Futuristic, urbane, bittersweet: DBYD, or designer Kang Dong Jun’s diffusion line and headliner for Concept Korea XIII’s New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2016 showing, went for the lonely-boy grunge look inspired by Joaquin Phoenix’s character in the Spike Jonze sci-fi romance Her. Minimalistic street-wear—drop-crotch wool, cotton hoodies, scarf-hemmed robes, lots of nylon—in a wash of muted neutrals like gray and sandy beige were elegantly infused with a smattering of sci-fi elements.
A shock of burgundy reflectorized sunnies and accessories, space cowboy vests and geek-chic shirts buttoned up to the neck (an homage to Theodore, Her’s long-suffering, isolated protagonist who works at a space-age Hallmark and falls in love with his computer’s OS) veer DBYD into fresher, more self-reflective territories for Fall. This decidedly more romantic take, mainly brought on by bright scarlet details, gives a refined soft-focus approach to the designer’s usual urban leanings indicative of Seoul street style—an energizing interpretation and nice little nod, in fact, to the paradox of sudden love and loneliness found in city life, whether real or onscreen.
Rounding out the two-part runway show was Ordinary People by designer Jang Hyeong Cheol, who in turn took inspiration from the getaways people take that punctuate an otherwise dreary, everyday existence, a.k.a. all about that holiday hotel life. Yes, we live in a material world—familiarly, underlying cityscape shades of grays and dusty blacks formed the core of the utilitarian label—but some navy silk pajamas, nubby camel jackets, Hefner-esque monogrammed robes and indeed, embellished shower slip-ons hinted more towards an upscale, snuggly staycation.
If you’ve ever wondered what a higher-end “Netflix and chill” wardrobe looked like, Jang Hyeong Cheol’s offerings give the rest of us a clue: suede, silk faille and (faux) fur all inject a sense of relaxed, louche luxury into an otherwise buttoned-up daily wardrobe.
The government-backed project, Concept Korea, was founded in 2010 as a means to support South Korea’s fashion industry and bring its avant-garde vision into foreign markets via domestic designer showings.