneous study of ethnic codes and modern street aesthetics. With emphasis on cultural diversity, the collection is a daring attempt at effortless utility chic in variants of monotone that gets more interesting when movement is added. While it was undoubtedly one of the more refreshing shows, whether intended of not, spirit of Antwerp Six could be felt but with a Korean touch (Ann Demeulmeester and Haider Ackermann in particular come to mind; and Alexander Wang when boxers started showing up- but then again, that’s not a patented or copyrighted idea).

As Korean fashion continues to seek its place on the global fashion map, it seems imperative to first figure out what is quintessentially Korean; that which cannot be replaced, one that which makes it covetable by not just average consumers who seek lower priced fast fashion, but fashion forward consumers who are looking for a luxurious alternative that’s fresh, classic and timeless.

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Photo by Justin Shin, Fashion Photographer Seoul, Korea

New York Fashion Week Spring 2015: BETSEY JOHNSON

NYFW S/S 2015: Betsey Johnson

Now, it’s not often that I must question a model’s gender… or age, for that matter- not that it’s a bad thing, it just means there was that much more to see and experience at the show. If anything, designers are free to do whatever they want, as fashion week is indeed their time to shine and to entertain.

Betsey Johnson is undoubtedly an expert at that, and this season, it’s all about her matrimonial fantasies, from A to Z. As her bridal collection takes off, the designer seems to be really enjoying experimenting what unique elements she can add to the rather consistently tranquil category, smartly utilizing her signature over-the-top take on femininity. After all, who says wedding dresses must be white? Are purity and innocence even applicable anymore? That is, unless you consider Queen Victoria your fashion role model.

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Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: Beyond Closet

SFW S/S 2015: Beyond Closet

The toughest collection to write about is one that is neither really bad or excellent. It’s those that fall somewhere between the dichotomy but so lukewarm that they basically elicit no emotions. Such tend to be ones that are designed by people who are more business-minded than art or design-driven.

SFW S/S 2015: Beyond Closet

Despite having reached the mega popular status among the young population in Korea with its “dog tee”, coined after the brand’s signature t-shirts and sweatshirt series with a dog embroidery which varies in type and size, Beyond Closet has yet to present a collection that truly captivates. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t quite figured out why anyone should pay extra for a sweatshirt that can easily be found at a much cheaper price just about anywhere in Seoul. It’s just a sweatshirt with a logo after all.

SFW S/S 2015: Beyond Closet

It’s somewhat obvious that the theme is “School Gang” with the props and styling signaling the setting; however the clothes themselves were more reminiscent of the 90′s Korean Pop style, especially with the slightly oversized fit, colorful stripes and embroideries which was definitely fun, but not as exciting as when the K-pop group Winner opened the show.

SFW S/S 2015: Beyond Closet

I guess the biggest issue here is that the collection was predictable, and with all the hypes and popularity the brand has garnered over the past year, people want to see something refreshing and creative from Ko, not the same old style especially the “Dog” thing being repeated the same way over and over- perhaps a reinterpretation of his signature style would be nice, like how Kye has successfully made the rope pattern her signature style. Also, it would have been great to see the “it girl” of the moment, Sungkyung Lee, in a school girl uniform-inspired outfit instead of the baggy pajama-like pieces that basically added nothing to the show- rather than making her stand out as the only female model, they made her look bigger and inconspicuous. Seriously, any of you digging what she’s wearing?

SFW S/S 2015: Beyond Closet

It’s awesome to see emerging K-pop stars on the runway, especially when they have over a million followings all around the world- it’s definitely a smart move from a marketing stand point; however, as a fan of Korean men’s fashion, I would like to see Ko become a bit more daring and bold in his designs, to experiment and innovate. On that note, expectations shall remain high for his next collection. As for now, what’s certain is that beyond closet, there are dog tees… and lots of them at that.

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Photos by Justin Shin, Fashion photographer seoul Korea

New York Fashion Week Spring 2015: LACOSTE

NYFW S/S 2015: LACOSTE

Lacoste is going on a cruise this spring on a luxury yacht that is both adventurous and experimental but decidedly luxurious and playful. Over the years he’s been at the French fashion house, Felipe Oliveira Baptista has become an expert at creating apparel that embraces core values of what makes Lacoste what it is today: style, comfort and performance. Beginning at the very root of its history, nautical heritage takes an urban approach with mix-and-match of contrasting details, patterns and shapes with structured cuts and asymmetrical constructions this season. Pulled from its expansive archives, windbreakers and polo shirts are just a few of the signature pieces that embody the technical nature of the challenging sport. Abstract patterns accompanied by the brand’s iconic blue, white, red and yellow on sporty materials such as nylon and mesh are complemented by refined utility which is reinterpreted and highlighted with nautical-inspired coordinates with adjustable straps and belts.

NYFW S/S 2015: LACOSTE

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New York Fashion Week Spring 2015: Vivienne Tam

NYFW S/S 2015: Vivienne Tam

It’s always fascinating to meet a person with a different background (which would basically be just about everyone), especially one exposed to multiple cultures from a young age. Not only is there a lot to learn, but they tend to bring a fresh perspective to otherwise everyday things.

New York based, China-born and Hong Kong trained fashion designer, Vivienne Tam, has been offering Eastern-inspired clothing with a modern edge since a launch of her eponymous brand in 1994. Her “Forbidden City” inspired spring/summer ’15 collection is no exception; in abundance were rich, saturated colors and exotic patterns reminiscent of artworks preserved at the World Heritage Site. Particularly compelling were nature-inspired embroidery work combined with a sporty vibe as seen in techno power mesh dresses with exotic imagery such as flower and landscape embroidery, or laser cut appliqué which were all too realistic and convincing with a spoonful of hipster cool. Perhaps what makes this collection extraordinary is that it’s where traditionalism and modernism, and nature and future coexist oh-so-harmoniously. There’s geometry, femininity, technology; and the way they complement each other is in all likelihood not much different from how her Chinese and HK upbringing and the time in New York have helped shape her as a prominent fashion designer, and an urbanite who doesn’t only embrace but celebrates her roots time after time.

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Seoul Fashion Week Spring 2015: LOW CLASSIC

SFW S/S 2015: LOW CLASSIC

The meaning of “American Dream” may have changed over time but there’s no question that in its core lies hope for equal opportunity to achieve prosperity through hard work no matter the class, caste, religion, race, or ethnicity.

As someone who once dreamed of the “dream” and later became an active participant of the spirit, having an encounter with the phrase none other than at a fashion show came as both a surprise and nostalgia-inducing which resulted in heightened anticipation for what was to come, not that it wasn’t already high enough.

Despite this being their first time showing at Seoul Fashion Week, Low Classic has been a buyer and press favorite for many seasons now thanks to their classic, modern approach to femininity and minimalism. If Celine and Stella McCartney had an offspring, it would most likely look something like this, with a tiny bit of Acne and Jacquemus here and there.

A collection inspired by overalls which is often used to represent blue collar workers who work hard to achieve American Dream, head designer Lee Myung Sin presents yet another impressive collection full of pieces that shall end up in our wardrobe come spring. 

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Photo by Justin Shin, Fashion Photographer Seoul Korea