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Asian power at Paris fashion week

From South Korea to Japan, designers bring their eastern aesthetics to French catwalk

  • AFP
  • Published: 10:34 June 29, 2013
  • Tabloid

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • A model presents a creation by Wooyoungmi during the men's spring/summer 2014 ready-to-wear fashion show on June 27, 2013 in Paris. AFP PHOTO /PATRICK KOVARIK
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Asian designers on Thursday took to the catwalks at Paris fashion week with the sharp lines of South Korea’s Wooyoungmi’s scorched desert-inspired collection vying for attention with young Japanese designer Yusuke Takahashi’s colourful exploration of traditional dyeing techniques for Issey Miyake.

In a collection described as a departure from Wooyoungmi’s “steady focus on her ideal man as a source of inspiration” the South Korean drew on winter thoughts of a “scorched desert landscape”.

Working with denim for the first time, Wooyoungmi – who was the first South Korean designer to venture into menswear – offered sharply tailored jackets, button-up shirts and stiff-bodied t-shirts in cactus green, sky blue, sandy beige and python print.

The 27-year-old Yusuke Takahashi meanwhile showcased a range of traditional dyeing techniques in his first collection for the Issey Miyake Men label.

Long flowing coats and Nehru jackets in intricate, irregular patterns, stripes or large checks were teamed with shorts or wide-legged trousers and caps.

Explaining one of the techniques, the label said that after dyeing fabric black using the itajime method, blue and red were then printed on top by silkscreen printing.

In another, the batik dyeing technique involved many layers of anti-dyeing glue being printed on cloth which was then hardened and broken by hand.

“The dye penetrates between the cracks, leaving individual complex patterns,” it added.

Influential veteran Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto also presented a collection later on Thursday with his trademark black and grey offset with splashes of yellow and sky blue.

Looks from the designer who famously says he’d prefer all men’s clothing to be imperfectly fitting and come in only one size included a short double breasted jacket teamed with wide-legged trousers cropped just below the knee and a grey and white print ensemble worn with a with high-necked shirt, tie and hair side plait.

Notably, the models included Swiss fashion newcomer Tamy Glauser whose androgynous look has seen her join a small band of women who have also found themselves in demand on the men’s catwalks.

Friday saw shows by two more Asian designers – Juun J. of South Korea and Junya Watanabe of Japan.

Juun J is known for his oversized garments layered together in one piece, with military references said to be inspired by his national service in the South Korean army.

Junya Watanabe, meanwhile, likes to experiment with cutting edge fabrics and usually bases his collections around deconstructing and reconstructing a single concept.

A show by another Japanese designer, Miharayasuhiro, who first made his name in footwear with a collection created while he was still a student, was also scheduled for Saturday.

Noted for a muted, monochromatic signature style, Miharayasuhiro launched his first store SOSU (prime number) in Tokyo in 1998 before expanding into menswear.

Dozens of men’s collections for spring/summer 2014 are being shown over five days in Paris this weekend.

They wind up on Sunday when men’s fashion will give way to four more days of haute couture for autumn/winter 2013/2014.

The men’s fashion highlight is expected to be Hedi Slimane’s Sunday show for Saint Laurent while Christian Lacroix’s return to Paris fashion after a four year absence will undoubtedly be the must-see show of next week.

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