Seoul Fashion Week amps up color in vivid womenswear

Brown and burgundy are no longer the go-to colors for the cooler seasons in Korea, it seems. Brimming with color, experimental fabrics and unexpected twists, the first day of Seoul Fashion Week 2015 Fall/Winter Womenswear kicked off on March 23 at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

“So many designers elsewhere use similar colors, especially for the fall-winter season, but the color mix of Korean fashion is unique.” said Ritta aka Miss X, a buyer from the Chinese city of Chongqing.

Kaal E. Suktae: Cartoon character meets sophistication

Korea’s favorite green dinosaur cartoon turned fashionable in designer Lee Suk-tae’s new collection, which was also previously shown at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 12-19.

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The show began with the theme song of Dooly, a long-loved Korean cartoon that for many is the epitome of childhood.

Lee incorporated Dooly and his multicolored friends into his signature structured tailoring, turning the playful characters into avant-garde, pop kitsch accent points.

“There are a lot of fashion and cartoon collaborations abroad,” said Lee in a backstage interview after the show, perhaps referring to American designer Jeremy Scott’s recent collection inspired by Looney Toons characters.

Models present creations by designer Gee Choon-hee of Miss Gee Collection during the Seoul Fashion Week at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

“But they’re always based on foreign cartoons … so I wanted to work with a distinctly Korean cartoon,” he said.

The characters were emblazoned onto dark, structured outerwear, making for an unexpected but elegant harmony. Vibrant primary colors like red, white, blue, yellow and green adorned luxurious camel-shade coats and jet-black safari jackets. Bright rectangular lines were added to military-like outerwear, creating chiseled silhouettes with a striking edge.

“I didn’t want Dooly to seem cute or goofy ― I wanted to give him a modern twist.” Lee said.

To highlight the theme of childhood meeting sophistication, the models sported huge rubber pacifiers in their mouths for the finale. Rather than looking comic, the witty accessories added a futuristic, high-end vibe to the collection.

“I hope more Korean cartoon characters can be incorporated into other areas in the future,” said Lee.

pushBUTTON: Working girl pairs with fashionable slacker

One of the most star-studded shows of SFW, pushBUTTON boasted its signature 80s look and poked fun at traditional gender roles with its usual witty, bold style. Actress Bae Doona, rapper Cheetah, Heo Ga-yoon of girl group 4minute, Hyomin of girl group T-ara and Zico of boy group Block B were among the celebrities who lined the front row.

Oversized jackets were the key look for this season, said designer Park Seung-gun.

“We see a lot of women wearing ‘boyfriend-fit’ baggy jackets today,” he said, “but I decided to make men wear them, too, and spin things around. This way, men appear more feminine and thin, maybe a little reliant on the women, and not the other way around as usual.”

With gold chains around the nape of their brightly-colored round-neck tees, baggy pants that gather at the ankle and crew cut hairstyles, the men looked like modern renditions of fashionable delinquents a la “The Outsiders.”

The women, on the other hand, trotted down the runway in hair fuzzily teased into sky-high bumps, platform tassel loafers and calf-length white socks; they sported two-piece suits with daisy-yellow tweed patterns and flamboyantly pink felt purses, adding a flirtatious twist to the modern professional woman.

Park described his brand concept as both retro and female-empowering.

“I always try to recreate the mood of the 80s, which is the era I grew up in,” Park said. “I also want to show today’s strong and independent working girl. … Unlike before, it is the men who are becoming more attentive to their looks today.”

Other highlights

Big Park also incorporated strong colors and oversized jackets into its “Psyche and Cupid” theme. The stage was decorated like a modernized medieval cathedral, with lurid cupid statues and distorted stained glass. Eye-catching pieces included patchwork dresses, draped biker jackets and oversized coats, all cut effortlessly and embedded with cupid prints and artful color-blocking.

Miss Gee Collection presented its usual sophisticated city woman with a subtle sentimental edge. The show’s star model Jang Yoon-ju, whose engagement was announced in news reports minutes before the opening, sported a cheeky schoolgirl outfit in Mary Janes, knee-high socks and hunting cap, a flowing champagne-colored evening dress, and more.

Steve J & Yoni P named their collection “SteveYoni Laboratory,” fusing beakers, magnifying glasses, dropping pipettes and other science lab tools into their vivacious casual wear. Transparent lab coats were layered with various garments to accentuate the theme.

Up-and-coming brand ROCKET X LUNCH made its debut this year with Beastie Boys-inspired outfits. Designed by Woo Jin-won, the collection’s neoprene sweatshirts, mermaid skirts and overalls in pink, blue and purple hues showed off the brand’s free-spirited and adventurous approach to fashion.



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