Many fashion shows are preceded by hype and fanfare, but in the end, there is not much substance to back them up. With Yeohlee, it’s just the opposite. Last Wednesday, the award-winning designer presented her 12-piece beautifully constructed, smartly fabricated spring collection at the YEOHLEE retail store at 12 West 29th street. It was an intimate and informal presentation with just Yeohlee, her fit model Sam Xu, and myself.
“I like putting the collection together, I like its versatility, and I like the fact that a lot of guys can wear some of the things,”Yeohlee
After seeing so much bare skin, so much that is overly feminine, and so much that is over the top in terms of embellishments, shine, and blinding color on recent runways, Yeohlee looks better than ever. As Andrew Bolton has previously pointed out, Yeohlee sees decoration and ornamentation as acceptable only when justified by construction.
The core of this concise spring collection hinges on “what you can wear and for how long you can wear it,” which is the true meaning of sustainability for Yeohlee, who was honored with solo shows and whose designs are included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum at FIT, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and LACMA.
For spring, Yeohlee takes the idea of durability and adds a small dose of geometry (angles, triangles, ovals) and a playful aspect. Playful it is. The first outfit out tells the story in a nutshell. The elliptically shaped dress, seen in the opening photograph, made of “smart” washable gab, has two perfectly placed deep side pockets for ease, comfort, and practicality.
It boasts wide vertical stripes in warm brown, cool cerulean blue, lilac, and ochre. The color combination is very unexpected, and the back of the dress, which is done in solid black, adds the element of surprise. The dress looks great from any angle. I bet you could even wear it back to front, and it would still look good.
“I have this affection for one size fits all, unisex clothing that is weightless and packable,”Yeohlee
Yeohlee says that for years, she’s worked with an excellent mill in Italy, and all the colors in the stripe are from different seasons, which she pieced together. Brilliant! The same fabric shows up as a marvelously shaped crew neck top with long skinny sleeves that Yeohlee pairs with a crescent-shaped skirt made of Japanese denim. The effect is easy, effortless, and very put together.
An ensemble comprised of a jacket in off-white mason cotton and a pair of crescent-shaped shorts in off-white mason cotton and poly nylon khaki is presented with a mint and white silk crepe de chine open loop armhole tank. It looks fresh, chic, and sporty. So much so that we all commented how perfect this would be for a grand sporting event like the US Open or Wimbledon.
The open loop armhole, which is sexy in an alluring, subtle way, is a recurring theme, and it reappears in a black smart gab tank worn with a black and cream smart gab v skirt. The two pieces look like a dress.
In addition to bold stripes, Yeohlee is taken with a whimsical jungle print made of poly nylon. She uses it to fashion a dashing blazer with black lapels and pocket trim. Because it is light and unconstructed, it has the ease of a shirt.
Yeohlee can effortlessly tuck into a chic tie-front sarong skirt made of khaki poly nylon khaki and black rainwear fabric. This is one of my favorite outfits in the collection.
Using the jungle print, Yeohlee creates a reversible vest in khaki. Talk about versatility! She pairs it with black winged pants made of smart gab. They are a sort of takeoff on a Jodhpur.
Yeohlee’s light and playful hand is illustrated by the hooded capelet made of yellow trimmed cream smart gab, which she combines with a multi-color cotton floral print baju and crescent-shaped shorts.
Yeohlee’s outerwear is always strong. One piece that stands out this season is the trench made of Japanese denim. The belt thickens in the middle of the back to follow the spine curve, creating the illusion of straightened posture. Now, that’s what I call smart.
In Vanessa Friedman’s most recent “Open Thread” column, she mentioned that ahead of upcoming fashion weeks, Eva Karlsson, CEO of Houdini, a sportswear company committed to timeless, minimalist designs, issued a challenge to global event attendees: 7 Days. 7 Garments. In effect, she asks participants to choose just seven garments during their trip, encouraging creativity for “outfit of the day.”
If you have collected Yeohlee’s clothes through the years, I bet you could meet the challenge. “Signs of Intelligent Life,” indeed!
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