WOOYOUNGMI MAN (A/W´16)
One of the standout shows from the autumn/winter 2016 Paris fashion week men´s collections was WOOYOUNGMI. The houses latest offering paid homage to all the values of comfort and tailoring from which Madame Woo and Katie Chung drew inspiration from their personal garden, observing how a myriad of unique elements, from the most delicate flower to a rambling weed or powerful tree, viewed as a whole are in perfect harmony. Reflecting this unruly world of nature, a seeming randomness runs throughout the collection with no two looks the same; a fresh eclecticism is embraced by the designers. However take a step back and you find each piece working in synergy to create one beautiful ethereal canvas.
The setting is a dreamlike garden-scape. The lines, the forms, the curves are all an abstraction of reality. The undulations of an arum lily are emulated in shirt cuffs, the shaped sleeves found in knitwear and through the flowing lines of multi-coloured panelling. The lily itself is represented in patch-worked mink. The bold sculptural form of a magnolia echoes throughout. Softness is continued from aw´15 in the double-faced felts, suedes, chenille knits and luxurious patchwork mink. Peonies form the basis of dense embroideries, in some cases breaking free from the garment and floating down the body. Remembering the exaggerated colours they encountered at an exhibition of David Hockney’s ‘The Arrival of Spring’, the peonies are realised in vibrant contrasting shades that amalgamate rather than juxtapose. This is how colour has been used this season -they are vibrant but in perfect rhythm with one another. Feminine hues of red, dusty pink, moss green and vintage orange make a painterly winter palette, renouncing sombre autumnal attire.
¨If you want to replenish your visual thinking, you have to go back to nature¨ – David Hockney
Each piece originates from the classic male wardrobe, then becoming more surreal alters the silhouette; almost unchanging on the bottom, it is in a state of constant play on top. The split hemmed; flared trousers grow into the shape of an arum lily. An undercurrent of nostalgia is present when they are paired with shawl collared suit jackets, textured velvets and suedes, as well as hairy wools – some longhaired, some curly-haired. Oversized buckled ankle-boots worn with floating strips of silk chiffon gathered around the neck hint at glam rock. The house codes of relaxed elegant tailoring, beautiful outerwear and a deep study of fabrics continue.
At once rough & pretty, strong & fragile, the garden-scape highlights the introduction of womenswear. For Woo and Chung, their woman embodies all the characteristics of their WOOYOUNGMI man. She does not borrow from his wardrobe; they share the aesthetic in equal parts. In wide wool trousers, loose tailoring and soft oversized coats, she exists in complete harmony with him, reinforcing the season’s message.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald