A model at Steve J and Yoni P collection; the show garnered much interest and praise at Fall/Winter 2012-2013 Seoul Fashion Week that took place in Jamsil, Seoul, Wendesday. / Courtesy of Bridge Company
By Noh Hyun-gi
Dark hues, clean silhouettes and wedge ankle boots dominated the runway for the women’s wear collection at Fall/Winter 2012-2013
Seoul Fashion Week. Famed designer Lie Sang-bong sent out models with their face painted in brown, starting the day at Peace Square at Olympic Park in Jamsil, Seoul, Wednesday.
And trends that have been selling at department stores — leather rimmed trench coats, quilted jackets— were spotted often. Fashion Take-Off designers such as Lee Seung-hee, Hong Hye-jin, and funky duo Steve Jung and Yoni Pai provided the main highlights. Fashion Take-Off is a business-oriented selection of promising designers to present to buyers and press only.
Steve J and Yoni P, one of the most popular labels at SFW, attracted the biggest audience; many journalists and buyers surfaced just to attend the show. Head-turners included ruffled belts and leather jacket pairings with denim shirts. The quirky artists had the models walk the runway with toy robots in their hands. Looking prepubertal in wet hair, they stood out in bright colors and patterns that were largely missing this season. The bold artists also mixed and matched a variety of textures such as denim and silk. Yet the collection of pink, orange and baby blue dresses appeared like pieces more suitable for spring and summer, untimely for the season. Nevertheless, multiple buyers claimed that it was the best show so far.
The studio K show by Hong stirred up interest as well. Minimal in color, most pieces consisted of two hues. Hong presented a safe offering of trench coats and pants. Masterful yet simple cuts of the fabric were classy. The two-toned ankle boots completed the minimal looks. Thunder-shaped lines separated the colors in the shoes, adding a poignant touch to a popular item.
Lee held on to black and white in her label Leyii. Draped skirts that mixed thick cotton with see-through fabric and jackets with cut-out shoulders were consistent throughout the first women’s wear Fashion Take-Off show.
Some Seoul Collection shows were saturated with uninspiring attempts. Models at How and What by Park Byung-kyu wore masks to resemble rabbits. They walked down in black heeled combat boots without variation and presented jackets decorated with fluffy balls of cotton or clips in the shape of a butterfly.
Signs of dissonance
Though the move to an outdoor venue was refreshing, it was only finalized a few weeks prior to the event due to much dispute, mainly, between Seoul Metropolitan Government and fashion designers. An official explained that invited guests were turned off by the delay. Much anticipated buyers such as Jay Bell, vice president of Barneys New York, and Sam Kershaw from British department store Harvey Nichols declined invitations. The number of foreign press suffered from last minute changes as well; it decreased to 61 from over 100 last year. This is especially damaging as SFW is fundamentally disadvantaged already in attracting global sales and media outlets as it trails behind New York, Paris, London and Milan.
Gee Chun-hee, a celebrity favorite, showcased her collection Miss Gee at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul because she did not wish to partake in the politics.
This event was the first SFW after the shutdown of Seoul Business Agency (SBA) which had been organizing the biannual event. The Seoul Metropolitan Government responsible for hosting the fashion week designated two private agencies, IMG and People Works to oversee the organization. The new association of designers led by Lie oversaw the selection of designers as well as the location of SFW.