Written and photographed by Lais Lacher.
INTERVIEW WITH SON JUNG WAN
Son Jung Wan’s show on February 11, 2012 was her third time showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. Although Son Jung Wan is new to the American market, she is currently one of the most famous Korean designers in the world. For her fall 2012 collection she presented an impressive 43 different looks while still managing to make each look unique.
The collection successfully blended both western and Asian elements. Many of the silhouettes were loose fitting trapeze and balloon shapes inspired by the traditional Korean costume, Han-bok. Other interesting shapes included cowls, asymmetrical hemlines, and loose fitting pants that tapered at the ankle. The first looks featured monochromatic color schemes of grays, creams and plums followed by saturated oranges, reds, blues and greens. Spangled fabric of gold and silver were incorporated into many pieces helping to unite the looks. Large floral prints were also used in some of the dresses. The texture of the pieces alternated between knitted and crocheted wools to smooth satins and silks. Raccoon, fox and rabbit fur were prevalent both as an accent in dresses and skirts and as the primary material for the women’s outerwear. Some of her most interesting looks combined contrasting textures, fabrics, and colors in the same garment. Trims were also common including flowers, zippers, and buckles on top of the already complex pieces. There were also several men’s looks focusing mainly on outerwear of leather and wool jackets.
Overall, Son Jung Wan’s collection was eclectic providing looks for every occasion. Her strengths lie in the unique silhouettes and fabric and color combinations that set her apart from other designers. Son Jung Wan seems poised to break into the American market very soon already having devoted American fans such as Kelly Rutherford, Torrey Devito, and Carol Alt.
What was the main theme of your Fall 2012 collection?
This past season I drew inspiration from Marc Quinn’s painting, Winter Garden, which resulted in a collection full of lush and manipulated fabrics designed for a modern, chic and feminine woman. Shades of gray and khaki, paired alongside python and turquoise blue, only added complexity to the dynamic collection.
Describe the type of woman that you envision wearing this collection.
The woman I design for is very cool and chic. She is a modern woman but at the same time very feminine. When designing, I think of women both in Korea and abroad in places like New York City – where women are extremely confident and effortlessly stylish.
What are some of your favorite pieces from this collection?
The tube top silk dress in my collection. It’s a dress that’s combined with peach velvet and ivory floral printed silk charmeuse. Peach velvet covers the breast tightly and the silk charmeuse wrap skirt rolls down naturally with draping. The overall silhouette was inspired by a traditional Korean costume, Han-bok. It’s a fusion of oriental and fantasy moods.
How did you first break into the international market?
I first showed in New York during the F/W 2011 season and that was my first break into the international market. Many celebrities and well-known international press attended the first show which resulted from strong media attention and reviews. Since then, I’ve made strong progress with each consecutive collection and will continue to show in New York.
What is it like showing at New York City Fashion Week? How does it differ from Seoul Fashion Week?
Showing the collection in New York has been a big and exiting challenge. It’s the foremost international fashion stage where my ability and creativity is on display to the world. In New York, I concentrate on creating a collection that is focused, modern, and clean. I want the entire mood – from the stage to the setting – to speak to the clothing. My focus is different in Seoul and the show is much more dramatic. There, the production and environment align more closely with the underlying fantasy of the clothes.
How has being a winner of the Golden Needle Award changed your career?
The Golden Needle Award is awarded by well known fashion journalists in Korea. As the recipient, my recognition as a fashion designer increased and improved the brand’s overall awareness. It was a great starting point to expand my business in Korea.
What is your favorite thing about New York and/or the United States?
I love New York and I am fascinated by how the city accepts and synchronizes its many cultures. Whenever I visit New York, this city’s energy is infectious and I feel inspired and excited.
Where can we purchase your clothes in the US?
I’m really excited to be working with one of the top showrooms in New York, ADK Fashions.
ADK Fashions, Inc.
225 West 35th Street
New York, NY 10001
ABOUT SON JUNG WAN
Son Jung Wan was born and raised in Korea. She won the “Golden Needle” award from the Korea Fashion Editor Association in 1993 and in 2005 Seoul Metropolitan named her “Designer of the Year.” She is currently one of the most successful Korean designers with sales of over $33 million in 2009. This is her third show at New York Fashion Week having presented with four other designers in the Concept Korea show for Spring/Summer 2012 and solo for Fall 2011. For more information, please visit www.sonjungwan.co.kr.
You can also view Walter Grio’s photographs of her S/S 2012 collection here.