Korean designers bring Asian influence to NY Fashion Week

NEW YORK Fri Feb 8, 2013 4:37am IST

1 of 3. Designer Lie Sang Bong works at the Concept Korea studio before the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection show during New York Fashion Week, February 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Whether it is sexy and sophisticated, colorful and playful or bold and edgy, Korean fashion designers showing their fall and winter 2013 collections at New York Fashion Week on Thursday brought an Asian flair to the runway.

Five designers selected to be part of the Concept Korea project to showcase Korean talent proved the nation's fashion industry is thriving with tailored, razor-sharp cuts, creative use of color and fabrics, whimsical patterns and architectural shapes.

"I want to tell the story of our culture," said Lie Sang Bong, who has been a designing for 32 years and is showing for the fifth time at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, which runs through February 14.

The antique window panes of Korean houses are an interweaving motif in his collection -- in patterns on dresses and blouses and cutouts in tailored coats and jackets.

His designs, mainly in blacks, greens and grays with accenting colors, are architectural. Many pieces have overlapping panels, accent sleeves and fine tailoring and are reversible.

"In the end I believe the story I am trying to tell is in the fashion," he said through an interpreter ahead of the show.

CONTRASTS, NATURE, GRAFFITI

All the designers who were chosen by a panel of experts to be part of the government-sponsored program are well established in Korea and elsewhere, but showing in New York enables them to expand their brands.

"It's an opportunity for me to market myself to an international audience," said Son Jung Wan, a former artist who describes her clothes as "sexy, fierce and luxurious."

Her designs are feminine in shades of gray, beige and eggplant with fitted jackets accenting the waist, trousers with slim, sheer panels running down the leg, coats and dresses with soft fur sleeves and lots of knits.

Choiboko, a designer for 40 years, looked to nature for his latest collection. His bold print appliques in red, greens and blues are reminiscent of primitive Korean cave art. The appliques are a sharp contrast on the structured coats, jackets, dresses and trousers in shades of black and white.

"The human body is my canvas and I create art on the canvas," he explained.

Hongbum Kim, who designs under his label Cres.E Dim., used soft, detailed leather for his military style jackets and coats, and lots of layering. A sleeveless coat was transformed when it was layered with an overlaying top with sleeves.

He combined leather, silk and sheer fabric in a slinky black evening gown with a pleated back. The designs were rigid yet soft with leather topped skirts flowing into fluid pleats that reached the floor. Each look in the collection had three different textures.

Kathleen Kye, a 26-year-old American-born designer who studied at Central Saint Martins in London and now lives in Seoul, is the youngest of the Concept Korea designers. Her Kye label is already a favorite with retailers such as Harvey Nichols in London and K-pop stars in Korea.

Kye used plenty of neoprene with designs inspired by boxes and graffiti for her unisex boxy tops, leggings and even shoes for a total head-to-toe look.

Although the inspiration for the show came from unemployed, homeless youth in Korea, Kye's collection was youthful and fun with bright pale blue coats and jackets and casual leggings and tops.

"We always chose a theme that is slightly unconventional," she said.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Marguerita Choy)

South Asian Fiction

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Jamini Roy

Jamini Roy

Photo Gallery – Bengali household name Jamini Roy’s paintings  Full Article 

Forever21 In India

Forever21 In India

Forever21 sets sights on Indian cities, but please hold the hot pants  Full Article 

Nazi Art Collection

Nazi Art Collection

Swiss museum publishes list of Nazi loot art trove  Full Article 

A Minute With

A Minute With

'Sunny' Charlie Day on oddballs, 'Horrible Bosses'  Full Article 

Arab Singer Dies

Arab Singer Dies

Lebanese singer Sabah dies at 87  Full Article 

Book Talk

Book Talk

Pack of Thieves? Convict-era Australia stacks the deck  Full Article 

Ferguson Impact

Ferguson Impact

Garth Brooks cancels TV appearances amid Ferguson unrest  Full Article 

Canada Sex Case

Canada Sex Case

Canadian celebrity radio host charged with sexual assault  Full Article 

Broadway in Cuba

Broadway in Cuba

Broadway finds a new stage in an old venue: Cuba  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage