Seoul Fashion Week – Part 4: Rubina, CRES. E DIM, MoonKyoungLae & Doii




For a designer who has been putting out collections for 33 years, Rubina is still making it happen.  The designer learned her craft as one of Korea’s top fashion models back in the day by watching the designers intimately interact with the clothes while they were on her body.  Once her modelling days were starting to wane, she took those years of observations and honed a skill that has earned her a spot on the list of Korea’s most influential fashion designers.


Rubina creates for for the modern woman with more elegant silhouettes than you will see on the normal k-pop starlet who is apt to wear such local high design.  Her S/S 2014 collection is full of interesting shapes and cuts that seem to blend a traditional art perspective with modern Korean trends that still keep it relevant.  The overall feel was aqueous with these incredible ocean hues juxtaposed with the stark black and white.

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Designer Kim Hong Bum is Project Runway success rising to fame after his tenure on the Korean version of the reality television design show in 2008.  A year later he launched his line CRES. E DIM named after the musical term ‘crescendo e diminuendo’ with “cres” meaning getting gradually louder and “dim” indicated becoming gradually softer.  This idea is applied to the designer’s fashion identity and philosophy as he experiments with fabrics overlapping the body and cuts them into fragments to add rhythm.  He showed his first collection in only 2010 and by 2012 was picked to represent the top Korean designers in Concept Korea, the government sponsored showcase held at New York Fashion Week.


The S/S 2014 collection is his sixth and has an otherworldly feel to it with galactic prints and ultra-modern leather silhouettes – very Korean right now.  Fitting as Korean in general seems to be like living in the future.  Kim took inspiration from Dutch product designer Renee Verhoeven‘s project Concealed Layers of Product Life which explores function and materialization, anatomy and mobility in a series of leather gloves (see MOCOLOCO’S post on it).  He also dug into the work of Michael Hansmeyer, a computational architect who creates algorithms to create incredible 3D renderings of complex and intricately detailed structures.  The result is a collection entitled “Concealed Layers” with asymmetrical shapes, bold cut outs and a little intergalactic planetary (cue Beastie Boys).  I’m oddly attracted to those whatever they be called stocking stirrup things, which have shown up in a few shows…

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Following in the same otherworldly vein, designer Moon Kyoung Lae dove inwards instead of looking out.  His “Quantam Mechanics” collection is a never ending study on the essence of being.  The question of life is a big one and led Moon to dissect existence to the smallest particles known to exist – atoms.  The garments are his philosophical and creative interpretation of their nature as well as a larger statement to the ambiguity of life with regards to faith, science, philosophy and God.  Squares, triangles and rectangles are arranged both gathered and spread to signify the fractal nature of particles.  The result is a striking set of graphic garments with a little Paco Rabanne flavor.

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Lee Doii is not an unknown to the international fashion community.  She graduated from Central St. Martins in 2002 as one of the most promising graduates and headed straight to John Galliano before teaming up with the likes of Antionio Marras.  Some pretty impressive pedigree for the Korean designer who started her namesake line in Paris in 2006 and has been consistently showing on those catwalks ever since.


If I had one word to describe her work it would be “fantasy”.  It seems like her garments stepped right out of the pages of a fairytale where princesses swim in pearls, gemstones and cupcakes.  This collection is a little Baroque and Doii was inspired by Polish Folk Art and its intricate handcrafts.  The ultra-feminine garments are jewel encrusted with various forms of embellishments whether that be oversize pearls, lace appliques, beading or embroidery atop prints the designer digitizes from hand drawings.  I can’t tell if the result is incredible or if it looks like a bedazzler threw up in a David’s Bridal store, but whatever the case, there’s something oddly appealing about how much she’s got going on here.


These photos are from the show’s rehearsal.


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While I can’t say I get behind all of her garments, especially with a color palette that is a bit too pink and girly for me, I CAN completely support the detail and work that goes into them.  While Lee’s line is based in Paris, each piece of clothing is created in her couture workshop in Seoul.  These detail shots really bring the collection to life.

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Check out the rest of Seoul Fashion Week Coverage:

Part 1: Let’s Hear It For The Boys (street style)

Part 2: Girls!Girls!Girls! (street style)

Part 3: Color Pop! (street style)


Photo Credit: Fashion Magazine Eight