To fall in love with a toile, to enjoy the spirit of deconstruction, to be a safety-pin tailor, speaks of liberation. Season upon season, Moon Young Hee has taken such an approach to design – allowing her fabrics’ natural folds and frays to move organically. It takes a mature approach to appreciate the concept, so inculcated have we become with the idea that garment finishing dwells on a dichotomous scale – either perfectly tailored and seamed or resolutely distressed, tortured, grunge.
The Paris-based Korean designer is quieter. Since 1992 she has been stoking Eastern and Western influence in neutral palettes, for a whispered sensibility that treads the boundary between prêt-à-porter and avant-garde. Paris Spring / Summer 2014 heralds a play upon weight and tonal range for the label. Hee flirts with diaphanous, sheer collars across several looks, reaching the idea into a black and white dress that sustains its lightness by embracing selvage. Silhouettes are kept relaxed, following the natural feminine body contour, but never hugging. Shorts and skirts are full, A-line, above the knee and layered over with airy blouses. Pieces are designed to rest on the body, and the concept of ‘tucking in’ does not exist.
It would seem uncomfortable – almost inorganic – within this aesthetic vernacular. Where Moon Young Hee goes a little too far (or not far enough) is in the heavier, white blouse and short ensemble, which strongly preserves the original toile air and lacks the conceptual subtlety of the rest of the collection. At the other end of the scale, the textured final look in white organza attempts to fall lightly around the shoulder, but lacks ease. Despite this, the designer is generally successful in protecting her idea. Pairing the collection with sporty black and white tennis shoes preserves the integrity of a soft, breathy soundtrack and the measured walk of fresh-faced models.
As a whole, Moon Young Hee achieves a balance between the youthful carefree and the conceptually cultivated.