Seoul’s Unexpected Elegance
At Seoul Fashion Week, a handful of designers updated classic tailoring with unusual twists, offering a sense of unexpected elegance.
Embracing its moniker as the world’s streetwear capital, Seoul Fashion Week is known for championing a relaxed and sporty aesthetic. Yet this season a handful of designers shook the status quo, updating classic silhouettes with unconventional elements. These are the designers making their mark in the East.
Known for a sophisticated feminine-punk aesthetic, this season YCH designer Yoon Chun-ho presented a more mature offering in subdued hues of caramel, olive green and Turkish blue. Most striking was a lineup of elegant tailored suits: heart necklines and cinched waists gave an ultra-feminine touch to elongated blazers, while unconventional button details on trousers and midi skirts added a sense of modernity. Shirting was another triumph, including suede cowboy-inspired numbers and crisp poplin shirts with puffed or asymmetric sleeves and bow collar details.
Shooting to fame after landing the 2017 International Woolmark Prize, designer Han Hyun-min has found a winning formula with his label, Münn, creating dandy-inspired collections which blend masculine and feminine tropes. For AW’19 he looked to the Age of Enlightenment, reworking elements from 18th-century costume and traditional Korean fabrics into modern silhouettes. Standout pieces included shirting with front bows and balloon sleeves, flowing tiered skirts updated in sheer silk, and sports-infused silk jacquard jackets in vivid green and indigo.
Departing from her trademark quirky patterns and silhouettes, for AW’19, Minju Kim presented a grittier, more sophisticated line-up than usual. Her signature exaggerated frills were toned down, offered as minimal accents on sheer organza tops, baby doll dresses and pockets of ladylike dresses, while metal hardware on leather cut-out dresses offered a fetishistic edge. But Kim’s design DNA still shone through, particularly in whimsical rabbit embroideries scattered on quilted apron dresses and shiny kimono-style wrap coats.