Concept Korea

The Concept Korea SS15 show held Tuesday at Lincoln Center proved once again just how much talent thrives beyond the five boroughs.

The show featured collections by three young emerging Korean designers: Leyii by Seunghee Lee, Beyond Closet by Tae Yong, and Resurrection by Juyoung Lee.

Beyond Closet presented hip-hop- and preppie-inspired menswear (think: Sean John meets Tommy Hilfiger), while Resurrection showed edgy, punk-inspired menswear, including harnesses, netting, and skirts. Leyii, the sole womenswear collection, was reminiscent of early Calvin Klein with clean, pure silhouettes and impeccable construction. The twist was designer Seunghee Lee’s use of curved, rather than straight, lines, particularly in her dresses.  Backstage, Lee told us that the curved shapes were inspired by the mobiles of Alexander Calder.

“Calder’s work was inspired by nature, its shapes, and his use of color,” said Lee. “He particularly used the organic shapes in nature. My work is always focusing on the shape of a woman’s body, because all women have beautiful shapes. I don’t want to make clothes that are too pretty in a cute way; I want to focus on construction. That’s why I always focus on contrasts, because balance in fashion is important. Balance and contrast is based on minimalism, so the basis for my collection is minimalism.”

Although this was Lee’s first show at NYFW, the London-based designer, who launched her brand four years ago, has presented twice at London Fashion Week.  Educated at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, the designer has produced collections for Samsung and collaborated with famed photographer Gilles Bensimon for ELLE Korea. Lee’s clothes are currently sold in Korea, China, and throughout Europe.

Former CFDA Executive Director Fern Mallis, who founded New York Fashion Week (originally know as 7th on Sixth), said, “I thought all three designers did a terrific job and it’s great for them to get the exposure here.  I’m very impressed by the talent that’s in Korea.”

We wondered what Mallis thought about the direction of NYFW, even as there has been an increasing off-site migration of shows this season from the tents. “It’s always evolving, like everything in the world is,” she said.

“Miss” Jay Alexander, aka America’s Next Top Model‘s “runway diva coach extraordinaire” also loved the collections. Alexander, who was wearing a black-and-white print shirt from the Resurrection collection, has returned to ANTM this season after several seasons spent working abroad as a judge for the show’s international franchises.

“Network production called and said, ‘Would you come back?'” said Alexander.  “I was already doing Russia and Denmark as well. America’s Next Top Model is in over 180 countries.”

We wondered if eventually creative consultant Jay Manuel would be returning as well.  “They need to bring back Jay Manuel,” said Alexander. “And Janice Dickinson too.”

For more from New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015, click here.