Many of London Fashion Week’s designers have embraced the dark winter spirit this season. Pugh’s gothic leather bodices, Mitanovski’s monochrome palette and Topshop UNIQUE’s plush furs are typical examples of conventional approaches.
Soojin Lee, an emerging designer from South Korea, had a different tactic. Most of her collection boasted an array of colour; a refreshing and welcome change to the more traditional winter scene that other designers have embraced.
Her collection was intriguing owing to its severely contrasting elements. The beginning of the catwalk saw models wearing militaristic, camouflage jackets. The strong, tailored shape of the jacket lapels gave them a harsh, androgynous character. These initial designs were intimidating, being decorated as though ammunition were stitched onto them. One particularly striking piece was a a collared sleeveless dress, with an illuminated orange cartoon fighter jet printed onto it.
I want to change this world and try to convey doing so in my collection
These battle-ready catwalk pieces were succeeded and juxtaposed by models adorned in long, flowing, backless dresses which gushed in succulent oranges and reds. The dresses were complemented by models wearing sky blue blouses, effortlessly tucked into Moroccan style midi skirts. The designer used picturesque landscape backgrounds, such as a desert with a blue sky, or natural flowery prints to capture a more feminine tone in blouses and dresses. Makeup consisted of a rush of red eye shadow, giving the models an incredibly striking look.
It is important to note that, for Lee, this collection deliberately represented a transition. Speaking to the designer backstage after the show, she remarked: “I just wanted to give the people of the world a message. Peace is my whole theme, this is why I used a military look in the beginning and then it changed into flowery and pinky colours and feminine dresses – they mean peace for me.” When questioned about where this idea came from, Lee answered, “I was reading a newspaper one day and found that many people have a lot of fear of the world. I want to change this world and try to convey doing so in my collection.”
As an emerging designer, Lee’s fresh ideas for Autumn/Winter are well received. Behind the scenes of the show, a significant queue of press and fans waited to hear her thoughts on the collection. It is clear that Lee, in her own way, is beginning to make her mark on the world.