Saturday, 18 June 2011

Woo'd by Wooyoungmi

Having first seduced the 'Land of the Morning Calm' with her vision of menswear, the Korean designer Wooyongmi then began showing in Paris in July 2002 with her eponymous line. With an eye for advanced sartorial details, the designer has since established herself as a must-see show on Paris' hectic Sunday schedule. From the very beginning, the designer has been fond of straight and clean graphic cuts and has constructed a design signature of simple, modern and carefully crafted pieces.

Each season, her garments are streamlined and enriched with details and styled finishes that reinvent the wardrobe for men without frightening them. Wooyoungmi offers a quiet revolution. Now, I have long been a member of the party but have not been able to wear the covetable uniform. However, thanks to our wise Tokyo guide, Mr Streetpeeper, I was able to pick up a couple of current season bargains at the Gotemba Premium Outlet Mall. Susie has already detailed her enthusiasm for this sprawling kingdom of reduced prices that left us both guilt ridden tourists as we turned our backs on the wonders of Mount Fuji and instead headed to the red bricked, promised land of discounting. All I'll say is I'm very pleased with my souvenirs from Gotemba. The pick of the bunch were two items from Wooyoungmi's stunning SS11 collection that I uncovered in the Via Bus Stop store.

For SS11, Wooyongmi showcased a myriad of potent sartorial concoctions that blurred the lines between individual garments and explore the idea of a uniforn. With a focused intent on highlighting the importance of outerwear across all seasons, the label managed to offer elegant coats which were at times hybrids of shirts and at others, jackets. 

Wooyoungmi trench coat and combat trousers worn with a Sunspel t shirt and boots by Grenson.

Suffice to say, after the discovery of Gotemba and having had the good fortune of adding two Wooyoungmi pieces to my wardrobe, I'm hooked on the designer and will soon start saving to add more. As it always pays to plan ahead and before she reveals her SS12 collections in Paris next week, I thought I'd take a closer look at the AW11 collection.

For AW11, Wooyongmi juxtaposed technical fabrics and details with more luxurious components of menswear. There was an ever intriguing play between the practical and the traditional. Materials and garments were twisted and manipulated with drawstrings and padding so that they fit a twenty first century urban lifestyle. Thanks to the backstage shots of James Mountford, we can get drunk off of detail shot, after detail shot...

Backstage shots by James Mountford.

As I plan and save for my next investment in to Wooyoungmi, I look forward to covering her SS12 show in Paris next Sunday. The quiet revolution continues...


SGS said...

SS 11 was one huge Raf Simons rip-off (even the venue), sorry

Style Salvage Steve said...

Really, which season? Of course, I don't think any designer has influenced modern menswear more than Raf Simons. Yet, there's an elegance and subtlety to Wooyoungmi's designs that I don't find in Raf Simons. That could just be me though.

Ordinary Londoner said...

I do love Wooyoungmi. maybe not everything but there are always some GREAT pieces in each collection. she should have produced those wooden platform shoes from the show!! :-)

Style Salvage Steve said...

Ordinary Londoner: Thanks to the latest issue of b magazine (post to come tomorrow) I'm utterly obsessed by those wooden platform shoes!

1972 said...

Great backstage shots! I think this collection has really separated Wooyoungmi from the other Korean designers in Paris (Songzio, Juun J) - mainly because it focused less on layering than on colour and incredible textures.


Style Salvage Steve said...

Ordinary Londoner: I've just checked at the wooden platform shoes did indeed go in to production. Behaviour in New York has them.
1972: I agree, the stripped back focus sets her apart.

George G said...

Style Salvage Steve: I'm friends with the owner of Behaviour, and he carried the runway samples, as those shoes were not actually produced, so they had a limited run of just a few model sizes. They looked great for photos but were just okay up close, as most show samples go.

Behaviour's carried WooYoungMi exclusively here in the US for a few years and does very well with her creative tailoring. I bought a thing or two from the very first collection Behaviour carried back in 2006. The details are always clever but fairly subtle, so you can wear a piece or two without them wearing you. I haven't bought anything since then (most of my money goes to Robert Geller) but I still get compliments on the double-lapel WooYoungMi wool jacket I got five years ago.

When you see the stuff that gets to the racks (usually things that were shown only in the showroom and not on the defilé) you know she has her own sensibility, although I do agree with SGS on the SS11 comment.

SGS said...

Specifically Raf Simons's SS08, look it up, you'll see many similarities

Ordinary Londoner said...

I know, I spoke to Wooyoungmi's office in Paris and was told they didn't go into production.
But sample pieces!!! do you know what size they are??
I'll buy you dinner at any restaurant you like if I can get hold of them!!! :-P

George G said...

Ordinary Londoner, they got a lot of press here and sold pretty quickly, so much so that WooYoungMi had to send more of them over, but I don't know offhand if they all sold. Last I looked they were EU42s and 43s, maybe larger, and they were in the windows at one point. But I suggest you call up Behaviour directly and ask - that's what I did when I wanted exclusive stuff from Japan, Belgium and Korea, and people are more than willing to help with a purchase! Behaviour's number is 212.352.8380, or you can email them at If you call, ask for Tobin or Chad. If you still want my help, feel free to click on my link and email me from there.

Sorry to hijack your thread, Steve!

StyleSalvage said...

GS: There are similarities in regard to the drawstring pieces but as a collection, for me, it is hardly a Raf Simons rip off but is has certainly been influenced.
George G and Ordinary Londoner: Not at all, thanks for helping out George. Good luck in your search Ordinary Londoner!

Ordinary Londoner said...

thank you both of you!! much appreciated :-)

Brandon said...

My friend got a pair of those wooden soled shoes! I am naturally very jealous and now I'm really beginning to figure out the creative path they came from. Very interesting!

I love the take on details she has. It really feels like no other designer. The coat looks terrific on you Steve and I'm sure with all those other jacket details within it must be practical too. Love a designer who pays attention to pockets!


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